I am moving out 'with' kids, how does it look to them.?

(69 Posts)
jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 06:55:06

After nearly 20 yrs of marriage I would like to separate. My husband is refusing to move out saying that he is happy here and legal advice tells him don't move out. I am a sahm (for the last 15 yrs).

Last night I said we have 3 options
He moves out and rents during 6 month trial separation (without kids but somewhere with plenty of space for them to stay etc)

I move out and rent (6 months again) with the kids.

We sell the house and buy 2 properties and go straight to divorce.

We 'decided' on 2nd option because he said he is happy in the house and refuses to move out and it is less irreversible than the third option should we change our minds.

But overnight I am thinking.....it will look to the kids like I am taking them away from their home and their daddy for a smaller home with probably very small garden (big football players!)...they will end up resenting me for it.

I think going straight to divorce seems to be the only option although seems crazy?!

What is anybody else's experience of this sort of thing please?

Xenia Sat 23-Mar-13 09:53:29

They are 12 and 14. They will be allowed to choose with whom they live. They will probably choose to stay in their own house. You will probably lose them. It is a pity you do not work. I was married nearly 20 years and my husband was also advised not to move out and as I could afford to buy his share of the house out (I paid to him on divorce as I earn more) and he could not after decree absolute and money transfers he moved out and house and mortgage moved to my sole name. As you were not working that removes that choice.

If he will stay in the house with the children then probably a court would say he can keep it until the youngest is 18 and then sell and split the proceeds or buy you out of your share. You will probably have more time if you move out so can get a full time job it the children choose to stay with him so you then be required to pay about 20% of your new income to him to pay for the children and his childcare costs. If you could not get a job and the children stay with him then he may well be required to pay you some monthly payments until you can get back into full time work.

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 10:04:08

Luckily I don't have to worry financially. We have both had legal advice. He earns in excess of 300k and we own our home without a mortgage. and I have been advised as has he that he would have to pay child maintenance as well as spousal for ongoing period until I remarry etc. but that isn't my concern. My concern is more how to present this to the kids with least backlash/screwing up etc.

It's just so horrible and upsetting sad

Xenia Sat 23-Mar-13 10:13:05

If given a choice would the children stay in their home with him or move out with you though? Once they get to about 13 the courts let children decide with whom they live. They usually choose the status quo, their own house. I know a high earning man who waited to divorce until the children were 13 and 15. They chose to stay in the family home with him (mind you their mother had moved in with her lover even though her new house was bigger and better).

If the children choose to live with him he will not have to pay child maintenance to you but he will have to pay spousal maintenance to you until you can sort out a job - typically 5 years or until you remarry.

If he earns £300k why cannot he remortgage the house and give you 50% of the equity, stay in the house and the children live with him and you move out? Surely that plan also works which is a bit like our situation except with the genders reversed as I earn quite a bit and similar length of marriage and our solution.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 23-Mar-13 10:13:40

Talk to your children.
You may have to compromise more than you want to.

RandomMess Sat 23-Mar-13 10:20:08

Seriously it sounds like you should start with divorce proceedings, I wonder if he is in denial that you are really intent on moving on with your life.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 23-Mar-13 10:31:18

If the house is mortgage free, then Xenia's solution seems the most obvious, divorce, remortgage and you buy a home with your share.
You may or may not be the RP, depending on the choices your children make.

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 12:44:09

If we present it to the kids in the way that we will have two homes now and they will live in both and have fun with us separately in both homes then do they still get asked or do they go with our decision if we are united on it. (We may not be united on it now but intend to present it to the kids when we are)

We have enough other assets/capital to buy another property without remortgaging etc so that isn't a concern.

Thank you for all comments. All useful x

Xenia Sat 23-Mar-13 16:41:37

If you both agree then the children should do as they are told. However it is common for 14 or 15 year olds who are not happy with an arrangement simply to run to the other parent and refuse to move out of their bed rooms when it's time to chop and change so they may not stick to it. Obviously if one parent is horrible or stricter or beats them or has 20 lovers then they may well cleave unto the other parent and refuse to have much to do with them.

Teenagers are not that keen on moving their stuff around which is why Bob Geldoff suggested it was more fair if children stayed in one house and parents came and went as it was the parents who had messed up the chidlren's lives so why should the children have to come and go - why not make the parents live out of a suitcase as it's the parents' fault.

In my case we both worked full time. They probably spent marginally more time with their father than with me. My lawyer said the older children would be asked (in their case there was noquestion they would want to live with their father at all so it was easy) and she said the younger ones who were too young to choose woudl not be split from the older ones. I would have been happy with 50% time with each parent and am a huge advocate for fathers' rights on divorce.

You should probably see a solicitor for an hour just to discuss how things work, but in many divorces like mine the parents decide money issues and children issues. If you reach agreement (we did) there does not need to be a single court hearing and as long as what is proposed seems reasonable the court just seals an agreement financial consent order and you have the voluntary child arrangements agreed between the two of you.

