When parents divorce, most put the needs of their children ahead of any bad feelings they may have for their ex-spouse. This has led many parents to try ‘nesting.’
What is nesting?
When thinking about child custody arrangements, many assume it will involve the children moving back and forth between two households. But in nesting, or “bird nesting” as some call it, the child stays put while the parents take turns living in the marital home.
Co-parents may share an apartment when “off-duty” or stay with family members. Some who have tried it say it provided much-needed stability for their kids during a trying time and helped improve their co-parenting relationship. Still, it may not be a practical solution for everyone.
Benefits of a nesting co-parenting arrangement
Those who believe in this practice say it offers the following advantages:
- Children don’t have to change homes constantly.
- As a result, their home life, education and community remain consistent.
- Parents share the effects of the divorce on their children.
- Co-parents have an equal allotment of time with and access to their kids.
- It removes the stress and hassle caused by pick-ups and drop-offs.
- The family home is generally regarded as a safer living environment for children.
Another primary consideration for children is that it reinforces their parents’ willingness to do whatever it takes to make them feel safe and loved.
Considerations for co-parents
Before considering a custody and visitation arrangement involving nesting, here are some primary questions co-parents should ask themselves:
- Can we afford to keep two properties?
- How long are we willing to commit to this type of arrangement?
- How will we divide mortgage, rent, utility bills, repairs and groceries?
- Is the distance between the family home, secondary residence and work feasible?
- Can my ex-spouse and I put aside our differences and remain respectful?
These and other questions need to be answered. Experienced legal guidance of Virginia’s custody and visitation laws is vital before deciding whether nesting is a reasonable option for your situation.