One of the more interesting – and I think positive – trends I have seen in the past few years is an upsurge in “nesting” arrangements, whether court-ordered or instigated by the parents themselves.
These arrangements – sometimes referred to as “bird’s nest custody” or arising under a “nesting order” – involve each separated or divorced parent keeping a separate residence in which they live when it is not their turn at the “bird’s nest”, meaning the home in which the children live full-time. (Alternatively, the parents may have a single residence, like a condominium or rented apartment, which they “share” to the extent that they take turns living there, during the designated period where they are not entitled to live in the “nest” with the children).
These kinds of arrangements often minimize friction: when a parent arrives for his or her designated time in the “nest”, the other parent will vacate immediately, in order to minimize the presence of both parents being there at the same time. The children, on the other hand, are spared the inconvenience and disruption of having to switch residences on a frequent basis in order to take turns living with each parent. The theory is that it is better to inconvenience the parents by making them shuffle between residences, rather than that the children.
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On the down-side, nesting arrangements can be relatively expensive, since they involve the purchase or rental of at least one and often two residences in addition to the matrimonial home. But in many cases this is outweighed by the benefits to the children.
On that point, and as with all post-separation/divorce arrangements involving children, any court considering making a nesting order must examine a number of factors, including the best interests of the children, the financial position of each parent, and which of the parents is the primary caregiver.
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