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Nesting as a form of joint custody

Some Kentucky parents who are getting a divorce and who are concerned about how it will affect their children might want to consider a practice called nesting. This involves joint custody, but children do not go back and forth between different parents' homes. Instead, the children remain in one home, and the parents alternate living there.

Nesting has advantages and disadvantages. It requires a high level of cooperation between parents, and that cooperation could break down once the divorce is underway and parents are dealing with financial realities. Chores or grocery shopping could also create tension. It might be expensive if both parents must maintain separate residences in addition to the home the children live in. Children may struggle to accept that their parents have actually broken up if they are all working together so cooperatively.

One couple got around the cost issue by renting one apartment for the parents to use when not living with the children. Their nesting arrangement lasted 18 months and came to an end when one parent found a new partner. The couple shifted to an arrangement in which the children moved between their homes, but they said they felt that nesting during the initial adjustment period after the divorce had been helpful. The parents also better understood the challenges in frequently changing households.

When facing a divorce, parents have a choice between negotiating child custody themselves with the help of their respective attorneys or going to court. In court, a judge will make a decision that is based on the best interests of the child. In negotiations, parents may be able to reach a solution that suits their family better. However, litigation may be a better choice if one parent is concerned about domestic abuse or another issue related to the other parent's access to the child.

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