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The potential downsides of nesting as a custody plan

by | Mar 15, 2023 | Parenting Plans

Nesting is a child custody arrangement where the children stay in one home and the parents take turns living with them. This arrangement has gained popularity with Illinois parents in recent years as a way to minimize the disruption of divorce or separation on children. While nesting can work well for some families, it also has potential drawbacks that parents should be aware of before choosing this arrangement.


Nesting can be expensive, as it requires the parents to maintain three separate households: one for each parent and one for the children. This can include the cost of rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries and other expenses. Depending on the parent’s financial situation, this may not be feasible.

Limited privacy

Nesting requires the parents to share a home with their former spouse, which can be complicated by lingering feelings of resentment or anger. Maintaining boundaries and privacy can also be challenging, especially if the parents have different schedules or lifestyles.


It’s important for parents to know that nesting requires a great deal of coordination and communication between them to ensure that everyone knows where they are supposed to be at any given time. This can be difficult if the parents have busy schedules or live far apart.

Emotional toll

Nesting can be emotionally taxing for both the parents and the children. It can be difficult for the children to adjust to the back-and-forth of living with each parent, and it can be taxing for the parents to deal with the emotional strain of sharing a home with their former spouse.

Lack of closure

Among all available parenting plans, nesting has the potential to make it difficult for both the parents and the children to move on from the divorce or separation. Establishing a new routine or sense of normalcy can be hard when the family still lives in the same home.

Difficulty dating

Nesting can place obstacles in the parents’ efforts to move on and start new relationships, as it can be difficult to explain the living situation to potential partners. Bringing a new partner into the shared home can also be awkward.

Potential for conflict

Nesting requires a high level of cooperation and communication between the parents, which can be challenging if there is a history of conflict or disagreement. This arrangement can also create opportunities for the parents to argue or disagree about household responsibilities or parenting decisions.

Choosing the best custody arrangement

Nesting can be a viable option for some families, but it is important to consider the potential drawbacks carefully before choosing this arrangement. Parents should be aware of the financial, logistical and emotional tolls that nesting can take, and should be prepared to work together closely to make it successful. It is also vital to consider whether nesting is a sustainable solution for the family or simply a short-term solution to a difficult situation.

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