For many divorcing parents it is challenging and almost unimaginable in the beginning to set their differences aside and actually collaborate on a co-parenting solution that centers around their children. But when they are able to separate themselves from the conflict, and realize that they actually share common co-parenting goals, they are setting their children up for a much healthier future. An on-going conflict between parents is much more damaging to the well-being of their children that the divorce itself.
Nesting is the new age co-parenting plan which, in the right situation, can cause the least amount of disruption and provide more stability for their children during this difficult transition. It can also be the least costly option.
It is an arrangement where parents maintain their marital residence, where children continue to reside, and one outside residence (1 bedroom apartment or a studio). Parents then take turns between those two dwellings, sharing time with their children in the marital home. The separate residence can be purchased by one parent while the other parent owns the marital home, or they both continue to share the cost of both residences. When the youngest child becomes the age of majority, the marital residence is handled (sold and proceeds divided, or kept by one parent, etc.) according to their divorce agreement.
It can actually save parents money because they don’t have to buy two sets of clothes, toys and furniture for their children. However, just like with anything else, it is important to consider some of these factors to see if this arrangement makes sense:
- Deciding on a clear timeline and consider all possible ‘what if’ scenarios.
- Ability to communicate well.
- Conflict is inevitable, which is why it is critical to decide ahead of time how it would be resolved (counseling, mediation, etc.).
- Map out a clear set of ground rules and routines
- Consider the distance between both residences
- Consider the cost of keeping two residences
- Discuss privacy issues, such as what happens when parents have new partners.
For more information on co-parenting, check out my book The Bedroom Elephant: A Guide to Succesful Divorce at http://www.amazon.com/The-Bedroom-Elephant-Successful-Divorce-ebook/dp/B00H4E61BM