Nesting - A Novel Approach to Co-Parenting

A recent trend in parenting arrangements is that of “nesting”.  Picture a bird’s nest, in which the baby birds remain in the nest, while mama bird and papa bird take turns tending to the nest and the baby bird’s needs.  The scenario works the same way with humans as it does birds, hence the term “nesting”. The time parents are not at home with the kids, they live in a separate residence.  

I’ve noticed recently during initial meetings with new clients, that the client will explain their proposed or current parenting arrangement, to which I reply, “Oh, you’re nesting!” which is usually met with the response, “What’s that?” (This is when I go into my example about the baby birds and the nest).

Why Parents are Choosing Nesting

The theory behind this arrangement is that children experience less disruption in their lives and routines thus making the whole separation and divorce process go more smoothly from a child’s perspective.

Important Factors to Consider

While this arrangement may sound ideal for some families, nesting requires several factors to make it actually work:

  • Ideally the parents will live within close proximity of the family home;

  • The parents will have to be able to communicate effectively - if it’s a high conflict separation, nesting probably isn’t going to work;

  • And finally, the expense involved is probably the most relevant factor for many families.  If the parents are maintaining a mortgage on the family home and one or both parents are then also paying the expense of an additional residence - this may not be financially feasible.

Although nesting can be a long-term or semi-permanent arrangement, I generally find that most clients will utilize it on a temporary basis, typically until the family home sells or the divorce is finalized. The reason for the temporary nature of a nesting arrangement tends to be the financial implications of maintaining two (or even three) separate households.

A clearly drafted Parenting Agreement or Interim Separation Agreement negotiated at the outset is essential. If you or someone you know could benefit from a Parenting Agreement or an Interim Separation Agreement, or if you have any questions about whether you should sign one yourself, don't hesitate to book a free phone call or a consultation with one of our lawyers.