If I were a teenager I would not want to leave my home. If there were a massive bribe in it I might be prepared to be dragged out to my mother's new home for one night a week ifmotehr is lucky and as long as mother did all the driving and had me a second set of clothes and everything at the other house. However if my father were difficult or nasty or has a young new girl friend I hate I might well jump at the chance to move to mother's house.

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 16:58:33

Hadn't heard that about bob geldof before. Interesting. Mind you, the thought of sharing space with OH ie kitchen etc and moving back to it when we swap sounds like it would create a lot of problems!

So the options are now....
Me move out and rent somewhere for a trial period, the kids would be with me 8 days in 14 and with their dad 6 days in 14 (we agreed on a basic arrangement for that)

Or

Just decide to divorce. But if we do that then surely it makes sense to move out whilst house hunting etc? Less arguing etc.

I think he is making a fuss about staying in the house because he knows it will win favour with the kids. Can I force a sale of the house so we both start again? (We own it with no mortgage and can afford another property too).

And if I move out to rent, when I come to buy what happens to possessions.....do I have to take anything I want to to the rental?

Thank you

Could mediation help? Start divorce proceedings but go to mediation to help find an agreement on housing and where the children live? Sometimes having that neutral person in the middle who allows you both to speak and listen can help a lot.

But as others say, at their age, they will choose where they want to live. So you could agree on housing and assets etc but the teenagers will have a say in where they want to be.

If you can bare it, I'd stay put for now and commence divorce proceedings tbh but I can only imagine how uncomfortable that may feel. But then it's less upheaval for now and you may reach a better agreement with mediation and it may give the kids longer to adjust to the fact you are going to separate. If you can manage to divorce amicable (I did, although it's unusual) that would be so helpful for the kids too.

Xenia Sat 23-Mar-13 17:28:12

jenny, very similar issues to us except my husband was the lower earner. He refused to budge from the house for the whole 7 months of divorce negotiations (I had to pay both sides' lawyers), through to decree nisi, court sealed consent order, decree absolute, conveyancing and remortgage - house transferred into my name, me with big new mortgage On the day after the money hit his bank account he moved out exactly as he and his lawyer had said. As I could afford to buy him out and he couldn't afford to buy me out I got the house and the children 3 of whom were teenagers. He got more money than I did but had to buy a mortgage free house near by.

I don't think you can force him to buy the house. You both might want to keep the house I suppose.
I suspect it is much more likely if your new place is as nice and easy for the children there is no reason they won't want to be with you particularly if they like a lot more of you and like you better than their father.

One basis on which I can see you might get the house is if it had to be sold to ensure you both had 50% each.As you don't you would have to agree who stays in it and who buys another property - let us assume both the current house and new house are identical values. If my husband had said he would not leave our house but he coudl not have afforded to raise my share (40%) of our assets then he would have had to leave. So if say your house is worth £500k and you have £500k in savings you would be fighting over who gets one asset worth £500k - the house and who has the cash to buy a similar house. If you could not agree which of you has it then ultimately it would have to go to a court to decide. If you move out there would be little chance you would get the existing house.

In terms of possessions in the house as they in our case were a tiny percentage cmopared to house value etc we did not really argue over them. Their father was buying another house and he could take whatever he wanted from here but he knew I was staying with the 5 children so he was not bothered about taking TVs etc as he was getting nearly £1m from me so could use that to buy kettles . I was surprised he wanted no family photos but even those things you can get duplicated. Some couples have terrible rows over who gets the painting and who takes the soup spoons but it's hardly worth arguing over in my view. In practice you need to reach an agreement about it.
If you ended up being the one leaving the family home it might be a bit sitting to take 50% of what is in the house as the children may still remain linving in it and you might want a fresh start.

Plenty of teenagers move between houses. I didn't mean to be so negative about whether they would choose to move between the homes or not.

If you do want to reserve things for yourself but leave them here when you go they should probably be on an agreed list signed by you and your husband. I was talking to someone divorced a few months ago and some of his family valuable heirlooms, paintings etc were to go to the children in due course. Later after divorce an auction house approached him about proving what they were and that way he learned his ex wife had breached the agreement and was planning to sell them so that was stopped.

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 17:40:15

Thank you for all that. So much going around in my head. On the one hand I just want to be away from him but on the other as you say i should bear it.

Seems that financially / 'rights' wise it is more sensible to go straight to divorce?! That would end up having a fairer outcome.

He isn't interested in mediators. Only lawyers. I have tried. He has a huge income and huge shared assets so I guess he doesn't want me to fleece him - which I have no intention of doing.

Funny thing is, a divorce involving only solicitors (and possibly a judge if it gets that far) may mean he has less of a choice in what is decided, regarding the share of assets etc. He'll have a lot less control than if he just arranged it between the two of you with a neutral party and the divorce could end up costing far more.

It's a very tricky time. I was lucky that my ExH and I were able to be civil and discuss it all between us, the solicitors were a formality. We have managed to co parent since amicably as well.

If you can, do stay put for now but I know it's hard sad

RandomMess Sat 23-Mar-13 18:15:42

I think you well have to face that your children may not want to move out with you, you won't know for certain until it happens I'm afraid.

