Is Co-Parenting and Nesting Right for You?

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What are Co-Parenting and Nesting?

Co-parenting is when both parents participate in raising their children. Nesting refers to a custodial arrangement for children that allows the kids to remain living in one home, and have the parents move in and out. Having children is a blessing. But when a couple decides to separate or divorce, children can become a source of contention if the parents are not able to amicably work through their separation.

Co-parenting – How can we do this?

One of the most common questions clients ask family law attorneys is “How can two parents share time with their kids when they are no longer living in the same household?”  A “parenting plan” refers to a child custody plan negotiated between parents after they separate or divorce. Tensions surrounding parenting plans may increase even when both parents prioritize the needs of their children. Hence, it’s important for parents to remain flexible, responsive and practical when developing a parent plan that works for all.

In the past, parents have used traditional custodial schedules for co-parenting and sharing time with their children. For example, a 3-4-4-3 custody schedule would allow a child to spend 3 days with one parent in his/her home, 4 days with other parent, 4 days with the first parent and then 3 days with the other parent. A 2-2-5-5 schedules allows children to spend 2 days with each parent and then 5 days each parent. A week on/week off schedule allows a child to spend a week with one parent and next with the other.

The Nesting Option

Many families enjoy using these standard custodial schedules. But some co-parenting families find that they do not like having their child move from one home to another. They prefer that the children remain in one home while the parents rotate in and out of the “family home”. This custodial arrangement is commonly referred to as “nesting”.

Nesting is an option that some parents consider as a transitional parenting arrangement because they want to keep the children’s living arrangements in place for a period during or right after a separation or divorce. Nesting’s benefits include maintaining consistency for children in that they can remain in the family home without going back and forth between their parents’ homes.

However, nesting adds some additional complications. Certain ground rules must be made since both parents will be sharing the family home and possibly a second home. For example:

  • Which areas of each home to designated for each parent?
  • What is the cleaning schedule for each home?
  • Can you afford the added expense of having possibly three homes? A family home, and a separate home for each parent to live in when they are not with the kids.

Consider Nesting a Temporary Solution

Therefore, it is important to consider a default date for the nesting phase to end in order to effectively move forward after a divorce. Nesting is typically considered a short-term solution to ease the transition of divorce for children and probably not the best long-term solution for many parents.

About the Author

Candice Saadian Costa has dedicated her entire legal career (since 2007) to working with families in high-conflict situations. She can guide you in establishing co-parenting and nesting strategies that work for your family.

SquareFairy helps couples prepare their initial legal separation papers for free. Start your Ready-to-file California Legal Separation paperwork here.

Candice Saadian Costa

Candice Saadian Costa, who runs Golden Gate Mediation in San Francisco, is a California licensed attorney who has dedicated her legal career to working with families in high-conflict. Serving as both a litigator and mediator, Candice represents both parents and minors in high conflict juvenile dependency matters and mediation services to couples facing divorce. In her family law mediation practice, Candice strives to enforce the idea that the divorce process can be navigated through with dignity and does not have to become a drawn-out, expensive and adversarial process. Candice respects each of her clients’ unique situations and tailors her services accordingly. She is committed to always maintaining impartiality and fairness to each party.

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