Child custody arrangements can be a fickle subject when it comes to divorce. Many parents are eager to find an arrangement that minimizes the impact on shared kids while also maximizing their ability to bond and maintain a relationship with their children. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is nesting, a term that refers to keeping children in a shared family home and having parents cycle out of it, rather than rotating children between two residences. This can be a great option to limit the initial change felt by the children, but it does require some negotiation and compromise to do effectively.
Parents who choose to consider nesting should draft a nesting agreement, ideally with the support of counsel on both sides. The agreement should include details such as:
- Division of finances and expenses
- Communication expectations and protocols
- How emergencies will be handled
- How the home will be cared for in the other parent’s absence
- Boundaries regarding dating and relationships relative to the shared residence — for example, when and how a new significant other can enter the residence during parenting time
Like other types of parenting agreements, nesting agreements can be made into legal documents to help enforce them. Even if the parents choose to forgo some legal technicalities, working with an experienced divorce lawyer to develop the nesting plan is a good idea. It is also important to make sure that agreements are reasonable and can sincerely be met by both parties. Personal reflection, as well as consultation with loved ones or even mental health professionals, can help to support this process as well.