As a divorced parent, you may hope to make the transition for your children as seamless as possible. One way in which you may consider doing this is through nesting.
Nesting, or “bird nesting,” as some people call it, refers to a setup in which divorce parents take turns living in the family home rather than making the kids go back and forth. Though this type of situation may be difficult for you and your co-parent, it could be the best thing for your children for the time being. To help you decide whether it is right for you, Psychology Today provides answers to your most pressing questions regarding nesting.
Who can make nesting work?
Not all divorced couples can make nesting work. In fact, very few can. Individuals who are successful at it are those who can set aside their own emotions for the sake of their children. They agree that their children’s wants and needs come first and that, regardless of the reason for the dissolution of their marriage, they want their children to thrive. These individuals agree on what is best for the kids and hold very little if any, ill-will toward each other.
What factors can affect the success of your nesting attempt?
Several factors play a role in the success or deterioration of a nesting plan. For starters, you and your spouse should work with a therapist to come up with a detailed and structured nesting plan that accounts for any and all potential issues. You should be able to communicate respectfully with one another and commit to honoring the nesting plan and each other’s parenting time.
What should a nesting plan include?
The nesting plan will serve as the foundation for your family’s new normal — at least for the time being. At a minimum, it should detail each parent’s “on-duty” and “off-duty” times. It should spell out each parent’s responsibilities to the home during their “on-duty” times, including who will pay what bills. It should also clearly identify private property and spaces, such as computers, televisions, documents and bedrooms. It should also address new relationships and whether parties can bring new partners into the family home. If you and your spouse decide to share an “off-duty” home or apartment, your plan should address rules for that space as well.
How long should you engage in nesting?
Most parents engage in nesting for a few short months to a year after the divorce is final. However, there are no rules for how long you must make nesting work. Some people stop nesting when the divorce is final while others wait until the kids are grown. Most nesters, however, part ways when they are ready to establish separate homes or form new relationships.
If you and your partner decide to give nesting a try, you still need to protect your interests in divorce. Work with an attorney who can help you come up with a doable plan that does not leave you exposed to financial or emotional turmoil in the future.