Ask Yourself if Nesting Makes Sense for Your Family
1. Will you and your spouse remain in the area or city? Nesting works best when both of you are available for your “on duty” parenting time.
2. Ask yourself if you can set aside your own comfort and prioritize the comfort of your children. The benefit of nesting is that both of you remain actively involved with their children while minimizing your own conflict.
3. Can you afford to support alternate living locations? Increasing financial stress is certainly not helpful. You may need to reduce your standard of living, although of course, after the divorce, you will be supporting two homes that have space for the children.
4. Can you and your spouse share the “off-site” location, or will you each need your own space?
5. Can you and your spouse work together to find ways to communicate in a respectful manner about matters relating to the children, the home, and finances? Use communication tools, such as a shared online family calendar, to make the transitions easier. Communicate regularly about how the children are doing. Bring in a trained mental health professional if you need more support.
6. Can you develop a realistic, balanced timeshare schedule so that each family member always knows which parent is “on duty”? Can you agree that if the schedule doesn’t work well, you’ll review and revise it? Usually parents transition in and out of the house once or twice a week, but you and your partner parent need to create a realistic and workable schedule.
7. Can you and your spouse help your children understand what you are doing? You may explain that this doesn’t necessarily mean you will reconcile with their other parent. Let them know that the nesting may be temporary and that you will let them know as decisions are made regarding future living arrangements.
8. Can you develop written agreements? To ensure successful nesting, you will need agreements about communication, house rules, household responsibilities, who pays the bills, and how holidays and birthdays will be handled? Consider setting up a joint “family” bank account to support the home and the children. You may choose to consult with a financial specialist who will help you set up a realistic budget.
9. Get help from a family therapist if necessary. The family therapist can help you create a parenting plan that works for your family’s unique needs. In addition, my book, A Parents Guide to Birdnesting, will walk you in detail step-by-step through the process.