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What Is a Nesting Agreement?

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Posted By Cohen Family Law | July 4 2022 | Uncategorized

In a divorce with children, there are many different options for a child custody arrangement. What works for one family might not work for another. In Washington, parents first have the chance to create their own parenting time plan before the matter is given to a judge. To find the plan that works for your family, you may have to think outside the box. A unique option that could be ideal if you want to focus on stability and normalcy for your children is a nesting agreement.

What Is a Nesting Agreement in a Divorce Case?

A nesting or bird-nesting agreement in family law refers to a parenting time schedule where rather than passing off the kids from one parent to the other according to a custody schedule, the parents rotate in and out of the family home and the kids remain in place. The parents continue to share the marital home after the divorce, but not together – only one spouse lives in the house at a time. When it is not one parent’s turn, he or she stays at a separate apartment, home or hotel.

The parenting time and visitation schedule for parents who choose a nesting agreement depend on what is right for them. Factors to take into consideration are the age of the children, their school schedules and extracurricular activities, and the work schedules of both parents. One parent may do best staying in the marital home with the kids for the workweek while the other has his or her turn on the weekends, for example, or the family may fare better splitting the week down the middle. The exact arrangement is up to the parents.

Pros and Cons of a Nesting Agreement

The main advantage of a nesting agreement is the stability of keeping the children in the home that they are used to full-time. Children, especially younger children, may not do well emotionally with a major change like staying overnight somewhere else for part of the week –especially on top of the already significant change to their family structure from divorce. Other pros of bird-nesting include:

  • A smoother transition, as the children don’t have to give up their rooms, neighborhoods, friends, school or routine by staying in the same place full-time.
  • Parents can save money by securing a smaller second home or apartment, since they do not need bedrooms for the kids.
  • Parents can avoid a legal dispute over who gets to keep the family home and will not be forced to sell it at a potential financial loss during the divorce.

Of course, bird-nesting isn’t for everyone. Some of the drawbacks can include:

  • The need to communicate and cooperate with your co-parent.
  • A requirement to share the same space after your divorce.
  • Having to pay for three residences if you do not want to share the second space, as well.
  • Complications when one or both parents start to date someone new.
  • The possibility of ending the nesting phase and coming up with a different custody arrangement as the children get older.

There are a few different ways to do nesting if you’re contemplating this type of parenting time schedule. Carefully consider the best time schedule for you, your spouse and – most importantly – your children if this idea appeals to you. For many parents, a nesting arrangement is a temporary or transitional arrangement, but others have successfully used this arrangement for many years after a divorce.

Is a Nesting Arrangement Right for Your Family?

A nesting custody arrangement is a unique concept that could be the perfect fit for your family. If you wish to discuss nesting and other potential shared custody options in more detail with an experienced child custody attorney in Washington, you can do so by contacting Cohen Family Law, LLC. We will work closely with you to create a parenting plan that works best for the whole family.

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