Child Custody: Do Criminal Minds Nest?

Thomas Gibson, former “Criminal Minds” star, can celebrate Valentine’s Day with a new love interest. He and his former wife seem to be very involved parents though, because they have agreed to share child custody in an amazing way called “nesting.”

According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, actor Thomas Gibson, and his ex-wife Cristina Parker, reached an agreement in their divorce after a 21-year marriage. They are involved parents:

Being a dad is the greatest experience of my life.

According to TMZ, Thomas is paying $3,000 per month in child support for their three children, in addition to paying for their private school and extracurricular activities.

Interestingly, the couple agreed that Thomas to stays in the family’s San Antonio home every other weekend when he has the kids, and when he is not timesharing with them, Thomas stay’s in the guest house.


The actor appears to have agreed to a ‘Bird’s Nest’ custody agreement. Nesting is a child custody arrangement where the children live in one house, and the parents take turns living in that house with the children – but never at the same time.

I’ve written about child custody issues before. Nesting is not common to agree to, and is not mandated by a family court.  Generally, both parents have to agree to nesting.

Simply put, nesting is when the mother leaves when the father comes home, and the father leaves when it’s the mother’s turn to come home.  The children remain in the house.

Florida Child Custody

Many people are surprised to learn that the term “custody” (whether joint or sole) are concepts no longer recognized in Florida. Florida replaced the “custody” term for the “parenting plan” concept in order to avoid labeling parents as “visiting parent” or “primary parent”. The ‘new hope’ of the change in law was to try and make child custody issues less controversial.

Under Florida’s parenting plan concept, both parents enjoy shared parental responsibility and a time-sharing schedule.

“Shared parental responsibility” means both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities, and have to confer with each other so that major decisions affecting their child are made jointly.

A time-sharing schedule, as the name suggests, is simply a timetable that is included in the parenting plan that specifies the times, including overnights and holidays, that your child spends with each parent. However, “nesting” is not specifically defined in the statute.

The benefits of nesting are that the Gibson children don’t have to move from one home to another during custody exchanges because the parents will take turns living in the home where the children live full-time. The children have a much more stability.

Detractors argue that nesting is expensive because the parents need other places to live. This could mean that three homes are needed: one for mom, one for dad, and the children’s nest which is shared.

The TMZ article is here.