One question divorcing couples with children may ask is, “Where will the children live?” The common approach is to shuffle the children between two homes, but some parents are taking a novel approach: the kids stay in their childhood home while the parents rotate out.
It’s a concept known as “birdnesting,” or simply nesting, that divorcing parents are trying as a way to minimize environmental disruption for their children. It can be beneficial for the kids, but does it work for all families? You may have to think twice before committing to it.
When does nesting work?
Nesting may seem like an odd concept. You wouldn’t be alone if scratched your head in confusion after reading that divorced parents willingly share the home for the sake of their children. One would think divorced couples want to stay as far away from each other as possible, but it’s not the case for every family. Some families can make nesting work.
If you’re thinking about nesting, there are a few things you must first consider. The first important piece is that nesting will only work if you and your spouse separate amicably. As you can imagine, having a nasty divorce and still having to share a house with your ex can negatively affect everyone involved, especially the kids.
Therefore, you should ask yourself some questions to determine whether nesting can work for your family:
- Were there disputes over property division?
- How irreconcilable are you and your spouse’s differences?
- Did you and your spouse ever have couples counseling?
You’ll want to think about the details of the divorce and the marriage before you and your spouse commit to nesting.
Is it permanent?
Because nesting is really about the kids, it’s important to note that it isn’t beneficial for long periods of time. In fact, it’s not meant to be permanent. Nesting should only be for about three months after the divorce. Remember, it is only to help the kids transition into their new lifestyle. If nesting goes on for too long, it could send the kids the wrong message about their parents’ relationship.
Is it for you?
Nesting is a big commitment. There are benefits to it, but there are no benefits if it only makes matters worse. Before you pursue the idea, be sure you and your spouse are honest with each other about its potential for success.