Home Children Child Custody When Birds of a Feather No Longer Flock Together: A Nesting Arrangement May Be An Answer

When Birds of a Feather No Longer Flock Together: A Nesting Arrangement May Be An Answer

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Grey’s Anatomy star, Kevin McKidd and ex-wife Jane’s divorce has recently been finalized.  The parties were married for 17 years and have two children together.  Their children are 17 and 15 years old. The parties have joint custody of the children.  With respect to the access agreement, Kevin and Jane have agreed to a nesting arrangement whereby the children will remain in the family home and the parents will rotate in and out.

What is a Nesting Arrangement?

A nesting arrangement is a form of parenting access whereby the children remain in the family home and the parents live in that home when they are having their parenting time with the children, but live in a different residence during the other parent’s parenting time.  To this end, a nesting arrangement differs from that of a typical parenting arrangement because it is the parents who move back and forth between the family home, instead of the children shuttling back and forth between the homes of each parent.

Generally speaking, a nesting arrangement is a temporary parenting plan employed during the immediate post-separation period when financial and practical details are still being worked out by the separating couple. For example, the separating parties may agree to a nesting agreement while the parents are waiting for the family home to sell.

A nesting arrangement is a child focused parenting arrangement which eliminates the need for children to move between two different residences.  A nesting arrangements helps minimize the disruptions to the children’s day-to-day lives following their parent’s separation and gives the children a feeling of permanence – their environment does not change and they do not have to pack up and “move” on a regular basis.  That is to say, in a nesting arrangement, the children reside full time in their family home, continue attending the same school, continue to participate in the same extra-curricular activities, and continue to build relationships with their same friends.   As such, a nesting arrangement may help provide the children with some stability following the separation of their parents. A nesting arrangement may also be beneficial because it will allow the children to see that their parents can have a healthy and cooperative relationship even after their separation.

Notably, however, a nesting arrangement will only work for a short period of time as it requires great cooperation between the two separating parents.  That is, it takes a huge effort on the part of the parents to make a nesting arrangement work – grocery shopping, household chores, a sense of ownership over the residence, and new partners can all be flash points in this type of arrangement. Furthermore, it can be expensive to maintain two additional residences, where each parent lives when they do not have parenting time.

All in all, a nesting arrangement is not the solution for all couples, but for separating parents who can communicate and cooperate well enough to employ a nesting strategy, it may be a good short-term solution that can help establish a sense of security to their children during a very uncertain time.

Andrew Feldstein The Feldstein Family Law Group (FFLG) is one the largest family law firms that practices Family Law exclusively in Greater Toronto, with 10 lawyers and counting. The boutique law firm has won the Top Choice Award for Family Law™ in Toronto for the past eleven years (2007 to 2018 inclusive). Managing Partner Andrew Feldstein has been practicing family law for more than 20 years and frequently comments on Family Law issues through the media. The Feldstein Family Law Group offers vast written, video, and media resources on its website to those who find that they need to end their relationship.