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Support thread for those going through divorce..?

(183 Posts)
ChangeAfoot Fri 04-Jan-13 18:04:59

It looks as though H and I are going to get divorced, have first appointments with lawyers booked over the next few days. I'm feeling horribly erratic - it was his decision but we've been miserable for ages and he's very difficult to live with. There's also been an affair (his), and his non-stop complaints and criticism, and in recent months his unemployment, to wear us down.

I was wondering if there was already a support thread for those going through these trials, because I'm so up and down and absolutely gutted about the end of "the dream" (albeit a shit one where you wake up in a cold sweat wink) and worrying about what lies ahead - social pariah-hood and destitution, if my worst fears were ever to be realised. I'm so tearful a lot of the time, although am already having flashes of feeling lighter and wondering whether I'll look back and thank my lucky stars.

If there isn't already a thread, and anyone else in a similar position fancies venting with me, then be my guest grin

<seethes in anticipation>

TheseJeansHaveShrunk Sun 06-Jan-13 19:20:26

She70, re your STBXH's proposal, it sounds as though he will get potentially a big windfall if you split the profit on the marital home 50/50. If it were me, I would agree to each party taking out what each had put in, and then dividing any profit thereafter in proportions equal to the original investments.

E.g. let's say you bought your house for £200k with a £100k morgage. You put in £75k and he put in £25k. Now your house is worth £400k and the mortgage is £75k. So you have £325k equity. You take out your original £75k and he takes his original £25k, leaving £225k. You then split that £225k in the ratio 3:1 (in your favour).

That would see "fair" to me.

She70 Sun 06-Jan-13 19:38:24

See thesejeans that is what I thought originally and that is where we have battled. I put in 65% of the original value when we moved in. But his argument is that by me staying in the house he is effectively going to have to rent as his income is tied up on the mortgage on our marital property. So I have 2 options, sell up now and he will agree 70/30 split or the agreement outlined before, plus he is overly generous on his maintenance payment as the CSA won't make him pay anywhere near the amount he has agreed. So in effect he pays me what the csa would make him pay plus the entire mortgage payment.

I suppose I see it that yes, he gets a windfall in a way but he is paying the mortgage, I get to stay in the home I love, the children keep their stability etc so if I lose some in monetary terms I gain in lots of other ways. Does that make sense? He says he is happy with this arrangement as he keeps a stake in the house and on the property ladder that otherwise he wouldn't have.

ChangeAfoot Mon 07-Jan-13 12:36:50

I think those are good points She. You see, in my situation I don't think my H would consider that fair at all, because that would consign him to living in a rental property for the next XX years (until youngest is 18; in our case 15 yrs) and I know he would be virulently against that.

I am having such a tough time. I think one of the DC has just erupted in chicken pox. Which means no nursery time this week. H is also refusing to answer my questions about money (I have £100 to my name) and I don't know what to do about this. Rather than eat in the house with us (he has zero domestic skills) he is choosing to eat/drink out every evening unless I cook for him which I am LOATHE to do unless it's a meal I'm making for the whole family. (In answer to your earlier qn, no I am not doing his laundry.)

How normal is any of this? What am I meant to do if he refuses to give me money? We have an online account for food shops - which reminds me I must do one now! - but other than that and the household bills which he's taking care of, I don't know how I'm ever going to go and see friends, pay for small things for the DC, even pay for legal advice unless I borrow the money!

She70 Mon 07-Jan-13 15:46:31

Oh change that all sounds horrible. When does your child benefit get paid? Have you checked out the child tax credits yet? Apparently you can claim them as soon as your separate even if you are still living at the same address. That's what I was told anyway. Worth checking. The process of claiming was incredibly fast, just one week from me sending in the form to actually getting the money in my bank account!!

Have you asked your ex if he is going to give you any money to live on? What does he say? What did the solicitor say about this?

I think my ex realises that he will have to rent for the foreseeable future. By agreeing what he has at least he is still on the property ladder which is what he wanted. I am not believing any of what he has said until he signs an agreement. So far he has been totally untrustworthy and prone to change his mind at the drop of a hat.

I've done nothing constructive today apart from housework. I really need to get started on my cv but finding it hard to do anything with a sick 2-yr old!

ChangeAfoot Mon 07-Jan-13 16:08:17

I feel like a complete idiot She70 - I have no idea about any of it. We've never applied for child benefit because we were living out of the country when the DC were born, and then I remembered hearing on the news that it was being means tested, and I just assumed we wouldn't get it. So when we got back a year ago, I didn't look into it, and whenever I've mentioned it to friends I've got the impression I wouldn't get it now confused

Also find the benefits calculator utterly incomprehensible, because although yes we are separated we live in the same household, and a lot of the questions are about "household income" or "household assets" and I find it all very confusing!

