August 31, 2020

What Is Nesting, and How Can It Make Divorce Easier on Children?

Readers of this blog are likely thinking about divorce or in the divorce process. For these Michiganders with kids, they are likely thinking about what co-parenting looks like after the divorce. And, a buzz term in recent years is, nesting, also known as birdnesting. But, what is it, and how can it make a divorce easier on children?

Nesting defined

Nesting occurs when divorced parents continue to maintain the family home and share that home when it is their time to parent, becoming the so-called, “on-duty parent.” In other words, rather than bouncing back-and-forth between each parent’s home, the child stays at the family home, and it is the parents that bounce back-and-forth.

This means that the child’s items stay put, and parents do not need to double up on those items. There is no need for two kid’s beds, two bookshelves, two sets of toys, etc. Plus, keeping track of school books, work and homework is much easier when they do not move.

When nesting may or may not work

Nesting requires cooperation, a lot of cooperation. In a typical co-parenting situation, where both ex-spouses maintain separate homes, the only cooperation generally needed (other than major life decisions like medical care, etc.) is pick-up times and locations. Even that can become a heated debate among ex-spouses, and for those spouses, nesting is not recommended. The most important factor is the ability to put the child first, regardless of one’s own feelings.

It should go without say then that if one had a contentious divorce, planning on nesting is likely not wise. But, the agreement to nest is just the starting point. Ex-spouses must put their kid’s safety and happiness front-and-center.

Signs that nesting may work

Some key signs of whether nesting is possible include mutual trust and respect. Another key quality is good communication and a commitment to making the nest work. This also means spouses must be able to tolerate sharing the same space, sometimes even sharing the same bed.

Even if one believe they would be a good candidate to nest, they should speak about it with their divorce attorney. The attorney can broach the topic with the other spouse’s attorney, and perhaps, facilitate the discussion going forward.