New Jersey parents discussing or researching divorce over the past few years have likely come across the terms “nesting” or “birdnesting.” These refer to a method that experts agree can help make child custody and divorce much easier on the children and parents alike.
What is it?
For those that have not heard of the practice, nesting involves keeping the child in one home as the parents alternate from that home to another location. The idea is to give the child a sense of stability while the parents build new, independent lives for themselves.
Some nesting parents decide to not sell the family home immediately upon filing for divorce. During the divorce process, and possibly for some time after, the child stays in the home. Rather than having the child go back and forth between the parents’ separate homes, the parents shuttle in and out of the home as the parenting plan dictates.
Not the usual arrangement
In one traditional parental divorce model, the family home is put up for sale almost immediately upon filing for divorce, and the parents begin working on their separate lives.
The children are then shuttled back and forth to their new homes that may change multiple times over the course of the divorce and thereafter.
This has the effect of blowing up the child’s life literally overnight. In a matter of days, they lose their bedroom, their friends, their school and their sense of stability.
This loss of stability, in combination with the loss of their family unit can have negative psychological effects on children, especially minor children. This is why nesting has gained popularity over the years.
Changes the child’s dynamic
When parents choose nesting, the child’s life does not change during the divorce. In fact, the only change the child will immediately notice is that only one parent is parenting at a time. Other than this, their life remains unchanged.
This, in conjunction with counseling or therapy, can allow kids the time they need to understand and accept the changes that will come. In turn, the traditional negative psychological impacts of divorce are largely mitigated, and the child has the room they need to accept.
Can help the parents as well
It is no secret that the New Jersey housing market has fallen off a cliff and selling or buying right now can make very little financial sense. Holding off the sale of the family home could allow the parents to continue to share expenses or even continue to live in the house together, albeit separately. This can put parents in a better financial footing to start their new, single lives.