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What is Nesting and Why Would I try It?

A parenting plan which is becoming more popular among divorcing and separating parents is called "nesting."

Nesting is when the children stay in the home and the parents move in and out according to a parenting schedule (rather than have the children travel back and forth to separate homes.

The main benefits of nesting are as follows:

1. Rather than create greater stress for the children by making them travel and sleep in a new place, while they are still getting used to the idea that their parents are separating, we force this stress on the parents. Although not ideal in either situation, the argument is that if either the children or the parents are going to be inconvenienced it makes more sense for that burden to fall on the parents (at least while it is practical). After all, the parents are the ones who decided to get divorced, not the children.

2. It allows for greater flexibility in designing a settlement of a case. By not forcing one spouse out, we haven’t made any irreversible decisions about living arrangements, which more realistically should be based on who can afford the home and not on who has the most reason to leave right now. It also avoids the pain and animosity that comes with a Motion to Vacate. In situations that rise to the level of needing a Restraining Order, the first consideration should be safety. But if the only issue leading to the Motion to Vacate is tension between the parties which is affecting the children, nesting can resolve that without having to brand one party the "bad" one.

3. If parents have available temporary housing for their non-parenting nights then nesting can be cheaper than immediately having to support two full-time households.

The downsides to nesting are:

1. Since it is not a permanent solution, spending too much time working out a nesting plan could be considered wasted cost. The simple fact that it is not a permanent solution could keep the parents from moving towards final resolution.

2. If parents don’t have available temporary housing then nesting could require three households instead of two, resulting in increased cost.

IF you agree to a nesting arrangement the key is still a parenting plan that makes sense for the children and their schedules and the parties' work schedules. But if you can reach a mutually agreeable parenting plan, nesting can be a useful tool in moving a case forward with less animosity and less stress on the children.

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