What is a nesting arrangement?

The amicable guide to nesting arrangements

Originally published on 14th December 2021 at 11:17 AM

Reading time: 2 mins

If you’ve recently separated or divorced, you may have done some provisional research into the various co-parenting patterns people choose to adopt once they transition from parents to co-parents. You therefore may have come across the term ‘nesting’ and may be thinking ‘what is a nesting arrangement?’.

We’ve written our amicable guide to ‘nesting arrangements’ to answer this question for you, and to explore the various pros and cons of nesting arrangements in comparison to other co-parenting arrangement patterns available to you.

*It’s important to note that there is no set formula, and often a bespoke approach is the best option to cater for all your needs and your own custom schedules.

What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting refers to a parenting style whereby the parents ‘share’ the responsibility for bringing up their child(ren) despite being separated or divorced. This can involve joint problem solving with a common goal of raising your child(ren) to the best of your ability and setting aside any issues which may have caused the breakdown of your relationship as a couple. It’s therefore important that you are on the same page and able to communicate for this parenting style to work for you and your child(ren).

If you’ve recently separated or divorced, communication may be strained and it may be hard to move past the issues which have contributed to the breakdown of your relationship. There are many resources that can help with this, such as our blog on communication, or our co-parenting coaching sessions. If there has been a complete breakdown in communication, you might want to look into parallel parenting as an alternative parenting arrangement.

Common co-parenting arrangements:

Patterns where Parent B has:

  • Every other extended weekend and one night during the week
  • Every other weekend
  • Every weekend

Shared-care arrangements:

  • 3-4-4-3 (three days with Parent A, four days with Parent B, then four days Parent A, four days with Parent B)
  • 2-2-5-5 (Monday-Tuesday with Parent A, Wednesday-Thursday with Parent B, Friday-Tuesday Parent A, Wednesday-Sunday with Parent B, repeat)
  • Every other week
  • Nesting (the children stay in the house and the parents rotate)

For more tips on how to choose a childcare arrangement that works for you both, read our guide on childcare arrangements here.

*Remember, it’s not the amount of time you get to spend with your children that’s important, rather the quality of that time.

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What is a nesting arrangement?

A nesting arrangement refers to a co-parenting arrangement where the child(ren) remain in the family home and it’s the parents who rotate between the houses. It has earned its name from the notion of birds nesting. Ie. one bird leaves the nest to search for food whereas the other remains with the offspring and the parents then rotate.

This style of childcare arrangement has various pros and cons, however, it’s usually adopted as a temporary solution during the interim period after a couple separate, before they find a more permanent arrangement. Nesting can alleviate some of the provisional uncertainty and stress children may experience when their parents first separate, as they remain in the family home, and their parents rotate. This arrangement can often feel intuitive, as the family home remains the central place for the children to stay and the parents can organise around this based on their own schedules.

If you are considering adopting a nesting arrangement, it’s important to consider where you will stay when you aren’t in the family home. If it’s a short-term solution, it might be possible to stay with parents, extended family or friends. However, this may not be possible as a long-term shared-care arrangement, unless you are able to secure three homes for yourself, your co-parent and the family home.

Here are some pros and cons of nesting arrangements in practice:

Pros and cons of nesting arrangements:


  1. A practical short-term measure whilst you settle into co-parenting
  2. May be particularly helpful for younger children (in terms of maintaining their surroundings)
  3. Gives children a clear sense of ‘home’ in a period of uncertainty
  4. Makes logistical sense in terms of the continuity of the ‘norm’, ie. for existing arrangements


  1. Requires multiple spaces or parents sacrificing their own space
  2. As a long term arrangement, it would require three homes (ie. two separate places for the parents, and the family home)
  3. You will still need to work out a further shared-care arrangement pattern (ie. 22-55)
  4. Ensuring a full fridge and tidy when arriving and leaving etc



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Kate Daly
Kate Daly
Kate Daly is a co-founder of amicable and host of The Divorce Podcast. Kate is a divorce expert and helps couples and separated parents navigate divorce and separation amicably. She's passionate about changing the way the world divorces and campaigns for fairer divorce laws and access to justice.

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