I wouldn't tell the children you are having a trial separation. I would just tell them you are getting divorced and that's it, it's just very unstable for them to be hoping all the time that you will get back together.

I also think it would be better for them not to have to make the decision about who they live with, they will just feel like they are taking sides. If you can agree between you it would be better all round. It would also be better if your H can avoid blaming you too much although obviously that's up to him.

Otherwise I think you moving out with them would be ok really. They will have plenty of opportunity for playing in the garden when they see their Dad and I'm sure they do sports at school etc, it's not the end of the world to downsize a bit. (Speaking someone whose Mother did something similar when I was younger)

MajaBiene Sat 23-Mar-13 18:32:32

I would leave the children in their home, and you move out for 6 months and see how you feel. Seems unfair to move them out.

Could you go round and be with them after school until their dad gets home from work? Or they go to your new place after school until he picks them up?

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 18:38:06

H is happy to not point the blame in front of the kids.

So I guess I should stay put for now? And head for divorce.

Interesting idea about telling the kids we are divorcing rather than a trial...I had thought the other way softens the blow but this is an I retesting way of thinking about it.

We are going to try to not offer the choice. And tbh I think if we tell them they will stay with dad on such and such days and mum on such and such they will go with it. For now. I realise things may change but generally they are good kids who do what we tell them within reason. They haven't yet got to tha rebellious stage yet. I realise this may set it off too!!!!

The knock on effect on the kids is horrendous. But it isn't enough to make me not want to split.

All of your advice and input is v much appreciated thank you

The best book I read on divorce was 'what about the children'. That's definitely worth a read imo.

Sounds promising from what you've just said that you can both help this transition to be as smooth as possible for them.

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 18:46:37

The youngest is always in bed by the time he is home from work. I don't want to feel like a nanny in his home....

That would entail me having to arrive to be with them from 6.30 ish am when he leaves for work until after one is in bed, and feed both then I go to wherever I rent. I know it is me who wants out but that seems not a great option.

H really won't consider going. Perhaps straight to divorce is the best thing?....how did I get here sad

I would just start divorce proceeding if you're sure. It will be hard but things do get better again. Wish I could give you a squeeze x

MajaBiene Sat 23-Mar-13 19:25:35

If he is refusing to go and expects you to move out, what is his plan for childcare? If he is faced with the prospect of you going and him having to employ a nanny and housekeeper in your place would he decide it's more practical for him to go?

If he really won't consider leaving then a divorce and forcing everyone out seems like the only option he is leaving you with.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 23-Mar-13 19:30:28

'him having to employ a nanny and housekeeper in your place would he decide it's more practical for him to go?'

On £300,000 a year and no mortgage? he can probably cope!

jenny99 Sat 23-Mar-13 19:37:41

I would love a squeeze thank you.

He is threatening to give up work or to take compassionate leave. Tbh I can't see him doing either. And I have spoken to 3 lawyers who all say that I have been the main carer for 14 years so really it isn't in question that they should be with me.

I think it is now becoming clear that divorce is the only option. The realistic chances of us getting back together after a separation are minimal especially now therefore it seems I will have a better arrangement re my rights, the kids, etc if we take advice at this stage and move to divorce. If we have a very 'woolly' separation I'm not sure what happens after that.

Thank you all for your continuing input xx

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 23-Mar-13 20:04:57

Does your husband want the children to stay with him?
If they choose differently to the lawyers, will your husband support their choice?
Will you?
You have a very long journey ahead of you, so it's good that you are thinking calmly about it and planning ahead instead of reacting to situations and developments.
How do you think your children will feel about it in the long run?

Xenia Sun 24-Mar-13 10:03:08

I see you said earlier the younger children would choose to be with you even if he had to move to a smaller house and the older would feel torn. The longer you take the more likely the younger child will be older and end up preferring to stay at home.

If i were you I would tell the children, petition for divorce and try to ensure you get the house, not your husband. That way your children are more likely to stay. If you are fighting for a large % of the joint assets, a share of his business if he has a business, half his pension and say £100k maintenance for life plus support for the children and their school and university fees paid he might let you have the current house if you let go of some of those other claims.

There is no need for mediation if you both reach an agreement. We had none. We had lawyers but we reached the financial deal ourselves which the lawyers then wrote up. It took 7 rather awful months of stll living together

I think it's vital teenagers are told the truth and are very clear about everything. It does not help a child to have parents pretend they are trying to work on things but it may be they stay together. Much better to say mummy does not love daddy any more and wants to live apart so we have both agreed these new arrangements and these are what they are. Now they may say no way I am only going to live in one home and that is with my mother or with my father but you can at least try them and if one parent refusing to have the child then the chidl just to put up with what the parents have agreed or run away or live with a school friend (and plenty of teenagers do the latter).

And on work etc I worked full time and kept the 5 children here and paid a full time nanny. It is perfectly workable for the full time working parents to have the children with them
Your husband has threatened tos top work. Lots of men actually follow through with that to ensure their wife does not get a penny so do we cautious and perhaps look at ways of supporting yourself. It would be huge fun to see if you could out earn him next year. Aim for £500k a year. That might shake things up a bit. Put his £300k a year into the shade.

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