Experienced South Florida


“Nesting” is a creative living arrangement focused on the wellbeing of children of parents who separate or divorce. The inspiration is the behavior of actual bird parents when caring for their hatchlings. The chicks remain in their secure home nest while their mother and father take turns away from the nest gathering food for the babies. One guarding the nest, the other foraging. Children anchored in place, parents coming and going.

What exactly is nesting?

In the human nesting model, the children continue to live in the family home while the separated or divorced parents alternate caring for them there. Instead of the kids moving between the new homes of their parents as in traditional custody and visitation schedules, the parents living arrangements revolve around the priority of the children staying in their family home.

Parents are quite creative. Often, they each secure a new residence from which they come and go between times living with the kids. Sometimes they secure one new home or apartment that they share on an alternating basis. Or a parent may live with their own parents or extended family, or otherwise with roommates when not parenting in their former family home.

Another option is to create separate living space (like a mother-in-law apartment) within the family home for a parent when not parenting.

Nesting may be brief such as only during the divorce proceedings or for a period after divorcing. For some families, birdnesting may work well on an ongoing basis.

Pros and cons of nesting

The hope for nesting parents is that the children continue to benefit from direct parenting at home by each parent, promoting feelings of security and continuity. The kids can keep their routines, friends and schools despite the fundamental change in their parents’ relationship.

But challenges obviously will arise.

Nesting is likely to work better when the parents are amicable, able to communicate and negotiate through differences. It may not be a good idea for a couple that is in a state of high conflict or where difficult issues exist like substance abuse, controlling behavior, untreated mental illness, abuse, neglect or violence.

Sometimes nesting may not produce the hoped-for impact on the kids. For example, they may need something that feels more like a fresh start or a clean break from the predivorce living situation.

Legal support

Enlisting the advice and help of an experienced family lawyer can influence the success or failure of nesting. An attorney can provide legal counsel about issues related to expenses and home ownership. They can help the client negotiate the terms of a nesting arrangement, which could be the subject of an agreement between the parties or incorporated into a marital settlement.


The LAW OFFICES OF FORREST & Forrest, PLLC represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale in high-asset divorce matters. Daniel Forrest is board-certified family lawyer and mediator serving the South Florida area.

  • The Florida Bar | Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
  • AV Preeminent | Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings
  • Super Lawyers | Rising Star | Daniel Forrest | SuperLawyers.com
  • Avvo Rating | 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Family