After your divorce has been filed, you and your spouse should discuss your living arrangement. Do you continue living in the marital home together, should one person move out, or is there another alternative?
Many couples getting a divorce can’t move on until final decisions have been made regarding asset division. Often times, couples need to sell the marital home, or receive their share of the equity from the marital home before they can commit to their housing future.
As Michigan requires a 6 month wait period before couples with children can complete their divorce, it may be too difficult for parties to remain living in the marital home together for 6 months or more.
You and your spouse may consider a nesting arrangement. What is nesting? Nesting is an arrangement wherein the children remain in the home, and you and your spouse take turns living in the marital home. You and your spouse go back and forth, moving between two residences while the children remain stationary in the marital home.
A nesting arrangement maintains the children’s routine, and providing consistency for the children. It allows the children to stay in the home they are accustomed to, remain in the same school district, and stay near their friends while the divorce is pending.
Nesting can be a good alternative for some families and can be a disaster for others. If you and your spouse are involved in an emotionally charged divorce, nesting allows for the parties to have time with the children in the marital home, without the other party being present, and gives the parties space and privacy.
Before engaging in a nesting arrangement, you should obtain a written agreement in advance, addressing the common issues that arise. A written agreement helps the nesting arrangement to go smoothly if your written agreement takes into consideration the following:
• BOUNDARIES/PRIVACY: You and your spouse must clearly establish boundaries by deciding where you and your spouse will sleep when it’s you or your spouse’s turn to stay at the marital home. Often times one party will take the master bedroom, while the other party takes a spare room, or basement. The agreement should also state that each shall refrain from going into the other’s bedroom during their time in the marital home.
• PERSONAL ITEMS: The parties should commit to respecting the other’s personal items remaining in the home.
• BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS: Typically, a nesting agreement states significant others are prohibited in the marital home during the pendency of the divorce. After all, should the children be subjected to significant others already?
• FOOD: You and your spouse should agree as to who will purchase the food, or how will the food expense be divided.
• MORTGAGE AND UTILITIES: You and your spouse should agree how the mortgage payment and utility costs will be divided.
A nesting arrangement works well for many couples, as it allows for each party to have equal parenting time with the children. The largest downfall to a nesting arrangement is that each party must incur additional housing costs, as the nesting arrangement requires both parties to have another place to live during other parent’s time in marital home. This can be a financial burden for some parties.
And the final question you should ask is will your children be better with a nesting arrangement, or will it be better for your children if one of you move out of the marital home now and establish a residence somewhere else.
Housing issues while a divorce is ongoing is a difficult challenge and decisions must be considered carefully. If you would like to learn more about nesting, contact SCHMITT LAW, PLLC.
At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we understand that filing for divorce can be an emotional and confusing experience. That’s why we are committed to providing personalized service to each client we represent, and will be with you through this difficult journey. At Schmitt Law, PLLC we encourage clients to take a more collaborative approach to divorce that promotes positive communication and cooperation. Through mediation or the collaborative divorce process, Laurie guides her clients through amicable divorce settlements so they can move forward with their life. To discuss your circumstances and legal options, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation. Or contact us online here to arrange a consultation. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.