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How nesting may be beneficial for children

New Jersey parents who are getting a divorce but whose relationship is still relatively amicable may be interested in an approach to joint custody known as "nesting". While in a traditional joint custody arrangement children generally move back and forth between their parents' homes, nesting allows them to remain in the family home while the parent do the rotating in and out.

Two parents who used this approach reported that the 18 months their children had to adjust to the divorce in their own home had helped. The parents rented a small apartment near their home that each one lived in for one week at a time alternating with a week in the family home with the children. They also said that it helped them understand the difficulties their children faced in having to move between two homes.

There are disadvantages to nesting as well. While it can be good for children to see their parents working together for their well-being, the setup may also make it hard for them to accept that their parent's divorce is final. Even for parents who get along well together, there is potential for conflict over issues such as chores and spending. There may be a lack of privacy, and the parents sharing the apartment ended the arrangement after one found a new partner.

New Jersey parents who do not feel that they are able to manage a nesting arrangement or for whom it would not be practical may still make a custody agreement that keeps the best interests of their children in mind. A traditional joint custody arrangement or one in which one parent has primary custody and the other has substantial visitation time may work. Parents may want to have the help of their separately-retained attorneys when negotiating this type of agreement.

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