When one parent remains at home with a child after divorce, developing a scheduled parenting plan protects each parent’s visitation and parenting time rights.
Stay-at-Home Parent Has New Meaning
When parents divorce, it is common for the custodial parent to stay in the family home with the child/children, while the other parent moves to a different location. With a parenting plan in place, each parent is allowed to have individual parenting time in their own space. During and after divorce, separate households are a common approach to spending time with children. However, there is a less familiar option, known as nesting, that some parents are finding beneficial for themselves, as well as best for their children.
What Is Nesting?
Nesting is an alternative arrangement that some divorcing parents are promoting. Nesting allows the children to stay in the marital home regardless of which parent is providing care. Rather than the children moving from one parent’s home to another, parenting time for both parents takes place in the marital home where the children live. Nesting permits both parents to rotate living with their children and spending parenting time in the family home.
Nesting creates a familiar, stable environment for children during divorce. It keeps the family home intact and promotes a more structured, less stressful environment that can help children adjust to their parents’ divorce and the reality of parents living apart. Divorce is often difficult for children, especially young children who do not fully understand why one parent no longer lives in the home. Divorce lawyers often see children who become stressed and anxious by shuffling back and forth between two separate households.
Many mental health experts believe that nesting is beneficial for children because it allows fewer changes. Children can remain at the same school, play with the same group of friends, and participate in the same activities. Most therapists recommend a short-term nesting arrangement from three to six months, because longer arrangements may give children false hope of parent reconciliation.
Although nesting arrangements can protect the physical and psychological needs of children during a divorce, parents still need to make legal arrangements through a divorce lawyer for child custody and parenting time guidelines. A parenting time plan should include provisions for parental communications, exchange of information, changes to scheduled parenting time, resolving conflicts, and handling relocation. Divorce lawyers can create a legal parenting plan that benefits children while addressing both parents’ individual needs.