Child Custody ‘Nesting’ Arrangements on Long Island
As an experienced Long Island Matrimonial and Family Law Attorney, I have seen all kinds of custody and visitation arrangements. Recently, a new trend in Child Custody has been emerging. Nesting Custody Arrangements have been getting more and more attention as they gain popularity among divorcing couples.
What is a Nesting Child Custody Arrangement?
A Nesting Arrangement, in the context of custody, means that the children are the ones who stay put and the parents “fly” in and out of the home to care for the children. This could manifest in many different ways, but the children always remain in the home. Mom could be in the “nest” (children’s home) during the week, and Dad could be in the nest on the weekends. Maybe Mom stays at the home with the children Saturday night through Wednesday morning and Dad stays Wednesday’s after school through Saturday morning.
Again, the most important part of the Nesting Arrangement is that the children remain in the former marital residence. Having the parents be the ones to come and go means that they must maintain their own separate residence, typically an apartment, for the days when they are not with the children in the nest.
Top Considerations Before Deciding on a Nesting Arrangement:
The main concern for any family discussing a Nesting Arrangement is the cost. Not only does the former marital residence need to be maintained, but now both parents need to maintain separate residences on top of that. A total of 3 households need to exist in order for this arrangement to work.
Another top concern is the actual maintenance of the former marital residence. Someone needs to mow the lawn, clean the gutters, make sure the dishes are done, the den needs to be vacuumed, sheets and clothes need to be washed. Implicit in this need to maintain the children’s home is respectful and calm communication between the parents regarding housekeeping.
A hybrid of the two concerns is the financial maintenance of the former marital residence. The two parents will need to sit down and reach some kind of agreement regarding the finances associated with keeping the children’s home afloat, all while maintaining separate residences.
Pros of Deciding on a Nesting Arrangement:
Telling your children that you are getting a divorce is no simple or easy task. This discussion may be slightly easier, however, if you are telling them that their day-to-day lives will remain as stable as possible. Their clothes, shoes, homework, and sports equipment will all stay exactly where it is. There will be no shuffling the kids back and forth; they remain constant. They do not need to adjust to a new environment or a new school. It’s just like when one parent goes away for business and the other is left to care for the children. This stability is invaluable, especially while it may seem like everything else is changing. It’s also less stress on the children, as they do not need to live out of suitcases for most of their childhood, or worry about which pair of jeans are at which house, or be concerned that the soccer cleats will get left at Dad’s house, but the next practice is during Mom’s time.
Cons of Deciding on a Nesting Arrangement:
Among the top cons of deciding on a Nesting Arrangement are the finances and maintenance discussed above. It is no secret that living on Long Island is incredibly expensive. In order to be successful in your Nesting Arrangement, you need to be realistic. You need to ask yourself, and your spouse, can I/we make this work financially? Can I help maintain the children’s home while supporting myself in a completely separate residence? Can my spouse and I work together and perform the housekeeping functions of the former marital residence so that our children can live there comfortably? If you can answer in the positive for all of the previous questions, you might want to consider sitting down and having a real conversation about making a Nesting Arrangement work.
Additionally, some clients have come to me concerned that they will lose track of their things and remain wholly unorganized moving back and forth between two homes. My typical response, after years and years of seeing young children move back and forth between two homes, is that fully grown adults are better equipped to deal with the constant movement than children. While that concern is certainly valid, the parents who come to me with this concern are really stepping into the minds of their children in this regard. Imagine how confusing and stressful moving back and forth, on top of their parents’ marriage ending, is for your children. If you can alleviate some of that stress and avoid some of that change, it may be worth your temporary discomfort while you get used to your new arrangement.
Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?
See this page to learn everything you need to know about Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island.
To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.
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If you would like to discuss this, or any, custody arrangement, please call our Long Island Divorce and Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to schedule up your free consultation.
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