Heymann & Fletcher

Would post-divorce nesting be best for your kids?

Divorce with kids brings up a lot of questions, one of which is where they'll live. Most often, the parents sell the expensive family home -- which they bought on two incomes, after all -- and buy two separate homes or apartments. Then the kids spend time with both of them in these new homes, in accordance with the custody schedule.

Just because it's common, though, doesn't mean it's best for the kids. They have to move. They lose their neighbors and friends. They may leave their school and start at a new one. They really feel the impact of the divorce. For them, nearly every aspect of their lives change.

That's hard to take for young kids. If you want to help them avoid this, you may want to consider nesting.

What is it?

Nesting means picking a home as your "nest." It's a home base where the kids live all of the time. You may just keep the family home so they don't have to move at all.

Then, when you have custody, you live in the house with the kids. When your ex has custody, he or she moves in. The kids get to stay, they get that consistency, and their lives essentially stay the same.

Where do you go when you don't have custody? Couples take different approaches. You may own a total of three homes. To cut back on the costs, though, many simply buy a second apartment together. They can then share it so that they each have a second space to retreat to.

Does it help the kids?

If your main goal is to help your children through a tough divorce, this is one way to do it.

"Having the children live in the same house that is familiar to them can be beneficial because it's easier to stay in the same school and keep the same friend group," one expert noted. "Often when kids have to bounce between different households, it tends to affect their social lives due to the location. Another upside to nesting is that kids don't have to lug their belongings back and forth between two places. It allows the kids to come to terms with the divorce without being separated from the environment they have always known."

That said, it's not perfect for the parents. You still share that house with your ex. You still see each other all the time. Can you deal with that? Or will it just lead to the same conflicts you had during your marriage in Randolph? Every couple has to decide that for themselves.

Your options

Nesting may work for you. It may not. The key is simply to consider all of your options during divorce and to put your kids first.

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