Minimizing stress for your children while separating – is nesting for you? 

If you have an amicable relationship with the partner you are separating from, one way to minimize stress for your children is to enter into a living arrangement called “nesting.”

What is it? 

It is a living arrangement where the children remain living in the family home full-time and each parent takes turns living with the children in shifts. 

How to Nest 

If the other parent agrees to nest, you will need to agree on a parenting schedule and you will likely need to acquire and maintain at least one secondary residence for the off-duty parent to live. However, sometimes both parents are able to live with their respective family members while they are off-duty. 


A nesting arrangement is not suitable for every family. If the parents are disagreeable or even hostile to one another, a nesting arrangement can lead to further conflict. One point of contention that Family lawyers often see is disagreement over the level of maintenance of the family home. For example, if one parent likes a very clean home and the other parent does not care for that, conflict can arise. 

Nesting requires significant communication and cooperation between parents. 


If you feel that nesting could be manageable, there can be numerous benefits: 

  1. it maintains stability and consistency for the children;
  2. it acts as a transitional tool; and 
  3. it is cost-effective.


It can be very difficult to maintain stability for the children while separating. Nesting allows the children to continue their daily routine in the community and neighborhood they have become accustomed to. 

Transitional Tool 

It is likely that disagreement between two parents will eventually arise. There is a reason you separated in the first place and disagreement was probably one of the contributing factors. While some families are successful in maintaining a nesting arrangement long-term, it is not achievable for most families. 

For families that want to do nesting but don’t think they can maintain it long-term, it’s a great tool to transition the children into separation. It allows the children to mentally digest the separation of their parents without having their own routines turned upside down at the same time. 


Often when parents separate, they each obtain a residence that can accommodate themselves and the children. In a nesting arrangement, parents only need to maintain the family home and obtain a second residence that accommodates one parent. 

For example, in Kelowna, the average rent for a two-bedroom home is $2,200 whereas the average rent for a one-bedroom home is $1,700. A Kelowna family that obtains a one-bedroom apartment as the second residence would save approximately $500. 

Further, household costs are lower while nesting as there is no need to buy a second set of items or furniture for the children. Even if nesting is not long-term, having a few months to budget the cost of the second set of items is likely preferable to having to buy them immediately. 

About Shanna Kean

Lawyer – Kelowna

Upon graduating law school, I joined Connect as an articling student and worked under the mentorship of Alex Boland. I was then called to the Bar and have remained working at Connect as a lawyer.