I spoke to the sol today briefly about the matrimonial rights thing, but basically need to wait until I can see her on Wednesday. I am chomping at the bit!

It's so tough, I am finding it very hard because emotionally I am still reeling from the fact it's definitely over. I can't stop crying, my poor children, I am devastated for them.

She70 Mon 07-Jan-13 16:52:18

change I know exactly how you are feeling. When I first realised my marriage was over I cried continuously for about 5 days. I couldn't eat or sleep and was barely functioning. I'm almost 2 months on and time does help but the thing that helped me the most was empowering myself with information. I went to a solicitor and got advise on h's debt.

Here is a list to help you do some constructive things tomorrow. I promise it will help.

1. Call the tax credits people. They have a. number on the web page at the end. They are incredibly helpful. Tell them your circumstances and they will advise accordingly. For what its worth I answered all those questions when my h was still living at home but I answered them as if he were not. So household income = 0. Assets = 0 etc. I was surprised at what I was entitled to.

2. Child Benefit. This has just changed but if I'm not mistaken you will be entitled to some back payments. It is crazy you were advised to not claim!!! Up until this month it was a universal benefit for everyone! Please Google the child Benefit agency and phone them.

It is only being stopped if one wage earner earns over £50k. Then the amount paid is incrementally lowered up to £60k I think it is when it stops completely. So unless your h earns over £60k you will get something.

Please don't feel bad for crying. It is a good emotion and I just explained to my children that I was feeling sad, as they do sometimes but their hugs definitely helped me feel better. They now seem to have forgotten anything about it! I did try not to cry in front of them too much but took myself off to the toilet a lot.

Right going to get the kids dinner. I'll be back shortly to see if you've seen this message.


ChangeAfoot Mon 07-Jan-13 17:27:20

Thanks so much. Spoke to Child Benefit people (I need to print off a form..) and am going to try tax credits now. Having to do it all with two grumpy toddlers hanging off my leg half the time.

He wants 50 50 parenting yet can't see him thinking about doing any of this.

She70 Mon 07-Jan-13 17:59:28

I know that feeling. Everything I do at the moment involves either one or both dc hanging off me either whinging or kicking the shit out of each other and me being in the middle!

Let me know what tax credits people say.

ChangeAfoot Mon 07-Jan-13 21:29:08

Yes, it's driving me mad, which in my emotional state is making me feel like I'm being a terrible mother!

We made cupcakes today in an effort for me to assuage my guilt, god knows what I did to them but they were UTTERLY VILE and had to be thrown in the bin. Even covered in icing the DC rejected them - a first, CAKE being rejected! Too much baking powder methinks...

Phoned tax credits people and I'm shocked to hear that I'm supposedly eligible for about £113 a week of benefits - they're sending me the forms. It all seemed/s far too easy... but then it's been decades since I had anything to do with that sort of thing and I remember having to almost cut off a limb in order to get my measly thruppence a week when I left university. wink I also need to print off the CB form and get it sent off. Gutted now that we could have been claiming that all bloody year!

Have made vague plans to get out of the house and DO STUFF tomorrow morning. We've done far too much sitting around, we're waiting for THE POX to arrive having exposed DC to it on Christmas Day - now 14 days in and other than one or two spots which have now disappeared, nothing has developed.

Sigh. Anyway. For all this, I'm bloody depressed. I've had a couple of glasses of wine and am off to bed. Knackered my back today and am in agony. Old misery-guts is glooming around somewhere in the house, time to light my ThisWorks sleep candle (smells amazing) and forget my troubles for a few hours.

She70 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:15:34

How are you today change ? Hopefully feeling a bit brighter? I was amazed st the child tax credits too. It was as easy as that and when the form comes you will be even more surprised as its loads easier than the online calculator. I kept checking the form to see if I had missed anything as it was way too straightforward!

Hope you've managed to get out of the house today. I took my 2-yr old to a play group. The first since Xmas. I was dreading it as I know I'm going to have to start telling people about the split but it actually wasn't that bad and I avoided any indepth conversations about how my Xmas had been!

I also called the wikivorce help line and asked them loads of questions about a Financial Consent Order which is what we need I think to get the finances agreed on a legal document.

Oh and called working tax credit people yo ask about being self employed. So all in all a busy productive day!

