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Divorce, Child Custody & Nesting

A rarely used option in child custody arrangements is "Nesting". When divorcing and co-parenting, the parties decide to each reside in a new residence and keep the children in the former marital home. Instead of the children going from Mom's home to Dad's home, the children remain in the home while the Mom and Dad go back and forth into the former home.

Each parent finds a new home or apartment near the marital home. Perhaps Mom resides in the home with the children from Monday afternoon through Thursday and Dad lives in the home with the children from Thursday evening through Monday morning.

Some parties believe the benefits include:

· Stability for the children;

· The children remain in the same school district;

· The children continue with the same peers and after school activities;

· The children need not pack up their important items every few days and move them from home to home.

Some parties believe the detriments include:

· Financially it may be too expensive for each parent to continue to pay for the marital home and a new residence. Between the two parents, they must carry three residences;

· It restrains moving on with a new relationship or family, as it becomes difficult to move a new relationship and family back and forth into the marital home;

· It prevents the sale of the marital home which may be a large source of funds.

Nesting will work for some but not all parents. However, people who have divorced had some reason to seek a divorce. Having to share the home with the person that had a perceived flaw in the other's eyes can be difficult. For example, in an early mediation over 20 years ago, a couple decided to attempt this during the period that the divorce was pending. After several months, some of the same complaints they had before they split resurfaced: complaints about who was or was not doing the children's laundry; who was vacuuming the floors and doing household chores and who failed to do so even thought they had agreed to each do it; the condition the other party left the house in at the end of their cycle; who interfered with the privacy of the other by allegedly going through the drawers of the other party; who brought a significant other to stay at the house. This just reinforced their anger. Both parties need to separate their prior marital discord and conflicts from the promise of putting the children first. This is a very difficult expectation.

For the right couple this is an option; for many it may be too expensive and problematic to be a positive solution.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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