Studies show that children typically thrive when their daily lives include structure and routine. Most kids are adaptable and resilient by nature. However, life events, such as divorce, cause disruption in children’s lives, which can affect their emotional and physical health. When children can spend time with both parents on a regular basis following a divorce, it often helps them cope, which is why many California parents are trying a unique child custody arrangement known as “nesting.”
If you decide to try nesting, you’ll want to put your terms of agreement in writing. This enables transparency and provides documentation of your agreement, which you can use as a primary reference if a dispute arises. While you and your ex are free to create your own nesting plan, the basic idea is that your children would continue living in the family home you all shared during your marriage. You and your ex will take turns living there with them.
Nesting is a shared child custody arrangement
If you believe your ex is unfit for custody because of a substance abuse problem or other issue, a nesting child custody arrangement will undoubtedly not be an option you’d wish to pursue. However, if you and your spouse are willing and able to share custody, and you want to minimize stress and disruption in your children’s lives as you navigate divorce, then nesting might be worth a try.
You can decide how to rotate your time with the kids. Perhaps you will use a week on/week off schedule. Maybe you’d rather exchange custody every three weeks or six weeks. The timing doesn’t matter, as long as you both agree to the terms. You’ll also want to incorporate terms of agreement for holidays or special occasions like birthdays. Will you both be present or schedule them into your rotation? The choice is yours.
Benefits and downsides to nesting
In addition to alleviating stress and disruption in children’s lives, a nesting child custody plan is beneficial in several other ways, as well. For example, you won’t have to go through the hassle of selling your house. Your kids won’t have to switch schools. A downside to nesting is that you must have a secondary residence — somewhere to stay when it’s not your turn to be with the kids.
However, many parents simply rent a studio apartment or room in a friend’s or relative’s home to minimize expenses. You and your ex may even decide to share the expense of the secondary residence and take turns living there just as you do in the family home. No plan is without its hiccups, including a nesting child custody arrangement after a divorce, which is why it’s best to know where to seek support if a legal dispute arises.