Once a marriage ends and children are involved, the traditional approach for joint custody is a two-household situation, where children are shuttled back and forth. Many of their possessions are either duplicated or also transported from house to house.

However, a relatively new approach called “nesting” is gaining popularity across the country. Also known as bird-nesting, this strategy allows children to stay in the family home after their parents’ divorce, and mom and dad are the ones who take turns moving in and out to care for them.

What are the advantages of nesting?

While many argue this approach creates a more stable environment for children during an anxious and worrisome time in their lives, it’s not just the children who don’t have to move around every few days. What also stays put are:

  • Everyday necessities, such as clothing and toiletries
  • Toys, books and other prized personal possessions
  • Food, furniture, electronics and other supplies needed for their upbringing
  • Music and sports equipment, homework and school books

Parents who embrace this strategy say they save money because they do not need to duplicate any of their kids’ possessions. Perhaps the most crucial asset for nesting is that it allows kids to receive the continuity and consistency they need while enjoying the comforts of home.

Parents get creative over living arrangements

While nesting co-parents do surrender a consistent living situation for themselves, many believe it’s worth it to provide more security for their kids and lessen the trauma of divorce. As such, each family must find a workable nesting arrangement.

Some parents live with relatives or friends when they are out of the family home, while others rent apartments. Some co-parents even share the same apartment to save money, because they are never there at the same time, even if it’s only a short-term solution.

Consistency can strengthen relationships

Nesting will not work for every family after a divorce. However, some parents who initially struggled with the concept have found that the benefits have enriched their children’s lives. They also say it created a more flexible visitation schedule and a more unified co-parenting relationship with their former spouse.

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