Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Nesting after divorce: Hard for adults, ideal for children

What are your goals as you and your spouse get divorced? Do they revolve around your children? Do you really just want to find the best possible solution for the kids?

If so, you may want to consider nesting, which is a unique custody arrangement where your kids never move. They simply stay in the house where they already lived. As your custody schedule changes, you and your ex move in and out.

For instance, perhaps you get them every other week, starting on Monday. On Monday morning, the kids go off to school and you leave for work. After work, you go to another location -- such as an apartment you rented -- while your ex moves in. The kids come home to find your ex living with them, and then you make the trade again the following Monday as you move back in.

Easy for the kids

The upside of this, as one couple pointed out, is that it can give the children a great living situation. They still feel secure and safe in their own home. They spend less time on the road. They feel like they have their own rooms, their own toys and their own space. They stay in the same neighborhood as their friends, and they stay in the same school.

It's also good for them because they stay around you and your ex all the time. You both leave things in the house -- clothes, toothbrushes, shoes, decorations, etc. -- so they feel connected to you. They still live in the same place where they have memories of you as a couple. In a lot of ways, nesting is far less jarring for the children and they do not feel like their wholes lives have been turned upside-down.

Tough for the adults

For the same reasons, though, nesting can prove difficult for you and your ex. It makes it harder to move on. You do not get a "clean break." You still see reminders of your ex all the time. You still share each other's lives to a significant degree.

Perhaps your ex never cleaned up around the house, for instance, and it always frustrated you. After a traditional divorce where you live apart, you would not have to deal with that anymore. When you're nesting, however, you do. Your ex still doesn't do the dishes, doesn't do the laundry, doesn't pick up the clutter in the living room. As a divorced couple, these little things can grow aggravating, and you can't escape them.

Your options

For this reason and many others, nesting isn't for everyone. But it may be best for your kids. Make sure you understand all of your legal options and what steps you need to take.

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Richmond, VA 23230

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