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Do Nesting Agreements Work in a Divorce?

little girl laying in bed smiling

Divorce and separation of parents are tough on children. There is no perfect cure. The most crucial and obvious advice to separating couples is to minimize or eliminate all possible conflict in front of children. Whatever your issues with each other may be, your children do not need to hear you argue or fight. They should never be in the middle of your arguments.

One of the most unfortunate side-effects of a divorce is the displacement of children and uprooting of life as they knew it until the parents decided to separate. In a typical divorce or separation, one parent leaves the family residence and the other parent remains with the children. The child spends a percentage of time with one parent at the family residence and live another percentage of time with the other parent who moved out in their new home. In other cases, both parents sell the family residence and move to two separate residences and children now have two new homes that they are forced to toggle between.

Nesting agreement or “bird-nesting” is a newer arrangement that works somewhat opposite of the scenarios described above as typical. In a nesting arrangement or agreement, the children remain in the family residence where they were living prior to the divorce and they continue to attend the schools they were attending prior to divorce. Instead, in this type of arrangement, the only people who move in and out are the parents. In other words, the children stay where they are, however, on week one, mom lives with them and on week two, dad lives with and so on and so forth.

Just like marriages and divorces, nesting agreements come in several different flavors. In some cases, where neither parent has a new significant other living with them, parents jointly rent a second home and live there separately while the other parent is living in the home with their children and vice versa. Nesting can be an excellent way to transition your children from living with both of you to living with each of you separately and it does not require them to adjust to new living conditions or bear the burden of sleeping in a different bed every week or whatever your custody orders or agreements may be.

Does nesting work, the answer is not in most cases. Most separating couples have some degree of conflict and most do not tend to agree on such an arrangement, despite the obvious benefits it seems to offer to children. Nesting can also become impractical as each of the parents begin to start new romantic relationships and begin cohabitating with third parties.

If you are a parent going through a divorce, you should immediately consult with an experienced Orange County Divorce attorney to discuss your rights as a parent and to discuss if such a living arrangement is in your children’s best interest. Divorce Attorneys at the Gill Law Group are highly experienced in custody disputes at all levels of conflict and can aggressively represent you in a custody battle to protect your children.