In the modern economy, “nesting” has an entirely different meaning. With the dismal housing climate still influencing the decisions of many New York parents, a growing number of couples are continuing to live together even though they are in the midst of legal separation or divorce. Although this arrangement may buck traditional divorce trends, couples who are using the format say they are better prepared to manage their family’s child custody needs; instead of investing in two homes, they are living in one. Spouses can continue living in the home while enjoying their own separate spaces, which avoids upheaval for kids and provides additional financial security.

Among the downsides of divorce and legal separation is, of course, the negative economic impact. Separated members of a couple find themselves paying for two sets of their traditional amenities; sharing is admittedly easier and cheaper. Children can benefit from legal separation that involves nesting because their parents are better prepared to deal with financial crises.

Further, children benefit from being able to stay in the home in which they have been reared. After all, the children did not choose the divorce, say divorce experts – the parents did. Why should their children be punished by being forced to relocate away from their friends, schools and neighborhoods. This middle ground allows parents to separate but still remain involved in their children’s lives. It removes the need for “staying together for the sake of the children,” according to many family advocates. Co-parenting arrangements may be easier to administer in this situation as well.

It is important to remember that many of those who choose to “nest” are legally separated – what they experience is not divorce. The key to surviving such cohabitation, according to experts, is good communication. Parents must set clear boundaries for their own behavior, and they should approach the relationship with an attitude similar to that of a business partner.

Couples who think nesting might suit their needs may benefit from the expertise of a qualified family attorney, who can help them learn more about the implications and benefits of legal separation. Those professionals can give couples more information about their legal rights and child custody options.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Separated but living under one roof — for now” Kara Baskin, Dec. 25, 2013