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Nesting – An Alternative to a Clean Break Divorce

You may be contemplating divorce at the moment and there are lots of things to consider, especially when it comes to the residence of your children.  

If your home is in an area where the cost of living is rocketing, the sums may not add up to enable you and your partner to re-house in a way that would provide you both with an substantial amount of contact with your children.

Following a divorce, the courts are obliged to try and create a clean break between you and your ex. Historically this has meant the children’s primary carer, usually their mother, has had a greater share of capital to provide housing.

Clean breaks have often led to the other partner losing contact with the children and ironically, the primary carer is left in a property that is hard to maintain as they are unable to work.

This could put you off making the decision to divorce. However there is now another option out there: nesting.


Nesting is an idea that has come from New York where house prices have been on the increase.

Couples with children have decided to move in and out of their former home, which they deem the children’s home, so that the children’s lives are not disrupted. The couple also rent out a small studio flat which each lives in when they are not with the children.

This does not create a clean break between the couples, but it is worth considering in a world where both parents want to be equally involved with their children.

The courts are actively promoting different ways of reaching amicable settlements following divorce and this is an idea worth considering, but it will require you to accept that whatever you do following a divorce, you remain joint parents.

A solution similar to the New York ‘nesting’ concept may be in the whole family’s interest and children in particular benefit from stability.

Slater and Gordon family law solicitors represent parents going through a divorce or separation. Children law issues are often emotionally charged, so we work to avoid conflict and reach an amicable solution through negotiation where possible.

Liz Cowell is a senior divorce lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.

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