Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Don't give up work to be a SAHM unless

(937 Posts)
akaemmafrost Tue 27-Nov-12 20:18:01

You have a HEFTY private income or can work from home.

I gave up work, usual reasons, wages would barely cover childcare, WE wanted kids to be at home with a parent.

Fast forward. I now have two dc, the father of my dc cheated on me, physically, emotionally and financially abused me.

One of my dc has SN and cannot attend school for the moment.

I've been out of work for 10 years now, I have no profession. In 6 years time our child support will stop as will most of our benefits. I will near fifty having not worked at all for 18 years.

My future is shit. Utterly grey and bleak. All I have to look forward to is a state pension. While my ex earns a fortune, travels the world and has new relationships.

This is reality for me. So think long and hard about giving up work to stay at home because no matter how shit your job is it's preferable to my future don't you think?

And it was all decided for me by a man who decided he hated me and didn't want to be married anymore and a child being diagnosed with significant SN.

It's that simple.

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 12:33:25

Yes, I do think that both parents should properly support their children. But without a presumption of shared care it's easier for the absent one both to hide their income and to do no parenting.

Daddelion Wed 05-Dec-12 15:43:59

Just a slightly different perspective.

I'm classed as the resident parent as I get the child benefit.

But what we do is split the CB 50-50, work out what expenses the children have for the year, school uniforms, trips, hobbies etc and then split the costs 50-50.

No one has to pay the other anything as that is where I believe the antagonism starts, but neither of us became a sahp and we both kept our careers.

sameslime Wed 05-Dec-12 17:07:45

ExH pays child/spousal maintenance which is paid directly from his salary. I don't think it would cross his mind to give up his well-paid job and become unemployed just to avoid paying, after all he would end up suffering too. He's also a good dad anyway and still understands his responsibility to provide for his dc.

A lot of my friends are divorced now and the idea of any of them not getting maintenance is almost unheard of, we live in an expensive part of the country where SAHMs are common as the breadwinner works long hours. Almost all of them have got decent settlements including property, school fees, pensions etc.

Viviennemary Wed 05-Dec-12 17:15:21

I suppose it depends on the man. Maybe they are well enough off to afford generous settlements. I don't see how they can support two households though.

sameslime Wed 05-Dec-12 17:51:23

Most of the men in my circle (including exH) have moved on to have second families, so yes they are supporting two households. In exH's case, his new wife was previously married and got a good lump sum and property in her settlement, so they are still comfortably off (though she lost her spousal maintenance when she remarried).

Completely agree. I had a 40K a year salary (11 years ago) which I gave up to spend time with the dd's. I do still work (in a different field) but now only earn 7K a year. Even if I increased my hours my wages would always be low. My old skills are so out of date they no longer have any currency. My only other option is to retrain which in itself is not cheap and takes considerable time and commitment. I do have friends however who are doctors/lawyers/other professionals and their skills still have currency - and they get paid a lot for what they do. So it all depends on your job. But I reckon it's always worth keeping working at least part time, just to keep your skills up to date.

Also agree re. the loopholes - my DH is self employed and there are so many deductions he makes e.g lunches bought, drinks bought while out with "clients", etc) that his net declared income is way lower than his actual gross income.

Athendof Mon 10-Dec-12 23:00:21

Abitwobbly, he went to through years of court appearances and was ordered at each of those appearances to show evidence of his earnings. We didn't see any payslip of him at all, the judge made the decision on what his salary was based on a letter written to the judge by a very prominent member of the community who was, incidentally, his best friend.

andapartridgeinaRowantree Tue 11-Dec-12 00:38:22

You can sue him for half of any savings and pension even if you were not married. I have a friend who recently won a hefty sum from the father of her children.

It's worth getting some legal advice.

Athendof Tue 11-Dec-12 11:24:30

Yes, but sueing is a costly business, so depending on the size of the savings/pensions it may not be worth it.

Onemoreforgoodmeasure Tue 11-Dec-12 11:33:48

My mother had to seek employment for the first time in her life at 35. She started in crap jobs and never gained the skills or education to earn more than a very low wage. When raising me she repeated over and over again, always have a job, always have your own bank account. My father wasn't bad but she didn't want him around or his help. I'm so sorry OP. Being a sahm should be wonderful, and I'm sure for many it is, but for those for whom it isn't it can be really very desolate.

andapartridgeinaRowantree Tue 11-Dec-12 12:29:47

My friend did it herself without a solicitor. She works I'm Sainsbury's cafe but clearly missed a calling to be a lawyer!

