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Helping children gain stability after a divorce

Some parents in Florida who are getting a divorce may have heard of the practice of nesting, or birdnesting, in which parents rotate in and out of the family home while the children continue living there. The idea behind it is that it gives children the stability to adjust to divorce, and experts say it often works. However, there are a few caveats.

Most parents cannot afford to maintain three households between them, so usually, they also have a small studio apartment that they take turns living in as well. For nesting to work, parents must get along well, but this situation may create conflict over the long term even when the divorce is an amicable one. The arrangement may also lead children to believe their parents are working toward reconciliation and can actually create anxiety as they wonder what it will be like to divide their time between two households. Experts recommend that nesting go on for no longer than three to six months.

There are also other ways that parents can help their children adjust, such as taking steps to avoid disrupting their routine as much as possible. People should try to keep their children in the same school, agree to a consistent set of expectations between households, encourage the kids to keep up relationships with family members and avoid arguing when the children are present.

Parents may want to work with their attorneys to create a detailed parenting plan that addresses when the children will spend time with each person. Individuals may want to agree on using online scheduling tools or methods for resolving conflict instead of having to go back to court. Even if ex-spouses cannot agree on a plan and must proceed to litigation, they should try to co-parent afterward with the best interests of their children as their priority.

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