“Nesting” or “bird’s nest” custody is a joint custody arrangement where the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns moving in and out of the home into separate residences.
In other words, the parents are “visiting” the children instead of the children visiting the parents. The children’s schedules, schools, friends and routines can be maintained without the stress of adjusting to a custody schedule as soon as their parents separate.
Nesting arrangements are often used as the first step in moving toward divorce, allowing the couple to physically separate before they are ready to resolve disposition of the family home, finances and custody. Nesting allows a family to “try out” a custody schedule to consider in their final settlement.
Although nesting can be very beneficial to families in transition to divorce, it is important to have the nesting agreement in writing to corroborate the separation date and detail the custody schedule, responsibilities and duration of the nesting period.