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“Nesting” may help children transition through divorce

When a couple decides to part ways, they must make a number of difficult choices. Divorcing parents face particular challenges as many of their decisions during the divorce process revolve around their children’s needs, both emotional and physical. Experts advise divorcing parents to be mindful of the potential negative effects of their separation on the children and keeping the process as amicable as possible can help. Toward this end, divorcing Massachusetts parents may wish to consider one possible family living arrangement called “bird nesting,” also known as “nesting.”

Nesting involves keeping the family home intact, with each parent taking turns living in the home with the children, while the other parent lives in an off-site location. Parents using this method typically share one apartment that they take turns living in separately when it is not their turn to be with the children. The benefits are fairly obvious: minimal disruption in the children’s daily routines, no need for them to move their belongings back and forth between two households, and a smoother transition to the parents’ separation.

However, despite the benefits, experts provide a few cautionary words. For one, the arrangement works best if it is in place short term, perhaps three to six months, and if it is treated as a transition period only. Parents who maintain nesting longer term risk confusing children; for example, they may retain hope of the parents reconciling. Also, of course, the divorcing parents must have an amicable relationship to optimize the chances of a successful nesting arrangement. If not, they may find there are far too many opportunities for conflict to arise, just as there were before their separation.

While nesting is not for everyone, it can be a viable option for some. Many divorcing individuals find this an overwhelming time, and it may be especially so for parents, who wonder if they are making the right choices for their children. A knowledgeable Massachusetts family law attorney can guide a parent through the difficult decisions that must be made about the children and all other aspects of the divorce process.


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