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What is nesting?

For many Americans, one of the most challenging aspects of divorce is rebuilding your life after the ink has dried on the page. Especially if you and your ex-spouse are parents, it is highly likely you will hold your children in joint custody.

While this decision is usually in the best interest of the child, that does not mean that the logistics of surrounding joint custody are easy. Moving children constantly between two separate households is not necessarily the best situation for all families. According to Psychology Today, this is why many divorced families experiment with “nesting,” a living situation that keeps the children in the same house 100% of the time.

What makes nesting different?

In the majority of co-parenting situations, the parents set up independent living situations and the children shuffle between them. In a nesting situation, the children stay in the same house. Instead, it is the parents that do the moving according to the custody schedule.

A good way to think about nesting is that one parent is “on duty” in the family home while the other parent is “off duty” and not in the house.

Who does nesting benefit?

Many families with older children benefit from nesting, as older children may resent moving between households frequently. Nesting is often a good situation for families with children close to high school graduation. The family maintains the home until the children graduate.

Families with special needs also benefit from nesting. It can be dangerous to move a child with special needs frequently. Nesting is an ingenious solution to an endemic problem for many divorced families.