As readers of this blog know, our firm encourages our clients to engage in mediation and collaborative law. This is because these types of alternative dispute resolution models can solve most marriage disputes without the need for expensive litigation. And, for those couples able to navigate the process effectively, another option that could be useful to make the transition from married life to single life easier is nesting.
What is nesting?
Nesting (also known as birdnesting) is when divorcing spouses choose to keep the family home instead of selling it as part of the divorce process. They can choose to keep this home during the process, for a set amount of time after the divorce, or forever, splitting ownership between the two spouses. This is done so that the couple’s children can stay in the home, and then the parent caring for that child stays in the home as well. When that parent’s time is up, they leave and the other parent moves in.
Even for the most amicable of divorces, divorce can be expensive. In some cases, what was a two-income household is now divided across two single-income households, or one income paying for two households, with all the additional rent costs, vehicle costs, gas, electricity, gas, etc.
When you nest, you do not have to buy anything additional for your children. You also do not necessarily need to buy a separate place. You could share an apartment with your ex so that when whoever is not at the family home, they are in the apartment. Or, if there is enough room, the parents can work out a way for there to be a separate space for the non-care-taker parent, like a garage apartment. Even if the couple decides to only nest for a few months or for a year, this interim period can allow both spouses time to save up money to start their new single life.
For your kids, this nesting period can often soften the divorce process because there is not an immediate transition or destruction of their life. This is because, except for only one parent being there at a time, the child’s life does not change greatly during the divorce or for as long as the parents agree to nest. This is because they stay in their room, stay in their old school, hang out with their same friends, etc. It can make the divorce process much less mentally taxing.