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06 June 2022

Is a nesting arrangement a good idea?

In this video, special counsel Craig Turvey discusses nesting arrangements: what are they, how do they work and are they a good idea for you and your ex-spouse?

In this video, special counsel Craig Turvey discusses nesting arrangements: what are they, how do they work and are they a good idea for you and your ex-spouse?


Hi. My name is Craig Turvey, and I’m special counsel at Cooper Grace Ward in the Family Law Work Group.

What is nesting?

A nesting arrangement is where the focus is on the children and keeping them in the former matrimonial home. So, whereas in a normal separation, it’s the parents that move into separate residences and the children move back and forth between the residences, with a nesting arrangement the children stay in the family home. It’s the parents who move in and out. So, that can either be, for example, the parents might lease a one bedroom unit nearby, and the parent who’s not spending time with the children will move into that unit, while the parent who’s spending time with them will be in the house with the children and then it will flip. When it’s now the parent’s time to spend time with the kids, they’ll go back into the house and the other parent moves into the unit or alternatively, depending what your support systems are or what your financial position is, sometimes people, parents will just have entirely separate residences. So, there will be three effectively. One where the children are residing and each parent will have their own separate residence.

Is nesting a good idea?

It depends. If you have a very amicable relationship with the other parent it can work. So if, for example, you, it’s really important to set very clear boundaries. So, if the relationship is good, if you both are on the same page in terms of, right, well, before we move out of the family home, for example, each weekend or whatever the arrangement is, the parent will have stocked up the fridge or washed all the dishes or clean the floors or whatever those sorts of things that you might think, Oh, well, that’s trivial. Well, it’s not because we often get complaints from clients who then say, well, I have a nesting arrangement. They left the apartment. It was a complete mess. I had to do everything, et cetera, et cetera. And the relationship deteriorates. So, it only really works if you have a good relationship and you’ve got some very clear boundaries about how it’s all going to practically operate. A lot of the time, though, people have separated, emotions are running high, people are upset. It’s a stressful situation for everyone. So, it’s for a lot of people, not an appropriate arrangement. It causes more conflict and there needs to be a lot of communication between parents. If you’re going to have a nesting arrangement, if you’re living in separate residences and the children are just coming back and forth, that’s easier for the parents. Perhaps not so much for the children, but at least there’s you don’t need to have a guide and an agreement in terms of the boundaries that need to be set and those types of things.

If you’re considering a nesting arrangement or you might want to have a talk about what the pros and cons of that might be, please contact me or one of the other family lawyers at Cooper Grace Ward.

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This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.

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Key contacts

Justine Woods
Leeann Murphy
Special Counsel
Craig Turvey
Special Counsel

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