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Post-Divorce Nesting

Clarkston Legal Sept. 21, 2011

This week in Time Magazine, there is a story in the “Society” section about a mode of parenting known as, “Nesting”. This is where divorced parents each secure a residence beyond the former marital home; the couple’s children remain in the marital home, to “nest”.
The theory behind nesting is that it seeks to minimize the sense of upheaval that children of school age often experience during and after their parent’s divorce.

Time’s Belinda Luscombe speculates that the nesting mode of post-divorce parenting has emerged over the past decade as an innovative version of co-parenting. It remains rare, however, to get both parents on the same page be able to pull it off.

In the past decade, I have completed nearly 250 divorces and only two of those featured a nesting arrangement. Of those two cases, one of nests was destroyed, via foreclosure.

On the other hand, the difficult real estate market has forced many divorcing couples to hang onto their former marital home; like it or not. Nesting would seem to be a viable option. Usually, however, one of the parents “takes one for the team” and remains in the marital home, or the couple “walks away” from the home to begin their new post-divorce lives under the cloud of foreclosure.

Proponents assert that the nesting arrangement eliminates the continuous shuffling between two homes by the children that comes with a traditional parenting schedule; the parents do the shuffling in a nesting arrangement. Also, for children of a certain age, the arrangement allows them to continue living and going to school in a familiar environment, their childhood home, while they adjust to their parents’ divorce.

Most family court judges look upon nesting arrangements with a certain degree of skepticism, if not outright scorn. In family court, however, parents are free to make whatever arrangements they desire so long as the judge can be convinced it is in best interests of the children involved in the case.

As a temporary post-divorce parenting technique between two cooperating amiable co-parents, nesting can work. It very well may provide the minor children with a better opportunity to adjust to the strains of divorce.