Where to live?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Where to live?

    I’ve been dating a wonderful woman for a while and we’ve began to talk about moving our relationship to the next level. She’s a single mom who’s never been married and I’ve been divorced for 4 years. She has a 7 year old daughter and I have a daughter who’s 12 and a son who’s 10. She has her daughter 100% of the time and I have my kids +50%. The dilemma going to the next level is where to live.

    She has moved around since her daughter was born. She works and her daughter has been in daycare since she was born. Her daughter has been in a couple different pre-schools. The year before kindergarten she moved across the country for an engagement with a former long-term boyfriend and it didn’t work out. Her daughter then went to kindergarten in one town and then they moved to another town for first grade. During her first grade year, the daughter was evaluated for learning disabilities and attention concerns and will be getting services during second grade. My girlfriend loves the school system her daughter is in and wants to stay to finally provide her daughter with some stability in a good place.

    When I was divorced, I moved into an apartment briefly and then bought a house that needed a ton of work when house prices were low and the mortgage rates were low. Since then I have completely renovated the house and it is in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids. I specifically bought this house because of the location. It is in the same town that my ex and I lived in before the divorce but it is in no way like living next door to my ex. The kids had friends from school in the neighborhood before I moved in and they can take the bus to school from either my ex’s house or mine. If one of the kids has forgotten a something at the other’s house or takes the wrong bus home from school, it is a quick drive to the other’s house to remedy the situation so my kids don’t have to bear the logistical brunt of our divorce. I truly believe that they feel equally at home at either house and attribute this to how well they have weathered the divorce. I am so thankful I was able to make it through the financial hardship of my divorce and be able to end up affording this house especially for my kids.

    The house my girlfriend is renting and my house are about 20 minutes apart. Her house is too small for me to move into – two bedrooms and one bathroom. So if I were to move to her town, we would need to move into a different house either way. My house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms and while not it might be a little tight, at least each of the kids can have their own bedroom. I would not be averse to looking for another house in my town after we’ve been married if we felt we could afford it and if my house didn’t meet our needs. It is in the town that my girlfriend works (although she has a good job she expresses she wants to find another job that pays more) and my girlfriend has three aunts with houses in the town with whom she is very close. This is the town I grew up in as a kid and my job is close-by as well. My parents are 10 minutes from my house and are very helpful to me as a single dad.

    Financially we are both getting by but have to pay attention to our expenses. I’ve probably got close to $100,000 in equity in the house and am breaking even each month or maybe a little better. Her rent is about $500 more per month than my mortgage/taxes, etc and she’s got school loans for $80,000 which are about to come due. I think she will need to try to defer her educational loans for a year because I’m not sure she’ll be able to afford her current expenses and her student loan payments. If we were living together, I think our monthly expenses would look a lot better (this BTW is not some kind of arrangement of financial convenience, if I didn’t absolutely love her I wouldn’t be writing this). Additionally, her job has no health benefits and she has to pay for child care 5 days per week. My job has full benefits and because of my hours, I don’t need childcare.

    I feel that although it would be yet another transition, by the fact that her daughter would be living with us full time, she would settle into my house and while her current school is slightly better, both schools are great. Because she would be attending school and playing sports in the town if she moved here, I think she would make friends and feel connected. My kids would still be going back and forth to my ex’s house but they would still have their “two homes.” If I moved to my girlfriend’s town, my kids wouldn’t have connections to the neighborhood like they currently do and wouldn’t be attending school there or playing sports there to help them connect to the new town and make friends. I think it would feel more like just visiting dad as opposed to it feeling like a home in a town they are connected to. My girlfriend’s daughter is going into 2nd grade and my kids are going into 5th and 7th grade.

    Another concern my girlfriend has is that it may feel to her like this house is “my” house and not truly hers. (She felt this way when she moved across the country for her engagement to her former fiancé’s apartment for that year which resulted in them moving to a new house down there during that year.) I feel that when we get married we will both share the equity in the house (unless there was a prenuptial agreement which hasn’t been a topic for discussion) and we would both incur her school debt so therefore at least by law, it would be all ours. I realize that this monetary connection is not the same as the emotional connection to a home but it is something.

    Her Plan: She thinks that we should get engaged and I should sell my house. We then should buy a house together in her town and when we get married, then we’ll move in together. Because I timed the market just right, I’m not really certain we’ll be able to afford and equal or greater house in her town. Likely we’ll have to buy a fixer-upper but again, I’m not sure we’ll have the money available to do a complete remodel on a house in her town that we could afford. I’m also not sure where I’d be living or where my kids would be staying during remodeling during the 50% time they are with me. It took me 6 months to do the remodel on my current house while I lived in the apartment.

    My Plan: I think she should move here when we get married and see how we like living in this house/town and if we need a bigger house and we can afford it, we should moved to another house in my town.

    We’ve been very caring with each other in trying to figure this out and it is tough trying to get unbiased advice from people we know. What advice would you offer?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    The way your girlfriend can avoid feeling like it's not her house if she moves in with you is if you get married, not just engaged, before combining your lives with the hope/expectation of getting married. She felt that way the first time and will again if engagement is the only precedent. When you marry, what's yours is hers and what's hers is yours, emotionally (most importantly) as well as legally. As counterintuitive as it might be,the divorce rate is higher among those who live together before marriage than those who don't, and her fear of how she knows she'd feel about it being *your* place is one reason for it IMO. Whatever you do, get married, if that's your plan, before either of you move because then the commitment will be in place at the time the move is made. A ring is not the same as the I Do, emotionally speaking, and putting the cart before the horse will add another stressor to an already difficult situation to resolve. If you are married when the move is made, the mindset will automatically be all for one and one for all. No, "... if the engagement works out." to add uncertainty and stress. Given logistics and timing that might mean a different wedding than either of you would like, but maybe make it official in a short time and then throw a big reception or something when it makes more sense timing wise. Before the "living together is GREAT" folks respond, I'm giving this advice simply because the op sounds very sure that they ARE getting married. I'm not suggesting getting married, per se, therefore, but instead that getting married before the move will aleviate a lot of stress associated with the decision of who makes the move because some of the stress they are attributing to the move could actually be relieved by getting married beforehand.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    old post/deleted

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from jdrotten. Show jdrotten's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    Check your divorce agreement.  It may stipulate that you give up custody if you move out of your children's school district.  Obviously that would make the decision up for you and your girlfriend couldn't argue with that.

