You're trying to work through your divorce with your spouse. You're working together because, above all else, you want to put the children first. That's been your goal from the first time you ever talked about this. You're committed to doing what it takes.
The problem is that every custody plan the two of you come up with really seems like it disrupts the children's lives.
Maybe you plan to sell the house, buy two new houses of your own, and then move the children back and forth every other week, for instance. That seems fair; you both get a week with the children. It seems to make sense; you both need a new place to live. From an adult perspective, it works.
From your children's perspective, though, here is what it means:
- They have to leave their neighborhood and their friends
- They may have to go to a new school
- They lose "their" rooms
- They can only have half of their toys and belongings at each new house
- They have to get used to having two homes, rather than feeling settled and secure in one
- Even when they do make new friends in either area, they only see them every other week
- They have to spend countless hours in the back of a car over the upcoming years, riding from one house to the other
Inevitably, it's also going to cause issues like homework that got left at one house and not the other or like a parent forgetting to pick them up because it's the day of the switch. It happens, and it's hard for children.
The nesting difference
One thing to consider is nesting. It's very different. It can solve many of the problems noted above, though you and your ex have to work together and get along to make it successful.
With nesting, you don't have to sell your house. You keep it. The kids stay in it. Then you both (you and your ex) rent apartments nearby. You may also rent one that you can share, to keep overall costs down.
When your week of custody starts, you live in that family home with your children. Your ex lives in the apartment. When your week ends, you move to the apartment and your ex moves into the house. You still split the time and you both get a week with the kids, but you eliminate many of the issues the kids face.
Thinking over your options
Not everyone can pull this off, but hopefully it at least shows you how many options you have and how you can put the kids first if that is your No. 1 goal.