In divorce, establishing where the children will live is often one of the hardest issues to resolve.
During the economic downturn, when home values plummeted, some parents got creative by “nesting.” In this arrangement children remain in the family home full-time while the parents alternate between that home and another. In some cases, the parents may even remain in the same home together, at least temporarily. This approach is back in the spotlight with a new ABC show about a similar arrangement, called “Splitting Up Together.”
As you can imagine, there are both pros and cons to nesting. Clearly, it is not right for every situation. If it works as intended, however, it reduces stress on children while still allowing parents to move on from the marriage.
We cannot say if it is right for your particular situation. If you are considering such an arrangement, however, we have listed some benefits and drawbacks below.
There can be both financial and emotional benefits to nesting. Financially, it can allow you to keep your investment in the home intact, perhaps waiting until the right time to sell. The financial benefits work particularly well if your alternate home is low-rent or rent-free, as it frees you from having two or three separate residences.
Emotionally, it can limit the impact divorce has on children. There is no need to significantly change daily habits. Your child or children can keep the same bedroom, the same bus stop and do not have the stress of moving frequently between homes.
Nesting can be hard on parents. You’re divorced for a reason. Many of the issues that prompt married couples to split remain problems in a nesting arrangement. Will your ex keep up his or her end of the family chores, for example?
It can also be difficult if your ex is in a new relationship or infidelity was a problem. Having your ex’s romantic partner in your family home is challenging, to say the least.
Divorce should be unique to you
The discussion over nesting highlights one very common truth about divorce: that it is unique to you. There isn’t necessarily one right way to divorce. You may need to get out from a bad situation by moving away and having sole custody of the children. You may be able to work with your ex to raise your children collaboratively. The important thing is that you are aware of your legal and financial options and can make an informed decision about what is right for you and your family.