Children often complain of the difficulty of moving from one parent’s house to another parent’s house after a divorce. Despite parents talking about kids having two rooms and two of much other stuff, for kids it feels like regular uprooting and can be a very challenging adjustment for some. One solution to this problem – nesting.
In a nesting situation, the marital residence remains the single residence for the children; the parents, to different degrees, move in and out.
From the outset, this arrangement will only work for a small number of families. For instance, people who divorce often do so because they cannot live with one another anymore, so this degree of interaction simply could not work. Nesting does not require that the ex-spouses reside together, but inevitably it will mean they cross paths in the marital home, leave clothes and other personal items, and try to have family dinners. For families that reached such dysfunction they needed to separate, this degree of closeness seems a pipedream or a nightmare.
But some spouses split very amicably and remain close after divorce. For these parents, close interaction may not be a barrier and in some situations it may help heal the family after the divorce.
Financial considerations caution against nesting in certain cases, as this article in the Washington Post points out. If the parties remain co-owners of the property, it can create finality issues with the divorce. Depending upon the time spent by each parent in the house, it could affect the dependency credit or the ability to claim spousal support as income or a deductible expense.
Above all, the concept of nesting seems to further confuse the children, delaying separation and creating false hopes of reunion. A couple cannot nest until the children go to college – if they wanted to do that, why divorce in the first place? Eventually a separation occurs as lives move on and new partners emerge; the delay will make the transition harder for the children at that point.
Experts find that nesting works best as a transition during and shortly after divorce, one that allows the family as a whole to grieve together and gradually move into two separate households, if the parents can work together – otherwise, the acrimony will only fester rather than dissipate.
If you have questions about nesting and divorce, contact us – we can help.