112 - Could Nesting Be An Option For Your Divorce?
The process of divorce can be devastating to families—and especially to children. Even when parents do their best to smooth the transition, feelings of worry, resentment, and abandonment can result. When a single household suddenly becomes two, kids’ lives are upended with newly complicated schedules, constant packing and traveling, and separation from friends.
When Beth Behrendt and her husband Bill ended their 18-year marriage, they wanted to co-parent their three sons—ages 5, 9, and 12—in a way that would ease their stress. They chose a novel concept: Nesting—their kids remained in the family home, and Beth and Bill rotated in and out of the house to take care of them. In NESTING AFTER DIVORCE: Co-Parenting in the Family Home (Union Square & Co.; April 11, 2023), Behrendt offers the first step-by-step plan for nesting to help divorcing parents navigate the process. This prescriptive guide is based on her own family’s successful nesting experience; firsthand accounts from other nesting families; and advice from therapists, attorneys/mediators, and financial advisers.
Behrendt explores nesting’s many benefits: kids avoid the stress and anxiety of switching between two homes; parents don’t have to manage kids’ lives in two locations; one family home is cheaper to maintain than two that are large enough and sufficiently equipped; and it can allow for more time and money for each parent to pursue their own careers and interests. Nesting is a great option for many, but it won’t be right for everyone, so Behrendt provides guidance to decide if nesting is right for them.
Successful nesting requires planning and consideration, so Behrendt offers families a detailed and thorough roadmap for finding the right nesting model. She provides advice on reaching a parenting agreement, explaining divorce and the new living situation to the children, and communicating with family, friends, and teachers. She outlines the steps to assemble a nesting “team” of legal, financial, and mental health professionals; explains how to establish a trial period timeline, address challenges, and identify common milestones families may experience; and how to later transition out of nesting.
All divorcing parents hope to minimize emotional damage to their children. In NESTING AFTER DIVORCE, Behrendt offers an exciting, field-tested alternative to the traditional model.
Beth Behrendt is a freelance writer and divorced mother of three. She’s written articles about nesting for the New York Times and Psychology Today, is a regular contributor to Divorce Magazine, and has been a guest blogger for Laura Wasser’s It’s Over Easy website. Beth has shared her family’s nesting story as a guest on multiple podcasts including The Good Divorce, Divorce & Beyond, Divorcing Well, and Thank You, Heartbreak.