Jon and Kate Adopt “Nesting” Custody Arrangement

June 23, 2009 | Divorce, Family Law News, Legal Perspective

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

Fox 5 New York is reporting today that my friend and co-anchor of the Family Law Update TV broadcast, Cheryl Young, is representing Kate Gosselin in her divorce from “Jon & Kate Plus 8” co-star Jon Gosselin. The identity of Jon’s lawyer hasn’t been reported publicly yet.

One of the more interesting aspects of this fascinating celebrity divorce case is the “nesting” custody arrangement. Instead of making the kids move back and forth from Kate’s house to Jon’s house after their parents separate, the kids will remain in the family residence, and their parents will take turns staying with them.

“I’m not very fond of the idea but I know it is necessary,” Kate Gosselin said. “I know it is necessary because my goal is peace for the kids.”

“The kids will remain in the house and Jon will be here when we flip flop days,” Kate said, who also said she would not be in the family’s house when Jon was there.

Nesting custody arrangements are unusual because most parents don’t have the freedom to pick up and move every other week. Yet, this just might be the ideal case for nesting. Can you imagine moving eight kids every week? (How many would forget their homework, soccer uniforms, and toothbrushes at the other parent’s house?) Both parents would have to own huge houses and have nannies for the kids.

Worse yet, can you imagine the magnitude of the child support obligation to support eight kids, which the non-custodial parent would have to pay?

By nesting, the Gosselins could share the same nanny, share expenses for the “kids'” house, avoid the trauma of transferring eight kids every week, and perhaps avoid child support. It seems like an ideal solution, at least for now. It probably satisfies the TV network as well, since they won’t have to film at two separate locations.

How long they can continue to nest is another question. If the parents develop new romantic relationships before the kids are grown, how would a new step-mom or step-dad tolerate living alone every other week? Or, when Kate launches a line of designer clothes, how will she juggle full time work with a nesting custody schedule?

How long will either parent tolerate picking up toys laying around or doing the laundry left over from the other parent’s week in the house? When the living room needs new furniture, who will choose it? (Or, perhaps, who will choose the interior designer who will choose the furniture?)

Incidentally, I have not spoken to Cheryl about any of these speculations. I know nothing more than what I read in the newspapers, so I don’t know if Jon or Kate or their lawyers have considered any of the ideas I am brainstorming.

Will I ask Cheryl any questions about Jon and Kate when we broadcast in October? You betcha! Will she answer? Of course not!

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