Why Nesting Isn’t Always the Easiest Child Custody Solution
Children tend to do better when they have relationships with both parents after a divorce. One novel way to keep both parents involved after a split is to engage in nesting, which sees the child remain at home while the adults split time between the family home and another location. Although this may make life easier for the child, it may pose many challenges for parents.
Paying for Two Residences
At a minimum, you’ll likely be required to cover a share of any costs related to maintaining your family home after a divorce is finalized. For instance, you may be asked to pay for utilities used while you are there with your child or for any costs related to keeping your child fed, clothed, and entertained.
At the same time, you’ll also need to pay for a second place to live. In many locations, even a modest apartment can cost $1,000 or more per month, and that’s before utilities. There is also a possibility that you’ll be forced to live in a town or city many miles away from your child, which could further complicate efforts to be present in your child’s life.
Taking Care of Maintenance Issues
There is no guarantee that floors will be swept, dishes will be washed or that laundry will be done while you are away. There is also no guarantee that your child’s other parent will take care of other routine maintenance tasks designed to prevent the home from falling into disrepair. These tasks may include changing air filters or having HVAC components inspected at least once a year.
In some cases, it’s prudent to call an electrician, plumber, or other professional to make a repair. Of course, it can cost a significant amount of money to do so, and it may be money that you don’t have while trying to raise a child and cover your own legal and living costs. Therefore, in an effort to save money, attempts may be made to repair the issue without the help of a professional.
This may lead to additional damage or otherwise make the home unsuitable for a child to live in. Even if the home is safe to live in, a botched repair may make it harder to sell at your preferred list price. A New Jersey family law attorney may be able to help draft a nesting agreement that provides protocols to be followed if repairs are needed. The agreement may also stipulate who pays for any repairs or upgrades made to the property.
A Temporary Solution
As a general rule, nesting is meant to be a temporary child custody arrangement. For instance, you may decide to use the nesting model until the end of the current school year or until the end of a sports season. It may also be used to give yourself and your child time to transition from one living situation to the next.
If you and your spouse will both be moving into new homes after the divorce, it will take time to establish these residences. If you’re buying property, you’ll need time to settle the inspections, close the transaction, and get the home into a livable state. Nesting can provide a good transition while you and your spouse are getting your new places settled.
Depending on the structure of the divorce settlement, you or your spouse may ultimately gain possession of the marital property. If the home is going to stay with you or your spouse, nesting for a few months may provide stability for your child until ownership issues are settled.
If you need assistance with child custody or other matters, feel free to contact a New Jersey family law attorney at Morgenstern & Rochester by calling our Cherry Hill office at (856) 489-6200. You can also fill out our online contact form.