Nesting: A Child Centered Solution

Big sister hugging little brother while sitting on chair.

The most common concern I hear from divorcing parents is “will our children be ok?” They also frequently want to know what the best parenting plan is. My answer is always that if there was a perfect parenting plan, we would all be using it, but there isn’t. However, the best parenting plan is the one you can both agree on.

What is best is different for every family. It depends on the ages and developmental stages of the children, how far or near the parents will be living to one another, the distance from their homes to school, work, and daycare. Who can get the children to and from school and other activities?

One option to consider, even if only short-term is “Nesting” or “Birdnesting”. In this option, the children stay in the home and the parents move in and out according to an agreed schedule.  The parents may share another residence when they are out of the family home, or they may each have a place of their own, or stay with family or friends.  It depends on what is manageable from a financial and logistical standpoint.

Ann Gold Buscho, in her book “ The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting,” points out the benefits of this arrangement:

            – Nesting can support the creation or continuation of your children’s positive and secure attachment to each parent

            – Nesting helps each parent adjust to being a single parent

            – Parents will understand what their children will be going through in moving back and forth between the parent’s homes.

            – Nesting gives everyone time and space to deal with the emotions that arise in the early stages of divorce before making other big decisions

            – Successful nesting will ease your children’s stress in the short term.

Nesting is not a perfect solution, both parties have to be willing, it has to work financially and logistically and both parents have to be clear about expectations and be committed to working through the tough spots.

Buscho’s book offers guidance and checklists to help you set your family up for successful nesting, even if it’s only for a few weeks or months until a longer-term plan can be established.

Ann Buscho is a member of Collaborative Practice California. She recently presented a workshop on Nesting at a conference in San Diego, California hosted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professional and the Collaborative Practice Group in San Diego.

The Collaborative Practice of San Diego is a nonprofit, multi-disciplinary referral network of independent professionals of attorneys, mental health professionals and financial advisors working together to learn, practice, and promote Collaborative processes for problem-solving and the peaceful resolution of family law issues in regard to co-parenting, with an eye toward preserving the emotional, as well as the financial assets of the family.

Note: This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal/financial/tax/or mental health advice. You should work with your attorney, financial, medical or tax professional to determine what will work best for your situation.

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