T Nation

Moving to Chicago


Sorry for the length...I need the help though. So, I've gotten to visit Chicago some and have really loved it. I'm stuck in Arkansas for now and cannot stand the thought of being here much longer.

I will graduate with a Finance Degree August 8th or 9th from the Univesity of Central Arkansas. I turn 26 in May, have a daughter that is gonna be 4 in July, and just went through a bankruptcy because of the divorce. I know, Finance Degree AND a bankruptcy....my bad! She wouldn't pay on her half of any of bills, and I was receiving law suits. Those suits were gonna be on my report for years to come anyways. Figured I might as well start over.

I've never moved more than 100 miles before and would really like some advice/insight on what to expect, contemplate, and watch out for.


Issue #1- My Daughter. The divorce decree says that I get her every other weekend, all summer, half of spring break, and certain holidays. Easter, Halloween, 4th of July, her birthday are all alternating every year. I get her every Thanksgiving and Christmas. My ex's family only celebrated those holidays on the eves....so it was okay for me to have them. Now, she had another kid with another guy. My ex, my daughter, this guy, and the new kid all live together now. My ex wants Thanksgiving and Xmas to alternate now.

If I move to Chicago, I won't be able to see her on the weekends. I was thinking of altering the decree, through a lawyer, that I get her every summer and not worry about the weekends. I think this issue can be resolved if this happens.


Issue #2- Finding a job and Apartment. I graduate Aug 8-9, 2009. I have a buddy that lives there on North Sheridan Road close to Evanston...pretty nice neighborhood. He said that if I wanted to, I could live with him (rent-free) from mid-Aug to December. This would give me plenty of time to find a job with my degree and an apartment. I wait tables at Outback right now and could transfer to the Outback down the road from his apartment. That is what he did. OR I could stay in Arkansas for 6-12 months and work while saving money. This way I wouldn't have to depend on someone else. Either way, it should be fine.

The apartment brings up a hard situation. I just went through that bankruptcy and have NO one that could co-sign for me. I have a great situation with my landlord now. I have my rent paid until June and usually keep in paid in advance. She could be a good reference, but with a bankruptcy and no co-signer, I might be homeless. What should I do about that?

Thanks for all input....again, sorry for the length. I talked to my parents, but they just say it's your life. My friend, obviously, says to move...offers no advice, but helps with letting me stay with him.


This may not be helpful in the grand scheme of things, but make sure you're not moving just to run away from your problems. It certainly won't help. If anything, it's going to be harder on you because it'll be harder to see your daughter.


I think this is excellent advice, as well. Chicagoland is a great place, don't get me wrong. You could do worse.

You have some important decisions to make. The most important one, I think, is in regards to your daughter. I raised a daughter on my own, as a single mom. I won't badmouth my ex, but he was only a sporadic presence in my daughter's life. I remarried when she was ten, and she had known my husband since she was a baby. BUT, and it is a huge BUT...she to this day (she turns 22 in a few weeks) feels abandoned by her father. It causes a lot of issues in her life.

She was (and is) the most cherished child in the world. I doted on her, my husband spoiled her, my family lavished her with love and attention. Still, she has very low self esteem, and it shows in her choices in life, especially with men. She has made some rash decisions that did NOT turn out well. I am no psychiatrist, but I am certain in large part it is due to her lack of a solid relationship with her father.

I agree that it would be difficult to have her on weekends if you live so far away. But having her just during the summers--she would be a virtual stranger, every year, when she got there. And as she gets older, will resent leaving her friends behind every summer.

I firmly believe that kids need their parents, regardless of the parents' relationship, or lack thereof. Divorce is hard on kids. To quote Bart Simpson, ?I never thought it was humanly possible, but this both sucks and blows.? Even in the best of circumstances.

I am not saying whether or not you should or go, just that your daughter will benefit from having you regularly in her life. And of course you will benefit from seeing her regularly as well. You did not really state what kind of relationship you have with your ex. I know in my case, I bent over backwards to have a decent relationship with mine (which was NOT easy, believe me--I had to do a lot of tongue biting and silent fuming), but maybe you can have some sort of mediation with her, to work out a beneficial visitation schedule. Maybe instead of every other weekend, you could have school holidays, or some sort of six month split, or just anything so you avoid seeing her just once a year.

Sorry to ramble on here, but I work with teenagers, as well as being the mother of the almost-22 yr old above (who, to give you an example of her insecurity, plans to marry a 38 yr old man in Aug, after having only met him a few weeks ago), I have seen how this sort of thing impacts kids.



Issue #1 might be tough.

