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Why more divorced parents are 'nesting'

Once the ink on the divorce decree has dried and the former spouses have each made the necessary living arrangements, their parenting plan is clear to take effect. In many situations, this will entail the children packing up their things and going to stay with the other parent on weekends, holidays and other designated timeframes.

While these sorts of custody arrangements have been the norm for decades, experts indicate that more divorcing couples are now gravitating toward an alternative referred to simply as "nesting."

In general, nesting involves the divorced parents keeping the family home, and having them, not the kids, move back and forth between domiciles every few weeks, such that the kids stay put and spend alternating timeframes with mom and dad.

As for where mom and dad live during their time away from the family home, there are many different scenarios, including each parent keeping their own apartment, the parents sharing a rented apartment, or even setting up at the residence of a family member or friend.

While this may seem strange, advocates argue that it provides the children of divorce with both greater stability and less exposure to conflict, while also helping alleviate some of the financial pressure on divorced parents by enabling them to wait until the best possible time to sell the family home.     

Many therapists, however, are not sold on the practice of nesting, arguing that it can prevent divorcing couples from establishing a new post-divorce life, expose children to more conflict given the extreme cooperation it requires, and foster confusion among children as to whether their parents are really divorced.

As for divorce attorneys, their response toward nesting has been decidedly lukewarm, with many arguing that the only way it can work is if a very strict system is established, including household rules (drop-offs schedules, lists of required chores, dating parameters, etc.).

They also urge a firm deadline for the arrangement, meaning establishing a date by which the house will have to be sold (perhaps only a few years).

What are your thoughts on the concept of nesting?

If you have questions or concerns relating to child custody or other divorce-related matters, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can answer your questions and pursue solutions. 

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