If you have read anything about divorce and child custody over the past few years, you may have heard about nesting. This is a type of co-parenting arraignment where you share child custody in the same home, usually the home where the couple spent most of their time.
Unlike in a traditional co-parenting arraignment, nesting requires the parents to travel in and out of the child’ life, rather than the child going back and forth between the two parents’ homes.
The goal is to minimize the child’s exposure to the stress and disruption of the divorce.
Nesting focuses on sharing the family home, but what it looks like for your family can vary. You can share the family home or a cheaper home within the child’s school district and neighborhood. You could also choose to share the second property as well.
For example, a 2- or 1-bedroom apartment that each parent lives in when they are not parenting. For larger properties, the parents may just stay in another wing of the home or dwelling unit on the property, like a garage apartment.
Does North Carolina allow nesting?
Yes, because there is no state law that prohibits it. However, the requirements for a legal separation and divorce can affect the feasibility of nesting.
First, both soon-to-be ex-spouses must live in different homes for at least one year and a day before they can file for a divorce.
This could conflict with a nesting arrangement.
At least one spouse must intend to permanently separate from the other spouse. This means that nesting cannot be used as a trial separation. Therefore, if the intention is to nest and divorce, make sure that is clearly communicated, preferably, in writing.
One way to make sure that you can both nest and divorce without causing issues with either is to execute a separate agreement. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of your nesting agreement, including duration, parenting schedule, expense division, home keeping responsibilities, rules on behaviors and communication, future housing arrangements, etc.
While not required in North Carolina, a separation agreement can make the divorce process much easier and help with your nesting arrangement.