As I child, my family moved many times and it seemed like I flowed seamlessly from one house to the next. I had the security of my parents and the consistency of routines that allowed me to quickly pick up and move forward. Still, I think it did affect me more than I thought because as an adult, the thought of moving is enough to create a bit of panic. So the thought of trying to move while going through divorce magnified that response and I did not want my children to have to adjust to a new home either. They were already facing big changes in their family, more overnight visits and packed bags than anyone should have to deal with. My great desire was for them to have the consistency and predictability of home. For a year now, I have managed to provide that.
So, 2011 is almost halfway through, and I still haven't decided what to do. This is not my "Dream House," but it is the home where so many of my dreams have come true. So here is what I'm weighing right now:
The payment on the mortgage is at the very top of what is feasible. Without child support, I would not be able to make ends meet. Still, it is approximately the same amount that I would pay for a modern three bedroom apartment. Unless we considerably lower our standard of living, I would prefer a stand-alone home with yard to living in an apartment complex. But a rental or lease would be more fluid in commitment levels. Other issues I'm considering -
- I have paid the mortgage consistently for one year now, which demonstrates God's faithfulness. Still, it sort of terrifies me to be the sole responsible party for such a large purchase. If I refinanced now, though, I would have a paid-for home by the time I'm retirement age and a great interest rate. I like that idea.
- There is something about financing closing costs on a home I already own that rubs me the wrong way. Dislike.
- I do not want to leave our school zone, which significantly lowers my options for rental properties or apartments.
- There are future repairs to this home which are inevitable: Roof, fence, kitchen sink, carpet - all need updating.
- I'm more confident that I and the children would adjust if we do decide to move. Life is less uncertain and chaotic than a year ago and they are more secure in the new routines of daddy-days and such.
- Beacause I will need a new (to me) vehicle sometime in the not so distant future, it would be helpful to have the equity available from the sale of this home when that purchase becomes essential.
Among my friends who have experienced divorce, most choose to leave or sell the marital home. They long to be free from the memories and obligations of the house. The income from the sale of the home jump starts the financing for their new life. The home represents so many things and those who choose to stay are often seeking that sense of consistency and that all has not been lost. The desires are as unique as the individuals and so many factors weigh into the decision.
As I have watched the disasters of this spring and the loss of homes so many have faced, I have been reminded and really come to believe that this place is not my home anyhow. My home is the security I feel with Christ, the warmth I create for my children, the haven of peace we share in our crazy-making world. These things can be taken with us wherever we lodge.
What does home mean to you? Have you faced the decison of what to do with the marital home after divorce? Any thoughts or advice for my and the decision I face? I love hearing from others out there!