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A different kind of custody arrangement

One of the trickiest parts of a divorce for parents is finding a fair way to share custody of the children. Traditionally, one parent remains in the family home with the children, and the other parent finds a separate home that the children visit throughout the week. Parents schedule holidays, vacations and weekends, and kids often end up with two sets of everything.

Maybe you went through this as a child, packing your belongings two or three times a week and arriving at school to realize you couldn't remember if you had left your homework at your mom or your dad's house. Some parents are trying a different way to share custody, and they say it is far less stressful on the children.

The pros and cons of nesting

Bird nesting, or nesting, is the practice of allowing the children to stay in the same home while the parents move in and out according to their custody schedules. You should not expect a Kentucky family law court to order this arrangement for you, but if you and your spouse are on good terms, it may be a plan a judge will accept, at least for the short term.

Besides relieving your children of the often-stressful shift from home to home, nesting provides the following benefits:

  • Allows more stability for the children who can remain in their own neighborhood and school
  • Lessens the anxiety of having to plan extra-curricular activities based on where they will be staying that day
  • Makes communication between you and your spouse easier
  • Allows for a gentler transition into the post-divorce life for you and the children

Of course, the idea of nesting is not perfect, and you may already be able to see some of the challenges nesting couples face, including:

  • The financial burden of both you and your spouse having to find separate homes
  • The emotional strain of continued intimate connection with your spouse following the divorce
  • The continuation of disputes that arose during the marriage, such as the sharing of household chores
  • The awkwardness if one of you begins a new relationship

Some also feel that nesting prolongs the natural grieving process, for both you and your children. Seeing their parents continuing to live together, even in a sporadic manner, may make it difficult for kids to accept the reality of the divorce and come to terms with it.

Only you know how your children will fare in any custody arrangement. However, if you think nesting is an option that may work for your family, it is best to discuss the legal and financial ramifications before making any decisions.

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