How would it be, if when a couple with children divorce instead of custody the court requires them to secure a stable home for the children and require the parents to shuttle around every week?

This is something that many parents already do. It is often known as “nesting”. 

Some parents feel it would be best for their children if they don’t have to shuttle back and forth between their divorced parents’ respective homes, so the parents maintain one home where the children live permanently, then the parents will take turns living in the house with the children, typically on a week on, week off basis, such that Mom is in the house for a week, then Dad is in the house for a week.  

There are at least two common ways to do this. The most preferred way, which is also the most expensive, is to have three homes. One home for the children, and then one home where Mom lives when she’s not living with the children, and a home where Dad lives when is now living with the children. Another option, which requires the ex-wife annexed has been to get along well enough to share the use of our home, is for Mom and Dad to share the use and cost of a home where each of them lives when he/she is not living in the children’s home. That way you only have to have two homes in rotation. It also requires that the ex-wife and ex-husband trust each other enough and can tolerate each other enough to share a common residence, albeit one in which they would, by design, almost never reside at the same time.  

Regardless of how appealing nesting might appear, it is clear that it is not an arrangement that every divorcing couple can implement successfully. 

Nesting is a polarizing subject for many in the legal profession. Some think it’s a great new innovation that makes shared custody of children easier on the children. Others think it’s a goofy, burdensome, and impracticable idea; one that sounds good in concept, but does not work well in practice.  

As you can imagine, nesting would become very difficult, if not impossible, to implement if either of the parents remarries. There are few people willing to have their spouses move out of the marital home every other week to spend time with their kids, or to bounce back and forth between the marital home and the stepchildren’s home every other week. 

Another snag divorced parents may encounter when contemplating a nesting arrangement is the question of who owns the house where the children reside. Divorcing spouses usually want to disentangle themselves from each other financially, so they are often not eager to share ownership or be co-lessees of real property and having to deal with all of the burdens and obligations associated with it ( mortgage payments, insurance and tax payments, maintenance and repairs, usage, etc.). 

It takes a special kind of ex-husband and ex-wife to make a nesting arrangement work successfully for both them and their children. Clearly, nesting cannot be for everyone. But just because it may not be easy does not mean it could be a perfect solution for particular families. The more options of which divorcing parents are aware, the better they can tailor their custody and parent time schedule for the mutual benefit of parents and children alike. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277   

Tags: , , , ,
Click to listen highlighted text!