Has your ex already agreed to this request and it just needs to be finalized on paper?

If she fights it, you may have an uphill battle in family court. A judge is likely to say, "You want to revise the decree so you can move to Chicago where you don't have a job offer, don't have substantial savings, and your only plans are to move in with a friend?" Good luck.

I took particular interest in this thread because A.) I'm divorced with 2 young sons and B.) I have a educational and professional background in finance.

I feel bad for all recent and upcoming college grads...you couldn't have picked a shittier time to graduate. If you move to Chicago, it seems that you presume your current employer (Outback) will have an opening 6 months from now. Even if you do get transferred, I assume that's not your career goal.

My recommendation: suck it up in Arkansas for a little while. Get your financial life in order (you're a finance man afterall...). Enjoy your daughter while she's young and innocent. Before you know it, she'll be a pain-in-the-ass teenage girl. And as LankyMoFo said, moving won't solve your problems.

Sorry for the long response, but I thought of a HUGE issue #3... With your credit history, landing a job in finance just got a lot trickier.


I am on my way to work right now. I will get on later tonight with some replies. Please keep posting and check back tomorrow as well.

Thanks for all the input!


I don't have anything to offer other than good luck brotha.


I have given this statement a lot of thought before and after reading this post. I don't think I am running away from my problems. My problems are that I don't have money to hire a lawyer to help when my ex denies me visitation or when she doesn't meet me half way when I do get to see her. The bankruptcy isn't a problem because it was a solution to a problem(debt).


I appreciate it, man.


Thanks for sharing your story. I worry about her a lot in the sense of development. I guess where I would be coming from on this issue is that both my parents are still married and have stayed close to me to this day. They did all the good things you expect out of parents like sacrificing extra hours at work so I could have money to spend when I went on basketball trips, pushed me to attend college, don't do drugs, etc. But the things they didn't do led to many insecurities in myself that I have been noticing the older I get.

I guess what my point would be is that even only seeing her 3-4 months out of the year(plus holidays), I really feel that I can be a good influence on my daughter. I've already been getting excited in the past few months since she is out of that terrible two's phase. Plus, getting out of Arkansas for the summer will be good for her. Hopefully, I can teach her there is a bigger world out there. I was able to go to Germany many times as a kid while my Dad stayed at home and worked. It taught me many cultural things that my peers had no idea existed....now they are narrow minded southerners that don't think there is a whole world out there.

As for my ex, we do NOT get along very well. Lately, I have to admit, has been a lot better. I catch her lying a lot, but she doesn't seem to care...won't even admit it. For example, I remember in October I wanted to see her the week before Halloween. I called up my ex and asked her about it. She told me our daughter has a hay ride to go to. I told her that was fine, and I could do it the next weekend or a prior weekend.

She told me there were birthday parties and this and that. I told her that either she should skip a party or I could take her on the hay ride. Then there was no hay ride all of a sudden. I called her out on it, and she kept denying there was a hay ride. It's all the time with stuff like this. "I never said this....never said that." I can even repeat almost 100% of the conversation back to her and point out specific information that was discussed. She just denies it.


Thanks for the input. My ex and I have talked about this, but not pertaining to moving to Chicago. I don't see why a judge would have a problem with changing it. The custody, other than my ex having primary custody, is geared solely towards me. I have easter, 4th of july, halloween, and her birthday alternating. I get EVERY Xmas and Thanksgiving, plus half of EVERY spring break, and EVERY summer. I would be changing it to gear it more towards my ex. Basically, I wouldn't get xmas and thanksgiving every year and give up the every other weekend thing. The holidays are pretty huge, at least in my family. I think I would put a stipulation in there saying that if we lived in the same state, the every weekend would start back up. I would let the lawyer deal with that. I'm pretty sure my ex would be more than happy with it as long as she didn't have to pay any.

The job issue is a big one for me. I really think with my credit history that I will probably have to settle for a restaurant or retail manager type job. I might possibly be able to do payroll somewhere. Nothing with too much responsibility. I still don't know that even if I stayed here a full year after graduation working and saving that I could get an apartment without a co-signer.


Thanks so much for the input! Like I said, when I talk to my parents they are completely biased(as they should be expected), my friend is biased to have me move, and everything I find on the net pertains to moving if you have a house mortgage or owning one already. I don't have near as much to risk right now.

Please keep adding as much info as you can think of. Thanks!!!


I forgot to mention that when I go talk to a lawyer, I was planning on raising my child support myself. I figure if I raise it on my own(give an offer to my ex to sign), it will probably increase less than if I let her do it.