Pennsylvania parents who are considering options for custody in a divorce might want to consider an arrangement known as "nesting". This is a joint custody arrangement in which children continue living in the family home while the parents take turns living there.
One couple who spent alternating weeks in their home with their children and in a small rented apartment said they felt the arrangement helped provide their children with stability and an adjustment period after the divorce. That arrangement eventually ended, after one parent found a partner, but it lasted for a year and a half. The parents switched to a joint custody arrangement in which the children moved between their households, but they reported that the transition time had helped their children adjust and had also given them sympathy for their children's challenges in constantly changing residences.
There are challenges that are specific to parents in these circumstances as well. First, it is imperative that they be able to cooperate in order for nesting to work. Some areas may cause conflict, such as finances and chores. For children, seeing their parents work together has its advantages and disadvantages. It is good for them see a healthy co-parenting relationship and their parents' dedication to their well-being, but the arrangement may also make it difficult for children to accept the divorce.
A nesting arrangement may be part of a larger settlement. Parents might want to consider family mediation to iron out any conflicts around custody and visitation. Mediation may be helpful whether parents plan to try nesting, traditional joint custody or an arrangement in which one has primary physical custody and the other has visitation time. The aim of mediation is to reach a compromise in contrast to the adversarial environment of litigation.