Parents contemplating divorce should be familiar with the phrase nesting agreement. A nesting agreement, when appropriate, may be a creative means of minimizing any disruption to the children during a divorce. If you have minor children and you are contemplating or are in the midst of a divorce in Illinois, you may want to consider whether a nesting agreement is an option for your unique situation.
Traditionally, following a divorce, each parent has his or her own residence. The children alternate between the homes.
A nesting agreement is a co-parenting agreement that allows the children to reside in the marital home continuously while the parents rotate in and out of the marital home for their parenting time. Parents may share an apartment near the marital home where they reside when it is not their turn for parenting. Alternatively, parents may spend their off time with friends or relatives or simply in another location within the marital home. The defining feature of a nesting agreement is that each parent is permitted some time to enjoy exclusive parenting time in the marital home with the children.
While nesting agreements are appealing, there are some key disadvantages. A successful nesting arrangement will require careful consideration of the financial, emotional and practical aspects.
A number of financial questions need to be answered for a nesting arrangement to be successful. A divorcing couple will have to determine who will be responsible for paying the household bills, such as the mortgage, utilities, and property taxes. If the spouses are also sharing an apartment, financial responsibility for the apartment will also have to be addressed. Issues such as who will get to deduct mortgage interest and property tax payments from their income taxes may also arise.
Whether child support will be paid by one spouse to the other is an important consideration. Regardless, the couple will also have to determine how expenses for the children will be allocated.
Apart from the financial considerations, are the emotional and practical considerations. Divorce is meant to separate two spouses, but in a nesting arrangement you are still sharing one or two households. Who will be responsible for the day to day upkeep such as cleaning, grocery shopping, and yard work. Will you and your spouse argue over these responsibilities?
Privacy is perhaps the biggest drawback. In nesting, you may not have any space that is completely private from your former spouse. New relationships may suffer to, as you share one or, perhaps two, dwellings with your former spouse.
A nesting arrangement can provide stability for the children. They are afforded the benefit of staying in the marital home without the need to transfer themselves and their belongings to a second home. This allows the children to stay in the same school, maintain their daily routines, and maintain their neighborhood friendships. Further, the children regularly enjoy parenting time with both parents.
It may be less expensive to keep the marital home and rent one small apartment (or stay with family and friends) rather than having two residences that are large enough to accommodate the children.
A nesting arraignment may also permit you to postpone the sale of the marital home until it is more financially advantageous to do so. For example, you may want to wait until the spring selling season to list the home for sale or until the market recovers from a downturn
If your children are nearing a significant milestone, such as graduating from middle school or high school, it may be worth considering a nesting agreement until the milestone is reached. Your options for housing may increase with your child beginning a new school within your current school district.
A successful nesting arrangement requires careful consideration of the all the details. You should talk with an Illinois child custody lawyer if you are considering a nesting agreement. Please contact an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer at the Goodman Law Firm to help you evaluate your options.
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