Nesting in Separation and Divorce: Is it the right option for you? 

November 20, 2023 Plat Simionati

Nesting in Separation and Divorce: Is it the right option for you? 

Disclaimer: This article aims to provide educational information surrounding nesting and divorce. It is not intended to serve as legal advice. Consult with a lawyer and exercise your discretion before taking action based on the information provided in the blog. 

When Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau revealed their separation, the custody arrangement might have raised some eyebrows. In this setup, the children predominantly reside with their father, while their mother maintains a separate residence but returns to the marital home to co-parent the kids. This arrangement, resembling a concept known as ‘nesting,’ has been gaining attention as an option for parents following a separation or divorce.

A divorce can be stressful for children and involves navigating many changes in the family. Many parents want to minimize these disruptions, so some questions arise, “Will staying in the family home help my children adjust? Should I consider nesting with my former partner?”  

In this article, we will explore what nesting entails, its pros and cons, and what it might look like for you. If you’re navigating co-parenting and developing your parenting plan, we encourage you to contact Plat Simionati LLP for legal advice, guidance and support in this crucial journey.

What is Nesting in a Separation or Divorce?

Nesting, or birdnesting, is a unique co-parenting arrangement designed to ease the transition for children during a separation or divorce. In this setup, parents take turns living in the family home based on their custody schedule. It prioritizes maintaining a familiar environment for the child, limiting disruptions, and shifting the adjustments to the parents. 

What are the benefits of birdnesting? 

Parenting experts point to a number of positive reasons to consider this living arrangement. 

The main advantage is that it provides stability and continuity for children. When the children stay in the family home, they avoid going back and forth between two homes. Nesting provides a consistent environment and a stable home during a time of major changes. Your children can stay in their current school and maintain nearby friendships.  Even something as simple as the fact that your children know where to find their belongings can be impactful.

Especially immediately following your separation, it may help children adapt to their new family dynamic and keep their attachment to each parent intact.  By not splitting time between two places, it can improve the quality of parenting time. Additionally, some divorced parents have found that it helps maintain a good relationship with their ex because parents must coordinate and communicate while they share one home. 

You may also want to remain in the family home and wait for a favourable housing market. Nesting may allow you to keep the marital home as you discuss your next steps, including the division of your property. 

What are the downsides of a nesting plan? 

However, a nesting arrangement may not be the best option for every divorcing couple. Consider some of the downsides.  

Managing the household becomes more complicated when parents rotate their time in the home. Even simple decisions about chores, groceries and other tasks must be addressed. This living arrangement may confuse your children, depending on their age and understanding.

You must also consider where you will live when you are living when you are not nesting. You may be able to stay with friends or family or share an off-site residence with your ex-spouse.

Then there is the reality of living together (even if it’s not at the same time) in the same home as your former spouse.  What happens if one of you wants to sell the home? Will you continue nesting when you or your ex begin a new relationship? 

For many, nesting is a temporary arrangement that lessens the effects of divorce on their children, especially during the early days. Most couples end the nesting arrangements as they sort out the division of their property and finalize their separation agreement. 

How Can You Provide Stability for Your Children Following a Separation and Divorce?

To ensure stability for your children during and after a separation or divorce, consider bird nesting as a co-parenting strategy. While it may not be the right fit for every family, it can be valuable during the initial stages of change, preserving continuity and a sense of normalcy for your children. Developing a structured nesting plan is crucial, emphasizing communication, mutual respect, and trust between parents. 

Family Law Advice to Help Parents Move Forward 

Navigating your family’s future after a divorce is challenging. There are many decisions to make and almost endless options. A family law lawyer who understands the issues and can give you reasonable, practical advice is invaluable. 

Contact Plat Simionati LLP today for expert guidance and support in making the right decisions for your family’s future. We are here to assist you toward a stable and harmonious co-parenting arrangement.