A gentle alternative to traditional child custody

Like many parents, your primary concern when you decided to divorce was the well-being of your children. As confident as you are that the marriage is over, you also know that your soon-to-be former spouse is a good parent whose presence in the lives of your children will be a positive influence.

However, you also understand the challenges of co-parenting after divorce. Perhaps you have your own memories of shuffling between your parents' homes and trying to remember if you left your book report at Mom or Dad's house. If you want to avoid this added confusion for your children at a time when they may already be confused and distracted, you may consider nesting as a different way to handle child custody arrangements.

How nesting works

Nesting is not always practical as a permanent arrangement, but some families have found that it is a gentler way of transitioning into the separate lives of a divorced family. In nesting, the children remain in the family home, and the parents alternate living there according to the custody arrangement. This saves children from having to have separate belongings in each of their parents' houses. Children also retain the security of their own rooms, neighborhood friends and school.

While these may sound like convincing benefits, it is important that you weigh the potentially negative factors that come with nesting after a divorce, for example:

  • It is expensive to maintain separate living arrangements for both you and your ex as well as paying for the house.
  • You may have difficulty handling the emotional element of sharing a space with your former spouse.
  • You and your former spouse may continue to deal with the same issues that damaged your relationship in the first place.
  • There may be conflicts about who is responsible for household chores, maintenance, groceries and other necessary tasks.
  • The arrangement could break down quickly if you or your spouse begin a new romantic relationship.

There may also be legal ramifications to nesting, such as the effect it may have on spousal support, tax obligations when you finally sell the home, and the Ohio court's perception of your status as separated if you still share the same residence. However, if the idea of nesting is appealing to you for the benefits it offers your children, you may find answers to your questions and recommendations from an attorney who is experienced in the laws governing Ohio family courts.

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