25 Jan Co-parenting – Nesting Arrangements
Co-parenting – Nesting Arrangements
Nesting is a concept emerging from cases where parents have concerns about the negative impact a separation has on their children and they wish to maximize their children’s stability.
Nesting refers to an arrangement whereby the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns living in the home with the children. In our society, it is more common for the children to shuttle back and forth between the parents in their new separate residences, but some families either in the short or long term prefer not to impose such an arrangement on their children. In most situations, parents adopt this approach as a temporary measure either during the early stages of their separation or in some cases to enable a child to complete their high school education without disruption.
- The children have continuity and their routine is not disrupted.
- There is an ease of reconciliation in the event that the parents are only trialling a separation, whilst ensuring that both parents can maximize their time with the children.
- The children have stability.
- The children can live in their familiar environment while they get used to the reality of the separation.
- The parents have an opportunity to resolve other separation-related issues before having to deal with issues relating to housing.
- Parents often find it difficult moving in and out of the home.
- May create difficulties for either parent to establish an alternative serious relationship.
- May be emotionally challenging for parents to continue to have the level of communication and contact with the other parent that this arrangement requires.
- May have financial disadvantages if the parents are funding a mortgage on the family home as well as expenses for an alternative off-site residence.
- Parents can encounter struggles in relation to everyday issues such as cleaning and home care in both residences that they are sharing, particularly if one parent feels the burden is left with them.
Who Should Consider Nesting?
- Parents who trust each other and communicate respectfully.
- Parents willing to work cooperatively with each other.
- Parents who both have a strong commitment to the least amount of disruption in their children’s lives around the time of separation or approaching major milestones, for example, year 12 exams.
- Parents willing to respect each other’s privacy despite sharing their residence.
- Ideally, but not necessarily, parents who are able to provide for them to have separate bedrooms in each of the residences.
Tips for Success
- At the outset reach agreement in relation to how household expenses will be paid in each residence and how cleaning and other maintenance tasks will be shared.
- Agree in advance any rules that may prevent later conflict, such as not allowing a new partner to share the residence.
- Be clear with the children that the arrangement is likely to be temporary and they should not presume that their parents will reconcile (unless that is a possibility).
- Be very clear about the schedule so that transitions are certain both for the parents and the children.
- Get advice from a counselor or family therapist before entering into a nesting arrangement.
- Set out any agreements that you have reached with your partner in writing so that you are both clear about the intentions and expectations.
For any advice or assistance in relation to nesting or separation generally, speak to one of the experienced family lawyers at Belperio Clark.