Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Nesting: It might be the key to unlock your low-stress divorce

As you watched your children grow from their toddler years into pre-teens and teenagers, you've enjoyed seeing them spread their wings, make friends, increase their knowledge and set out to achieve their goals. When you sat them down to tell them you were getting divorced, one of their biggest concerns was whether they would have to move. Even a mere mention of going to a new school, leaving their current Virginia neighborhood or having to travel back and forth from your house to their other parent's seemed to cause them stress.

When you decided to divorce, both you and your spouse agreed to cooperate and compromise as necessary to keep things as low stress as possible, especially where your children are concerned. After all, you both love them, and they love both of you, and you really just want to come up with a plan that works for everyone and get on with your lives. The good news is there are several options available for the goals you have in mind and support teams who can help you accomplish them.

Have you heard of nesting?

There's a rising trend among parents in Virginia and elsewhere that often helps divorcing spouses with children avoid long, drawn out custody battles. It's called nesting, and the following information explains the process, as well as possible pros and cons that might apply to your particular situation:

  • Nesting allows kids to stay in the home they lived in during their parents' marriage. Once the court finalizes your divorce, your children would go on living in their same house while you and your former spouse take turns living with them.
  • One of the major benefits of nesting is that it helps you maintain routine and structure in your children's lives. Providing a sense of normalcy is often key to helping children adapt to the fact that they no longer live with both parents under the same roof. If they get to stay in their own home, the adjustment may be less arduous.
  • You may also like the idea of not having to sell your house or negotiate its value during asset division proceedings. On the flip side, you do have to have someplace to live when it's not your turn to stay with your children, which may create an expense in your post-divorce budget.
  • Nesting may be worth a try just to save you the hassle of trying to keep track of your children's belongings, such as backpacks, school assignments, sports equipment and other stuff they'd be hauling back and forth if you were to choose a more conventional custody plan.

You can customize your own nesting plan and seek the court's approval. Issues you might want to consider include sharing maintenance and upkeep of the home, setting privacy boundaries for your own bedroom or office space within the home and establishing a game plan if you or your spouse happen to enter a new romantic relationship. If you try nesting and it works, that's great; if it doesn't, you can always seek modification of your existing court order as needed.

The ultimate outcome is up to you

The main point is that it's often possible to devise a new parenting plan that is agreeable to all involved without resorting to contentious debates and haggling in court over every minor issue. Many Virginia parents are able to achieve amicable divorces by relying on experienced guidance and incorporating creative options that help keep stress levels low and focus on children's best interests.

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