How "nesting" may ease the divorce transition for children

For parents in California who divorce, there's no denying the fact that the end of a marriage can affect children. Typically, most parents want to minimize the stress that often goes along with legally splitting as much as possible regardless of how they may feel toward one another. One way some couples are achieving this goal is with what's termed "nesting" or "birdnesting."

Nesting is a setup that involves maintaining the family home after a divorce while parents alternate time spent there with their children. Otherwise, both ex-spouses live in separate residences. Some parents looking to minimize expenses opt to share a smaller apartment nearby as they alternate their time in the marital home so that their children can stay in an environment that's familiar to them as they go about their normal routine.

Nesting tends to work better when parents parting amicably do it on a short-term basis instead of indefinitely. This is because the uncertainty of not knowing when the transition to separate homes will take place may unintentionally create more anxiety for children. They might also assume their parents are going to get back together if a nesting arrangement continues with no end point.

Nesting can serve some practical purposes, such as keeping children in their same school and eliminating the need to move stuff back and forth between homes. However, sharing a residence may also increase the risk of triggers that involve one former spouse being angry if their ex invites a new partner over when the children are home.

Generally, if both parents are committed to making nesting work, they may be able to set up reasonable guidelines, such as sharing the marital home for the rest of a child's school year and agreeing to maintain basic household rules. If a dispute does arise, a lawyer may attempt to resolve the issue amicably between parents before suggesting further action. Should issues turn serious and involve such things as one parent denying the other one access to the home, an attorney might recommend seeking appropriate adjustments to an existing co-parenting arrangement.

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