Co-Parenting During a Divorce Through “Nesting”

A “nesting” arrangement is a unique arrangement where the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns moving in and out—departing the “nest.” When the parents are not at home they live in a separate dwelling, either rotating or separate from each other. The goal of this arrangement is to provide the least disruption as possible to the children and minimize trauma and transition during the divorce. The arrangement, while not permanent, can last throughout the duration of the divorce.

Nesting may be a viable option for couples who are committed to being cooperative and who live and work in proximity to each other. Nesting may be more or less expensive than maintaining completely separate households, depending on what the family does. Generally, it is less expensive as parents do not have to purchase two sets of clothing and belongings for the children as they would if children are rotating between two households. If parents opt to maintain two different residences apart from the family home, they have to factor in the additional expense.

Research shows that nesting can be beneficial for children when parents are successful in minimizing conflict. If conflict only intensifies, however, nesting is not an appropriate choice. Nesting while sharing one residence, in addition to the family home, may be especially challenging, for example, when new partners are introduced. That is one of many considerations to contemplate before moving into a nesting arrangement.


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