Who gets custody of the kids? Will it be shared equally, or will one parent have sole custody? Where will the children live after a divorce? When will the non-custodial parent be allowed to have visitation? These are all incredibly important decisions that must be decided before a divorce can be finalized. As Grey’s Anatomy star Kevin McKidd and his soon-to-be ex-wife navigated their way through the divorce process these questions were at the center. In order to achieve the best outcome for the entire family, they decided to create what is known as a “nesting agreement.” A nesting agreement can be a great compromise for parents who are in mutual agreement about their divorce and want to make sure their children’s’ best interests are met.

Determining What is Best for the Children Affected By Divorce

One of the most difficult times in a child’s life is when their parents decide to split up. Divorce does not exist in a vacuum – children’s lives can be turned upside down when parents end their relationship. Part of the divorce process involves making custody arrangements for any children who will be affected by the separation. When these arrangements are made parents must do what is in the best interests of those children. In most cases, this will involve making sure that children remain in frequent and continuing contact with both parents. A common solution is agreeing to share joint physical and legal custody.

Agreeing to joint custody of the children is a great start, but it is just the beginning of the conversation. Where will the children live? Who will be responsible for transporting the kids to school, work, and other activities? When can the non-custodial parent visit? What happens when the parents decide to live more than a few minutes apart? A nesting agreement can be a great way to achieve the best interests of the children and minimize the disruption caused by the divorce.

What is a Nesting Agreement?

Nesting agreements focus on disrupting the lives of children affected by divorce as little as possible. The main component of a nesting agreement is keeping the children in one central location. Instead of uprooting the kids and carting them back and forth between parents’ homes each week, the kids remain at one single location. Instead of the kids traveling back and forth, the parents go to the kids.

This is essentially how a nesting agreement would work. Parent A and Parent B agree to share joint custody of their child, C. The parents do not get rid of their shared family home during the divorce process. Instead, it is maintained as the primary home for the child. Parent A and Parent B each maintain their own separate homes. When Parent A has primary custody, Parent A lives at the family home with the child. Parent B remains at his/her separate residence during this period. When Parent B has primary custody, Parent B lives at the family home with the child. Parent A remains at his/her separate residence during this period. The end result of this setup is that the child has a stable life. This is a great way to minimize the negative effects of the divorce for the children. The parents, who made the decision to split up the family, suffer these negative consequences of the split, rather than the child.

Deciding to Use a Nesting Agreement

When parents decide to use a nesting agreement they make the important decision to put the children’s best interests first. In doing this, parents will have to put their egos and own personal wishes aside. The terms of the divorce must be amicable. It is difficult to achieve favorable terms when a parent is worried about “winning” the divorce. The child’s best interests must be the primary goal. When you can achieve a custody arrangement that disrupts the child’s life as little as possible, the child will benefit.

If you are interested in learning about nesting agreements do not hesitate to contact Fernandez & Karney. Our child custody attorneys offer a free consultation and would be happy to sit down and discuss your situation. We will review your case, explain the benefits of a nesting agreement, and answer the questions you may have.