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Property division and nesting: How do they work together?

After divorce, in an effort to keep things as normal as possible for children, some parents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are turning to the living arrangement known as nesting. This is not something that a judge will order. Rather, it is a personal choice made by parents and the arrangements have to be carefully put together through out-of-court negotiations. There are many issues that can arise from such an arrangement, particularly where property division is involved.

What is nesting? Nesting is where children reside in the family home full time, and parents will take turns living there during their set custody times. When a parent is not in the home, that person will live in his or her own personal home or apartment. This means that there is no shuffling around of the children or their things. It is the parents who have to move.

Nesting is, by no means, an easy arrangement. However, it has shown to be beneficial to children as it keeps their lives more stable. This is why people are willing to at least try it.

How does property division work in a nesting arrangement? Financial accounts will be split like they normally would in divorce. The biggest issue comes with the house. Who is responsible for making payments, maintenance and to whom does the property inside the home belong? In many cases, the home and much of its contents will remain in the names of both parties as they both still technically live there, which means that a financial settlement will have to be worked out so that each party is paying his or her fair share toward the mortgage, insurance and upkeep.

Having a property division settlement that includes sharing property does not work for everyone. For those who cannot make such an arrangement work, nesting will probably not be the best way to go. Parents in Pennsylvania who are willing to give it a shot can, with the assistance of legal counsel, negotiate terms which each feels is fair. If, down the line, they feel that nesting is not working out for them, adjustments to their custody arrangements can be made and the property fairly divided.

Source: The New York Times, "After Divorce, Giving Our Kids Custody of the Home", Beth Behrendt, May 30, 3017

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