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Creative custody may be the answer to your stability worries

When you decided to pursue divorce, you may have immediately begun worrying about your children's future. Perhaps stories of high risk behavior in children of divorce increased your anxiety level. On the other hand, you may know a few people whose children have seemingly fared quite well since their parents split; of course, you're hoping your family has similar results to the latter as opposed to the former.

One of the things that you may be most concerned about, as many Pennsylvania parents who divorce are, is the idea of subjecting your children to constant shuttling back and forth between houses once you and your former spouse take up separate residences. A rising trend known as nesting in divorce may be of interest to you.

Let the kids keep the house

Nesting is a new way of sharing child custody in divorce. The basic idea is that your children would continue to live in the home you and their other parent shared during your marriage. As with most proposed plans, there are pros and cons to such arrangements. The following information may help you explore your options and determine whether this type of deal might be a good idea for your family:

  • Those who have successfully created nesting arrangements after divorce say one of the greatest benefits may be that it allows children to maintain as close to their normal routines as possible, given their situations. While their parents won't be there simultaneously, they themselves will not have to juggle being transported back and forth between homes.
  • Nesting can also eliminate any need you may have to sell your home. Tacking on the sale of a house in a divorce often adds stress to situations that are already difficult. If your children keep living in your house, finding a buyer is one less task you have to worry about.
  • You and your former spouse would take turns living with your children in a nesting arrangement; therefore, when it's not your turn to live with your kids, you'd have to secure other living arrangements, which can be a potential downside in this type of shared custody. This can add to your post-divorce expenses.
  • If you still owe a mortgage on your home, you and your children's other parent will have to work out a payment plan. It also helps to negotiate (and put in writing) who will be responsible for repairs and upkeep around the house.

Nesting may give rise to emotions you did not expect to face when you decided to divorce your spouse. Seeing each other on a regular basis as you change shifts and take turns living with your children can place you in closer proximity to each other than a typical custody/visitation schedule might. It's a good idea to think about that ahead of time to determine if you are prepared to handle it.

The good thing is that if you try nesting after your divorce and determine it's not working out for the best, you can always change to an alternate plan. If you have an existing court order in place, this would include having to renegotiate and seek the court's approval before modifying your parenting agreement.

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