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What is nesting and is it an option for our divorcing family?

Dealing with the aftermath of a divorce is difficult on multiple levels, particularly if you have children with your ex-spouse. One of the most immediate concerns following a divorce is setting up new living situations and helping your children adjust.

It is highly likely that you will have joint custody of your children with your ex-spouse following your divorce. However, setting up completely separate households and moving the children between them does not work for all families. According to Psychology Today, this is why many families have been experimenting with nesting.

What is it?

Traditionally, the parents establish separate households after a divorce and the children move back and forth between them based on a preset custody schedule. Nesting turns this arrangement on its head. Rather than the children doing the moving between parental households, the family house stays intact and the parents are the ones who do the moving in and out.

This is why experts deem this arrangement “nesting,” as it mimics the movement of parent birds caring for children who stay in the nest.

Why would we consider this?

Nesting may be the best way to cut down post-divorce conflict in your family life, particularly if you have older children. Older children are very likely to resist moving between households frequently. If your children are close to high school graduation, a nesting situation may allow them to graduate and move on to college before you dissolve the family home.

Nesting is also beneficial for families with children who have special needs. You may find that frequently moving a special needs child is very difficult for behavioral or medical reasons. Nesting can remedy this.