Will a Nesting Arrangement Work For My Family?


In this blog Director Elizabeth Fletcher discusses in what situations nesting arrangements can work well for families and what to think about before entering into such an arrangement.

Reading in the Times last weekend, about another example of a Nesting arrangement for children “Yes we are divorcing; no we are not sad” (article found here) made me think again about how this arrangement can increasingly work for separating families.  In the article, Anna Whitehouse known as  Mother Pukka on Instagram, explained how she and her husband had agreed that they had reached the end of the road for their marriage, but carefully worked out together how they will co-parent the children by each moving out of the house at different times.  One of the most important parts of what Anna Whitehouse and her husband achieved was the way in which they carefully thought out how they told the children about what was happening; how they did it as softly and carefully as they could, in a neutral environment (the spare room) and how the whole thing was as child focused as it could be.

Parents don’t always separate in the way that Anna has.  Sometimes it comes as a huge shock, or the conflict is already at such a high level that communication about these very important issues becomes very difficult.  However, where parents can focus together on the co-parenting role in a positive way, it can only benefit the children and their long-term relationships with each of their parents.

A nesting arrangement is one which enables the children to stay in the family home with their school, friends and existing life remaining the same while the parents move in and out of the house taking turns to care for the children.  It can work well when communication levels are high.  Of course in relationships where there are issues around control or high conflict, then arguments over domestic chores can only make a situation worse both for the children and for the parents.

When thinking about a co-nesting arrangement, the big things to think about are:

  1. Get a plan assembled as far as you can before presenting it to the children. This might be done either together at the kitchen table, or with a mediator or couples’ therapist.
  2. Think about whether you can still manage to co-exist with your ex-partner at least for half the time. This might be best done with a third party like a therapist or your lawyer.
  3. The better way to do this is to each have a separate place to go when not at the family home, rather than each shuttling between two properties. Is that affordable?  Maintaining three properties can be a lot for a family to manage.
  4. Present the plan to the children in a very positive way.

At least in the short term, these arrangements can be really positive if parents are in the frame of mind to make it work, if there are no issues around control or abuse and if it is affordable.  However, it is something that needs to be carefully thought through and is not for all families.

If you would like to understand more about nesting arrangements and how they might help you in your parenting arrangements, please contact Elizabeth Fletcher on T: 020 7420 5000 or E: ef@flip.co.uk.