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9th October 2023

Navigating amicable divorce: nesting

Navigating amicable divorce: nesting
Samuel Isaac
Samuel Isaac
Trainee Solicitor

Divorce, while often necessary, is undeniably one of life's most challenging transitions, especially for children caught in the crossfire. 

In recent years, a unique arrangement called 'nesting' has emerged as a means for divorcing couples to minimise the emotional impact on their children. The concept is simple: the divorcing couple maintains their former matrimonial home, allowing the children to stay there, while the parents alternate living in the house, and otherwise live in small rented properties elsewhere for the rest of the time. 

In a recent article in the Times, broadcaster and influencer Anna Whitehouse described how she is currently trying this arrangement with her ex-husband Matt Farquharson. While this arrangement has its advantages, it's certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Nesting presents a practical short-term fix, providing children with stability by allowing them to reside in a familiar environment, sparing them the jarring experience of moving between parents' houses. Moreover, it permits parents to consolidate resources, opting for one larger house instead of maintaining two smaller residences. 

As Matt Farquharson explains, ‘Selling would mean a two-bedroom flat each and kids out of catchment for the comp up the road where their friends will go. It would mean them shuffling between flats every weekend and sharing a room again. All manageable things that others have done before, and none a disaster, but maybe we could find another way.'

The success of nesting hinges on the divorcing parties' ability to maintain an amicable relationship, a feat not every couple can achieve. Practical issues such as where to store private belongings and how to manage personal space can often become tripwires, leading to tension and disputes.

Crucially, it's essential to recognise that nesting is not a permanent solution. The court, aiming to foster financial independence for both parties, will never order such an arrangement indefinitely. 

Nevertheless, nesting serves as a promising glimpse into how amicable divorce might manifest in the short term. It underscores the importance of open communication, compromise, and a shared commitment to prioritising the well-being of the children during this tumultuous time. As Farquharson admits, ‘It may not be financially sustainable. New relationships will add complications. But, for now, it works.’

For those seeking an amicable divorce, Hunters offers an innovative solution through its Resolve service. Embracing the ethos of "one couple, one lawyer," Resolve facilitates the divorce process with minimal conflict and lower costs by meeting with both parties and finding an amicable financial resolution together. This service attempts to foster an environment where disputes can be resolved sensibly and respectfully and has been a positive experience for those who have taken part so far.

While nesting might not be the ultimate solution for all divorcing couples, it exemplifies the potential for collaborative, child-centred divorce strategies. As we continue to navigate the complexities of family law, services like Hunters' Resolve provide a vital step in the right direction, offering hope and support to couples seeking a peaceful transition through divorce.