    And seriously, only 20 minutes?  That's it?  And you guys can't figure that out?  That doesn't bode well with me.  Sorry, hope you figure it out.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    I like your suggestion to get married before hand. My girlfriend had suggested this too and although my first thought was living together, I'm not at all adverse to marrying first.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    Great advice about consulting a real estate lawyer for tax reasons, etc. I hadn't thought of that. I also like your ideas about decorating and visiting schools and activities.

    Before my girlfriend moved to her current town, she had lived a year in this town with her aunt and uncle. She actually looked for an appartment here, but couldn't find anything she liked.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    I think I am Ok as far as the divorce agreement.

    I know what you are saying about 20 minutes. I'm sure there are people out there trying to work this same kind of issue out with much larger distances.

    I know it seems like a small distance away, and she's offered to help out with my kids and the driving part. She would need to drive them to school 2-3 days per week because I would have to be at work at the same time that the kids are supposed to be there. As I'm thinking about this, in two years my oldest would move up a school and so there would be two school start times. And even as it stands now with them in the same school, their start time is going to conflict with her daughters start time. ie. she'd probably have to leave to drop off my kids at school before her 2nd grader got on the bus.

    If I had my kids every other weekend, this might work, but I've got them at least half the time and probably more. For example, I tutored my daughter every day after school last year because she was having a tough time with one of her subjects.
    In Response to Re: Where to live?:
    [QUOTE]Check your divorce agreement.  It may stipulate that you give up custody if you move out of your children's school district.  Obviously that would make the decision up for you and your girlfriend couldn't argue with that. And seriously, only 20 minutes?  That's it?  And you guys can't figure that out?  That doesn't bode well with me.  Sorry, hope you figure it out.
    Posted by jdrotten[/QUOTE]
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    Additionally, and I know I have my flaws too. I love her, but my girlfriend is not always the most prompt person. Frequently, we meet at her relative's houses for gatherings and they razz her for being 30-40 minutes late. So I typically arrive on time and hang out waiting for her. Now she might step it up getting my kids to school and she probably would, but I do have a "little" concern about this.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    In response to "Re: Where to live?": [QUOTE]I like your suggestion to get married before hand. My girlfriend had suggested this too and although my first thought was living together, I'm not at all adverse to marrying first. Posted by rooster69[/QUOTE] If you are sure you want to marry and are happy to tie the knot before any major shift in living arrangements, I think you'll find the move decision will become clear surprisingly fast post marriage because home will be where husband and wife feel it makes the most sense for their family to reside. It will no longer be a decision between living in *your* house or *her* house until you eventually, probably get married someday. Best wishes!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    Well, well, well my Delusional Friend...step into my office!

    She has her daughter 100% of the time, tells me she has no Ex to consult with.

    YOU on the other hand only have your kid's 50% of the time, and here is were it gets "dicey".  Your Ex could - and legally so - contest your move based on the 50/50 deal and school!

    If your Ex chooses to play her "itch" card you could be in for a lot of headache with your kid's caught in the middle.

    My suggestion: She move in with you.  She doesn't have an Ex to complicate matters.  And does her kid go to school that would allow her to move out of the district and still attend that school?  In the long run everyone wins without a court battle if they move into your place.

    Best of Luck to You!
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    Thanks Roger for the thoughts. Although I physically have the kids 50% of the time, the divorce agreement says I should have the kids every other weekend. I'm not sure how that would factor in, but I think I should consult a lawyer on that issue.

     
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  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoneToTheDogs39. Show GoneToTheDogs39's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    old post/deleted

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from rooster69. Show rooster69's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    Thanks again for taking the time to read my post (or mini-series). I felt like my suggestion was the more logical of the two, but wanted to make sure I didn't just like it because it was my idea.

    My primary concern with her's is that my kids won't have a connection to a house in a different town and will feel like visitors when they are there. Also, if I kept them 50% of the time on the same schedule, I think they would be logging tons of hours driving around in the car. They'd have to get up 20-30 minutes early for school when they were with me. They'd need to be picked up after school 2-3 days per week. They had sports practice 4 days a week after school in the early evening so add 40-60 minutes to travel time for each trip. I wouldn't want this to harm the relationship I have with them.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: Where to live?

    In Response to Re: Where to live?:
    [QUOTE]Thanks Roger for the thoughts. Although I physically have the kids 50% of the time, the divorce agreement says I should have the kids every other weekend. I'm not sure how that would factor in, but I think I should consult a lawyer on that issue.
    Posted by rooster69[/QUOTE]

    There is an "assigned" lawyer available for FREE at your local courthouse CHECK on line to find out what day of the week and what time they will be there - go there first, be prepared, bring a copy of your divorce decree and then determine if you need to shell out the $$$ for legal services.

    Your divorce decree states somewhere that while a visitation schedule has been created there is no language that prevents the parties allowing for additional time and that the adults may make accommodations that are in the best interest of the children.....or something to that effect.  If your Ex is "sane" she shouldn't be concerned about you moving on. If on the other hand she's psycho - be prepared!
     
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