Some Pennsylvania parents who are getting a divorce might want to consider an arrangement called “nesting” or “birdnesting” for a few months. This allows children to remain in the home while parents take turns living with them there. However, most experts caution that only three to six months is the ideal amount of time for this arrangement.
The advantage of nesting is that it provides stability for children in a time of upheaval. For example, a child might have the opportunity to finish out the year at the same school. However, it can create a strain for parents. While an effective nesting arrangement requires parents to get along very well, even individuals who have a good relationship may find it strained by having to share living quarters. Usually, in addition to the family home, parents also take turns living in a small apartment. Another disadvantage of nesting is that it may encourage children to think their parents will get back together.
With or without nesting, parents can take other steps to help their children adjust during and after a divorce. They should answer their questions about the divorce as much as they are able and help them maintain relationships with family members. They should try to keep children in the same routine and the same school and enforce the same expectations and rules between households.
When making decisions about child custody, the courts base their ruling on what is in the child’s best interest. Parents should try to do the same, although it may be difficult. They should not use the children to get even with one another, and if they are able to negotiate an agreement for custody and visitation instead of going to court, this could create a more stable situation for their children. Children may also want to participate in decisions about the custody arrangement.