Divorce and Nesting/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on December 26, 2013

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The Boston Globe recently had an article entitled “Separated but living under one roof–for now” penned by Karen Baskin. The discussion centered around a new phenomenon known as “nesting”. Nesting refers to the sharing of a residence by newly divorced couples who wish to maintain a joint residence for the sake of their children. The concept of nesting is described as being based on the premise that while parents may break up families do not. Children deserve the stability of going to the same school, having the same friends, etc even after divorce has been finalized for their parents.

Nesting is clearly not meant for everyone. It will not work for combative ex-spouses nor for couples who divorced for reasons such as infidelity. Tom Denton, a school guidance counselor said this about nesting: “The best thing [divorcing parents] can do for a child is to minimize the disruption to their life.” As one ex-wife noted, nesting involves great communication between the co-parents but is is for informational purposes and not for seeking approval. Nesting is a short-term fix and often helps in getting over the economic difficulty that sets in following divorce. A mediator in the Boston area, Barbara Kellman, summed up nesting in the following manner: “What matters most is if parents can get along well enough to co-parent.”

Nesting is yet another way ex-spouses try to assure that the divorce will not unduly burden their children. The way this is achieved is not as important as the fact that such strategies need to be sought and implemented for the most innocent victims of divorce-i.e. children.

For Jewish families who follow halacha, nesting is not an option to consider as they can no longer live under one roof after divorce. However nesting is a reminder that divorcing families need to consider novel ways to ensure that the children are not unduly impacted upon by their parents’ divorce.

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