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Options for sharing child custody

California parents who are getting a divorce might wonder what type of custody arrangement would suit them and their children. There is a growing trend toward joint custody as recognition grows that children benefit from building relationships with both parents. However, joint custody can create instability for children as they have to move back and forth between their parents' homes. In some cases, a solution to that is an arrangement called "nesting".

Here, it is the parents and not the children who move between homes. The children remain in the family home while parents alternate staying there. One couple who chose nesting but could not afford to buy a second home rented a small apartment nearby that they took turns living in when not staying with the children. This arrangement lasted 18 months until one parent found another partner. The parents said they felt the nesting period had helped their children feel a sense of stability. It had also helped the parents understand some of the emotional and logistical difficulties their children would face in moving between residences when they switched to a traditional joint custody arrangement.

There are some potential disadvantages to nesting. It is important that parents get along well for the arrangement to work. Tensions could arise over housekeeping or finances

These are among the elements parents may need to consider as they negotiate child custody. If parents do not get along well enough for a nesting arrangement, they might still want to consider shared custody. Parents who are concerned about conflict arising from this arrangement may be able to work out those concerns in a parenting agreement. If a custody dispute arises, parents may want to try to work it out with the help of their attorneys rather than going to court.

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