Mimishimi Wed 12-Dec-12 01:52:39

I think if I found myself in this situation, I would probably request the courts to give my ex primary custody. Especially if the children were a bit older and did not require the sort of intensive care that they do as toddlers. It is not fair that you have to start a career from scratch and still be expected to look children fulltime, especially if you were the one who was left and didn't have much say in the matter. Giving him primary custody would give you the time and flexibility to concentrate on your job seeking and work if you found it.

olgaga Wed 12-Dec-12 10:50:50

Mimishimi well that's certainly an interesting idea, but it simply wouldn't work in the children's interests if you had been the primary carer. The whole point is that care of the children after separation takes into account the arrangements beforehand to minimise the impact on them.

Athendof Sat 15-Dec-12 11:25:18

Mimishimi, unfortunately, when you have parent who left everyting to care for the children and another one that has primarily focused in his/her career, there will be some clear indications that neither parent will be happy about changing the status quo, simply put the parent at home will see him/herself as the one in a best position to continue caring for the children while the one at work may be unaware of the amount of compromising and sacrifices involved in becoming the main carer.

IME my very career obsesed ex couldn't undersrand any of this as he had always had me as a safety net and expected me to continue to be so after divorce, to the point I ended up loosing my job. Yes, i could have said "acknowledge your responsibilities abd sort it up yourself!" but then you realise that father won't take it and leave the child to pay for it (and even blame you for it).

Viviennemary Sat 15-Dec-12 11:43:14

This thread makes very depressing reading. And the only conclusion to come to is that as an adult you cannot rely on another person totally for financial support. But a lot of couples rely on each other for finances. Rather than one person earning the money and the other looking after the children and home. I've seen quite a few men with good jobs being left much poorer after a separation or divorce they did not want.

scottishmummy Sat 15-Dec-12 12:47:42

imo it's unwise to financially rely upon another adult
if you become housewife you're in v precarious position,no Job,no recent employment
and once kids at school there's no particular need to be at home,other than you've become dependent upon another adult to financially support you

Chandras Sat 15-Dec-12 16:59:42

It is not men or women who get poorer after divirce, both do. It is the same amount of money that after the split should be used to sustain two households rather than one.

Stay at home parents are the ones most affected after split, as they have no income of their own, no recent work experience that help them find a job and some way it it implicitly decided that they will continue to be doing the lions share of childcare after the split. What comes as a shock to most of these SAHP is that the WOHP only needs to pay up to 20% of his net salary a month to comply with legally requirements.

In these circumstances it is understandable that one parent resents loosing up to 20% of their net income while the other one is missing the other 80% of the income.

Bonsoir Sat 15-Dec-12 17:08:41

"and once kids at school there's no particular need to be at home,other than you've become dependent upon another adult to financially support you"

If you want your children to be properly brought up and educated, there are very good reasons for one parent to stay at home once they start school (if you can afford it). But of course, as we sadly know, many parents just don't care whether or not their children are well brought up and well educated.

Feckthehalls Sat 15-Dec-12 17:11:41

andapartridge , how did your friend sue her children's father to whom she was not married ? Is she in Scotland?
I have never heard of such a thing .
Not being married means you have very little protection in a split ( unless in Scotland , but still v limited )
perhaps your friend is not in the UK?

Chandras Sat 15-Dec-12 17:35:36

You can sue your expartner to caugh up more protection for the children, but not to share his property/savings/belongings with you.

Ie. You can ask the court to grant you the right to stay at the family home until your children are 16 or leave for University, but you can sue him/her to get part of the house once the children leave or reach certain age.

Chandras Sat 15-Dec-12 17:36:34

That should have read "you can't sue him"

Feckthehalls Sat 15-Dec-12 17:41:32

exactly my understanding, Chandras

Astelia Sun 16-Dec-12 10:42:15

An excellent thread. I am one of those who carried on working even when the children were small. It was hard and I wouldn't want my DDs to go through what I went through keeping the show on the road with DH travelling so much. How we stayed healthy I don't know. However twenty years on we have reaped the rewards and have had the peace of mind of two incomes. I know I can look after myself and the DDs if necessary.

We advise and help our DDs to save and invest in order to have a private income in the future, even a small one will help them hugely.

Astelia Sun 16-Dec-12 10:53:19

Bonsoir an interested involved parent doesn't need to be hovering over their child to make sure they are working hard and succeeding. Our teens are home from school long before me and DH but over dinner they discuss their days and their homework and ask us about our days. We know what is happening but don't micromanage their lives. It works for us.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now