I recently met for the first time with a divorcing couple who were mediating a divorce settlement and also a custody plan for their children. With rare exceptions new divorce clients with children always state within the first three minutes of meeting “We only want to do what is best for our children.” Or “Our kids are the first priority”.
Within 30 minutes of those comments I generally begin to understand if those statements are true or false. I believe although the parents do intellectually want what is best for the kids those same parents cannot see past their own issues and agendas to view the proposed choices and options through the filter of their children. They respond and posture from an emotional and reactive personal place which is not prepared to currently parent, much less function as an adult. This is the point often when they begin to argue about the microwave, or custody of the dog and unfortunately, the fates of their children.
Parents need to determine where they each will live and more importantly where the children will live after the divorce. Money can be very tight and the prospect of each maintaining a space large enough to accommodate the kids is daunting. Plus the children are now required to shuttle back and forth between two homes. Honestly, kids cannot find their own gym bag in the morning. It is hard on kids to have to plan out a week in advance what they need and what they will want.
My recent clients truly did want was best for their children. I suggested they consider an option for a housing arrangement that I usually do not even bother to present because the parents would not be mature enough to commit to the success. “Nesting” arrangements have the children living permanently in one home. They do not shuttle between parents; rather the parents bear the burden of shuttling and stay in the home during their parenting time. The kids always sleep in the same bedroom, all their possessions are in one place, they have the shampoo they want and their physical life is as it was before the divorce, granted they may move once but from then on they have one address. Obviously their life are different but their dresser, clean or messy, is exactly the same.
Nesting provides a deep layer of security and stability, which is exactly what these kids need…now and for years to come.