Is a Nesting Child Custody Agreement Right for You?

Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved Mom, Dad and the children. Visitation schedules often mean packing up clothes and shuffling homework and responsibilities between two different households. It’s hard enough to stay on top of everything when the children and both parents are under one roof. When the family lives in two different places, keeping track of doctor appointments, sports practices, and everything else can get complicated very quickly.

This is why some families have opted for a nesting child custody and visitation agreement. In a nesting agreement, the parents still have shared custody, but the children stay put at a central location, with the parents living elsewhere when they don’t have visitation. Each parent then “nests” with the children at the central residence when it’s their turn to spend time with the kids.

What Is a Nesting Child Visitation Arrangement?

There are many different variations possible with a nesting child visitation arrangement. While it may seem like a family would need to have a great deal of wealth to make this type of agreement work, a nest arrangement is possible on many different kinds of budgets.

In some cases, the parents choose to keep the primary marital residence in one or both party’s names and continue to share the financial obligations that come with it. The children can stay in the primary home, while the parents rent a single apartment they can each alternate using whenever they’re not with the children.

This setup ensures that the parents each have a place to stay when they’re not at the primary residence. Additionally, they don’t have to each purchase an additional residence while still maintaining the family home. It can also help the kids retain a form of stability, as they get to remain in the marital home.

If the couple has enough resources, each party may choose to rent or purchase their own separate residence. This can help cut down on potential disagreements about costs and housekeeping issues like cleaning and property maintenance. This type of arrangement might also help the divorcing parties feel like they have more privacy, as they would only share the marital residence.

For some families, a nesting visitation agreement works well for the first few years following the divorce, or in cases when the children are very young. In other cases, however, the family likes the arrangement so much that they continue following it well after their divorce is final.

Get a Nesting Custody Agreement in Writing

If you decide that a nesting custody agreement is right for you, it’s important to put your agreement in writing. As with any child custody and visitation arrangement, it’s critical to make sure you’re protected. No matter how amicable your divorce, having a contract in writing is key, as it helps you navigate any disputes that may come up as you co-parent with your ex. An experienced North Carolina divorce lawyer, like Attorney Lori Vitale in Raleigh, can help you create an agreement that works for your entire family.

In a nesting agreement, some things to consider include what days each parent will spend time in the marital home and when each parent will have holidays with the children.

Additionally, the parents should include specific details about which party is responsible for expenses involving the marital home and any rental or secondary properties. It’s also a good idea to include provisions that discuss what happens in the event one parent loses their job or experiences financial difficulty.

The parties can also include provisions that address significant others, grocery shopping, childcare, who will take the children to doctors’ appointments, and anything else they feel is important. Having these items in writing ahead of time can take pressure off both sides.

When Does a Nesting Custody Agreement Work Best?

A nesting child custody and visitation agreement isn’t for everyone. For example, if the parties have a strained relationship, a nesting arrangement might not be ideal.

However, a nesting arrangement can be a good idea in some situations. As an example, some parents whose children have special needs find that a nesting arrangement helps them better manage their child’s medical, emotional, and educational needs.

A nesting arrangement might also be a good idea for families who look after an elderly parent or relative in their home. In some cases, a parent who lives in the home might also be able to provide child care while the parents work.  

In other cases, parents have a child who is heavily involved in sports. If the family travels a great deal or pays for advanced lessons, a nesting arrangement might make sense and help cut down on costs.

Additionally, parents whose employment includes shift work might find that a nesting situation works best for their family.

Finally, a nesting arrangement might just be the most beneficial solution for the children. The bottom line is that the parents should work with their kids, each other, and their divorce lawyers to find an arrangement that makes everyone feel comfortable. A divorce attorney in North Carolina at Vitale Family Law Office in Raleigh can help explain the different options and help you determine what plan works best for your family. To discuss nesting child custody agreements in more detail or any related matters to your North Carolina divorce, call and speak with the Raleigh family law attorneys at Vitale Family Law by phone at 919-841-5680 or contact via email.