It might be helpful to have information on nesting and other strategies to help children adjust to divorce. Parents in California who are getting a divorce might try an arrangement called “nesting” or “birdnesting” in which their children stay in the family home. Parents take turns living there, and children have some time to adjust to the divorce. Since they usually cannot afford to maintain three homes, parents usually also share a small place nearby. Experts say that the arrangement can work, but it is best to limit it to just a few months.
The parents also need to have an amicable relationship. Despite this, the potential for conflict is high in sharing both living spaces. The arrangement could also create anxiety for children because of the uncertainty of wondering what their lives will be like when they are living between two households. Children might also begin to hope their parents will have a reconciliation if the situation goes on too long.
When parents do not want to try nesting, they can help their children adjust in a number of other ways. They can make as few changes as possible to the child’s routine. This includes keeping the child in the same school. Parents should set aside their conflict when they are around their children. They should help them maintain relationships with other family members and should try to have consistent expectations in both of their households.
If parents decide to share both legal and physical custody, their children will spend about half their time with each of them. They should look into nesting and other strategies to help children adjust to divorce. There are a number of different ways they can structure this or a visitation arrangement. For example, the child could go from one house to the other weekly or go back and forth during the week. Older children might express a preference for one arrangement. If parents cannot reach an agreement on child support and custody, they might have to go to court where a judge will decide.