“Nesting” During Divorce: What Is It and Is It Right for Your Family?

A divorced woman settling into a new home. I haven’t exactly been quiet the past few months about getting divorced last year. It was initially challenging to discuss in a forum as public as this one, but now that I’m moving out of that phase and fully into my new life, I feel I have a responsibility to discuss it. It’s amazing how many people have contacted me regarding my experiences because they are going through something similar.

The decision to divorce is never one that is taken lightly, and when you have children, things are further complicated. My ex-husband and I agreed that we wanted our children’s lives free from complications. One way we did this was by getting creative with our living situation.

We decided that while we figured out what we were doing while we were separated, the children would remain in their familiar family home, and he and I would be the ones to switch back and forth.

I thought I came up with this solution, but there’s a term for this, and it’s called “nesting.”

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, is nesting the right thing for you to do, too? I’ll break down some of the questions we were asked and the pros and cons below.

1. Where do we go when we aren’t “home?”

Pro: We were fortunate that both sets of our parents lived locally, and they had no issues letting each of us crash at their respective homes while we figured out our next steps.
Con: If you don’t have family nearby who will let you live with them for an extended period, it could be expensive to pay for two homes, especially when your finances are tied up in a divorce.

2. Do we have a functional enough relationship to share one home?

Pro: My ex and I didn’t agree much (it seemed!), but we wanted the best for our children. We were willing to put some of our comfort and schedules aside to keep the kids from going back and forth. We verbally agreed on how the house would look when we returned home (i.e., kids bathed, laundry and dishes done, garbage taken out, etc). No one wants to come back to a mess.
Con: Don’t do this if there is a history of verbal, emotional, or physical domestic violence concerns or abuse.

3. Do we have a plan for the future?

It isn’t easy to do this long-term. We were able to keep it up for about six months with very few issues, but it’s exhausting both physically and emotionally. In our divorce agreement, I had 18 months to find new housing and vacate the family home while my ex bought me out. Ultimately, we are two different people who choose to end any possibility of a romantic relationship. We compromised for a long time but did not want to share one home long-term. We knew it wouldn’t be the best decision for us or our children.
I purchased a new home within about 30 days of our divorce. I can’t imagine a better place to begin my new life with my children.

General pros to nesting.

1. The children remain in the same home while the adults figure out the next steps.
2. Expenses for the children are more streamlined (i.e., groceries)
3. You don’t have to worry about putting your home on the market right away (or at all if one party is buying the other one out).

General cons to nesting.

1. Your stuff will be in multiple locations (I was sleeping at four different places some weeks).
2. Sometimes, you come home to a place that isn’t as clean as you left it.
3. You’re always compromising. (But that’s life when parenting, right?)

If you decided to nest during your divorce, I’d love to hear about your experience!

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Charity is a newly-single mom of three with a son born in 2012 and identical twin daughters born in 2017. She lives in Monroe and has been writing for Fairfield County Mom since 2019. Charity is a full-time speech-language pathologist, working with patients all across the lifespan. She is also an intuitive medium. In her life before children, Charity was a professional stage manager, working in theatres throughout Fairfield County. Charity is passionate about her family, career, ballet (which she began at 39 years old!), musical theatre, and her amazingly-supportive friends as she begins a new chapter in her life. She firmly believes that you are never too old to stay stuck in a situation that is causing you pain. You can follow her on Instagram at @charityferris.


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