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Columbia Family & Divorce Lawyer > Blog > General > Is “NESTING” the right solution for your family?

Is “NESTING” the right solution for your family?

Consider the following 4 factors in making this very important determination.

What is Nesting:  Nesting is a transitional living arrangement used by families going through separation and/or divorce wherein the children remain in the family home and the parents transition in and out of the family home in accordance with a predetermined schedule.  During non-custodial periods, parents stay with family, friends or sometimes rent a temporary and shared residence.  While nesting often is an optimal arrangement for children, it can be very difficult for parents as they are constantly moving and often have no private living space.

4 Factors to Consider:

  1. Do your children have more than average challenges with change?  Children are almost always more resilient and accommodating to change than their parents think they are.  However, children with physical, emotional and/or learning challenges or disabilities often have more difficulty.  In these circumstances, transitioning to spending time with parents in separate homes can be slowed down by the parents nesting.  This gives the children time to adjust to the separation and/or divorce of their parents and living with their parents in a time-sharing arrangement in two residences with a time period of living with one parent at a time in the same and familiar environment of the family home.


  1. Despite being involved in the process of separating and/or divorcing, are you and your co-parent able to maintain civil, respectful and child focused communication?  Nesting has a lot of moving parts.  The sharing of two residences which includes the sharing of expenses and the sharing of responsibilities such as cleaning and food shopping and laundry both in the family home and often in the shared space used by both parents during their non-custodial time or time the children are with the other parent can require coordination, cooperation, and ongoing discussion and compromise.


  1. Is one parent going to stay in the family home post nesting?  If neither parent is going to reside in the family home post separation and or divorce, nesting may just be a delay of the inevitable.  In this situation, it may just be better to transition the children (perhaps gradually) to the new time-sharing arrangement rather than prolonging the inevitable which may in and of itself create more stress for the children than making the change and ripping off the proverbial band aide.


  1.  Are your children in counseling?  Are you and your co-parent in counseling?  Nesting can sometimes be more confusing than helpful for children and very stressful for parents.  When this very child focused transitional living situation works as it should it can be fantastic, but if the situation is not well-suited for your family it can be an uncomfortable and/or unhealthy living situation for the entire family (we all know that the stress experienced by parents is almost always felt by their children no matter how much effort is spent not to make that happen).  If you have the ability to discuss with your children’s therapists and your own therapists the pros and cons of nesting for your family and develop ground rules for nesting in advance and a safe space for discussing and adjusting those ground rules as you go along, it is much more likely that you will have a successful nesting arrangement.
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