Divorce has changed a lot in recent decades. Gone are the days of “every other weekend” visitation for fathers and sole custody for mothers based mainly on their gender. Parenting plans are now widely flexible to be adapted to each family’s needs. This is important: by looking beyond “one size fits all” solutions, families can make arrangements that help everyone adjust to their new lives. An experienced St. Louis divorce mediator can help you explore the many options and make plans that are best for your new family circumstances. Schedule your free consultation with Attorney Jennifer Rench by calling (314) 328-5423.
The New Nesting Trend
One of the most important goals of flexible divorce solutions in creating stability for the children of divorce. Some parents are achieving this by keeping the children in a single home, rather than shuffling back and forth between two separate homes. NBC News recently reported on how this new trend works. In “nesting” or “birdnesting,” the marital home is kept intact as the children’s primary residence. The parents then rotate into the home during their assigned parenting time. When it is not their parenting time, the “off-schedule” parent lives elsewhere. Very few families can afford to maintain three separate residences. What many couples, therefore, do instead is to have a single apartment that the parents each stay at during the time they are not with the children.
How to Improve Your Chances of Success with a Nesting Plan
While nesting can help reduce the unsettling effect a divorce can have on children, there are some potential problems that parents should be aware of. By anticipating these problems and planning in advance, parents can avoid these pitfalls to maintain a nesting schedule successfully. It is important that neither parent expects to “own” the nesting home or exclusively control what happens there. A bird nesting arrangement means each parent exercises parenting time (and parental authority) with the children in the house. It is important for parents to discuss their expectations so that there are fewer opportunities for misunderstandings and friction.
Here are some things parents should discuss before implementing a nesting schedule:
Who will pay to maintain the nesting home
In “traditional” divorces, each parent generally pays to maintain his or her own home after divorce. This creates clear boundaries over who is “in charge” of each house. These lines are blurred when there is a single nesting home where each parent spends time with the children. It is important to set clear expectations for who will pay for what. Mortgage or rent, utilities, taxes, and other expenses should be itemized and addressed. Even things like groceries and household items should be discussed ahead of time.
Who is responsible for maintaining the nesting home
Any home will require cleaning, maintenance, and other upkeep. If each parent is living there, it is only fair to divide these responsibilities. Discuss these issues before setting a parenting time schedule. If neither parent is able or willing to clean or maintain the house, parents can agree to pay someone else to complete these tasks. Agree on a payment schedule or fee share that is acceptable to both parents.
Boundaries for the nesting home
Sharing a residence with a former spouse – even on a part-time basis – can lead to awkward confrontations. It is important that everyone is clear on the expectations each person has for the nesting home, and what boundaries must be respected. Perhaps each parent has their own office or room that is “off-limits” to the other. There might be rules for inviting new romantic partners to the house. While these issues can be awkward, it is far better to discuss them before there is an angry confrontation between the parents. As with any roommate situation, it is important to respect each other’s boundaries.
Call an Experienced St. Louis Divorce Mediator to Help Create Successful Parenting Plans
Birdnesting is an interesting new solution to a common problem of divorce and raising children. It has the potential for awkwardness and disputes between parents, but this friction can be reduced with preparation. Attorney Jennifer Rench is an experienced St. Louis divorce mediator. She has helped many couples negotiate creative parenting plans, and she can help you make the residential arrangements that are right for your family. She knows how to help couples set clear expectations and make effective written agreements that improve their chances of successful co-parenting. Call (314) 328-5423 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.