Nesting as a tool for helping children adjust after divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Family Law

The period after a divorce is often tumultuous and mentally distressing for minor children. The complete upheaval of the world as they knew it often leaves them feeling hurt, confused and insecure.

Nesting is a strategy that can help them adjust to their new circumstances more easily.

What is nesting?

Nesting is when parents rotate in and out of the family home, allowing children to remain in a familiar and stable environment. While one parent resides in the family home, the other lives elsewhere, and the two switch on agreed-upon intervals. This arrangement aims to minimize disruption in the children’s lives and provide them with a sense of consistency during and after the divorce process.

What are the advantages of nesting?

One of the primary benefits of nesting is the preservation of stability for children. Traveling between two homes can make children feel transient as if they do not really belong anywhere, and even as if neither parent truly wants them. The movement can also disrupt their lives, leading to a decline in academic and social performance. By allowing them to stay in the same home, attend the same school and maintain familiar routines, nesting helps children feel more secure during a time of considerable change. This stability can contribute to better emotional and psychological well-being for the children involved.

What are the challenges of nesting?

While nesting can be beneficial, it comes with its own set of challenges. Parents must navigate logistical issues, such as managing separate living spaces and coordinating schedules effectively. For nesting to be successful, both parents need to commit to prioritizing their children’s well-being over personal differences. Maintaining three homes can also be expensive, and there are long-term considerations. Older children may not need the cushion of nesting as much as younger ones, but they may also leave sooner, reducing the amount of time the arrangement needs to go on. Parents may also need to consider if they will need to move or remarry in the future.

Divorce can have a serious impact on the mental and emotional health of children. Nesting offers a way to gradually accustom them to their new circumstances and ease the burden on them psychologically, but it is not right for everyone.