Even if a divorce is amicable, it does not mean that it will be cheap. Even if parents can agree on child custody and a parenting plan, it does not mean the new arrangements will be affordable. Instead, Fairfax County child custody arraignments often come with additional costs.
What additional costs should be expected?
First, one home is now becoming two. This means that both parents will have to make sure that the child has what they need at both homes because the last thing parents want is to force the child to move every time they switch parents. This can make a child’s post-divorce life complicated, mentally taxing and make them feel like they do not really have a home. They may feel like a transient. As such, both parents will incur the cost not just to maintain their new Arlington County separate homes, but also their kid’s lives in those homes. This can be expenses, especially as parents now only have access to their own income and assets.
How can parents reduce costs?
A recent spin on child custody and parent plans is called nesting or birdnesting. This practice is where the Prince William County parents, instead of selling everything, splitting the revenue and splitting those remaining items, they keep the family home. The child then stays in that home, and it is the parents that shuttle in and out. This means that neither spouse will need to buy anything new for their child as everything they need will already be there, and any later incurred costs can be split.
Is there a way to make nesting even more affordable?
Yes. If the parents are amicable, can get along with each other and are effective communicators, they can share living expenses as well. This can be done by sharing one apartment where they live when they are not at the Louduon County family home. Alternatively, if there is room on the family property, when the parenting is not caring for the child, they can live in a mother-in-law suite, garage apartment or similar dwelling on the property. In all of these scenarios, both spouses would share the costs, similar to when they were married, but can still maintain a separate life.
Is this a long-term solution?
Except for those truly rare Washington, D.C., metro area divorcees that still love each other, but are not in-love with each other and those who truly want to not uproot any part of their child’s life, nesting is a short-term, transition fix. During the nesting phase of the divorce, the children have time to adjust to parents not parenting together, without uprooting their lives. It also allows the parents to save up money for the eventual transition into to fully, separate lives. And, if the real estate market crashes, it also allows for time for the property value to raise, giving the couple more money to use for their new, separate lives. Most experts believe that nesting should rarely last longer than six months.