‘Nesting’ is a fairly new approach being undertaken by separating couples who have children, or perhaps even pets. The idea is that a much smaller property is rented, or the kindness of relatives is relied upon for each party to stay with respectively, and then the couple take turns living in the rented property/with relatives and the family home, until either they decide to get more permanent accommodation, or the family home is sold subject to an agreement. It allows the children to stay in the family home so their routine is not disrupted, and with pets it allows them to be retained as often rental properties will not allow pets.

The idea of housing stability for the children will be extremely appealing for a lot of separating couples, as their lives have already been disrupted by the separation. Historically, this has been the main reason for separating couples to enter this arrangement, particularly where there are teenage children who often demonstrate reluctance to move between households.

However, in the current cost of living crisis, it may become the only option available to implement a physical agreement to separate. Where it will inevitably be difficult to sell family homes to rehouse the parties in separate properties, nesting could be a very attractive option to enable the parties to partially move on without too much financial pressure. Even for the most amicable of separating couples it is extremely stressful to continue to live in the same house together indefinitely, so this type of arrangement would relieve some pressure.

Nesting is far from an easy option though. A nesting arrangement requires a high level of good communication. Even though you will be living separately, you still won’t have complete privacy.  A good understanding of what is expected in terms of leaving the rented/family home in good working order for the incoming person, and upholding that understanding will be essential.

This type of arrangement could not be enforced by the court, and it is only a short to medium term arrangement, but it is one that I suspect we will see more of. The Family Team at Ellisons can advise in respect of interim and final financial and child arrangements. Please call to speak to the one of the team for more information.