How is everyone else?

ChangeAfoot Tue 08-Jan-13 16:02:02

Thanks for checking on me She. I am struggling if I'm honest. We had an okay morning, I managed to get the DC out of the house, but they are being such hard work at the moment - non-stop fighting/whinging/crying it seems. Went to a new playgroup thingie, the kind of thing I hate at the best of times, and then burst into tears when filling in the form and it asked "do you consider yourself a lone parent?". sad Having said that we had a long walk there and back and all in all it was a good thing to do - will aim to do it every Tuesday. I really need to get more structure into our lives on the non-nursery days; I think it will really help. The thing that threw me this morning was my emailing H to tell him my mother had offered to pay for flights up to Scotland for us to see her for a week in April and him writing back saying that he didn't agree to it and it needed further discussion. Love the ego trip he's on where he thinks he can take all our money away and keep us trapped living in this house with him while he comes and goes as he pleases, eating out whenever it suits him. Wanker.

Bizarrely there is no further sign of chicken pox, we may have escaped it as it's now 15 days since exposure, so I might get to have my two days of them in nursery this week after all. I really hope so, I am desperate for a bit of time to focus on all the things I need to do, phone calls etc. Off to sol tomorrow, need to get past that so I know further where I stand.

MOSagain Tue 08-Jan-13 16:37:53

Just joining in if you don't mind. I'm very up and down and still on the fence. A week before Christmas I went to the local court, filled out all the papers and wrote the cheque out but then the office was closing so I had to go away and get the papers copied before I could issue and to date, I've not been back. I had been so certain but.....................

changeafoot, you don't need his permission as I think you now know. If you want to take them to visit your mum you can. He is just being, to quote a mumsnet favourite word, twunt!

ChangeAfoot Tue 08-Jan-13 16:41:40

MOS - sorry to hear you also (may?) find yourself in this situation. Oh how I know the 'on the fence' feeling... sadly we've been that way throughout most of our marriage confused

Thanks again for the support; I appreciate it so much. X

She70 Tue 08-Jan-13 20:09:20

Well change that is definitely something you can check with your solicitor tomorrow. I don't know for sure but I don't think he can stop you from visiting your Mum! Best get armed with the facts and then tell him. What an arse. I can imagine he is loving the power trip. Where in London are you? If you don't want to say then send me a message as it may be that we are not that far away and I'm happy to meet up. We could maybe support each other in real life too!

mos I know what you mean about being on the fence. Even though there is no going back for us when I was speaking to the wikivorce lady today I said I just wanted to get the consent agreement sorted because I didn't actually want to get a divorce! I guess I will come round to the fact of getting divorced but I'm definitely not there yet.

My knob of an ex has somehow wangled more money into his part of the settlement this evening. Its only 5k but its technically not his but I can't be bothered to argue anymore. I just want him to sign this bit now so I can start planning for the future for me and the children.

Its all so draining isn't it?! I am really struggling with the 2 little ones on my own. I am ok when the eldest is at school but when they are both home after 3pm and the bickering and fighting starts I literally want to scream. I'm just hoping that things will settle down soon as some days I think I could just walk away too!

ChangeAfoot Tue 08-Jan-13 22:40:56

I'm SE She so prob not that far from you. smile

What an evening. Went to our "final" Relate session (booked before all this happened) and I'm left feeling like a seething bag of resentment, whereas H is calm, rational, and all for an amicable split.

I can't write much now, have been out for dinner (with H, we spent most of the evening staring at opposing walls - we have become "That Couple"!!) and am shattered.

I've also found a Divorce Support Group who are having a workshop in early February and think I'm going to go. A day with psychotherapists (ex barristers I think) and 12 others going through the same thing, in central London, what's not to love?! wink

MOSagain Wed 09-Jan-13 07:55:36

Morning, sorry you had a crap evening change

she don't know anything about your situation but just wanted to comment on what you said about just wanting the consent agreement sorted and not wanting to divorce. Do you mean a Consent Order setting out the finances? If so, you can't lodge it at the Court for approval by the DJ until Decree Nisi has been pronounced and until it is sealed (approved) by the Court it is not 100% watertight. Don't want to worry you but perhaps you might want to check it/clarify that point. There are lots of family lawyers that lurk on 'legal' if you have any queries on it.

ChangeAfoot Wed 09-Jan-13 10:01:06

Morning MOS. I'm off to the sols this lunchtime... have dropped girls at nursery (no pox?!) which is a godsend. So now I have a bit of time to prepare myself...

Yes, last night was depressing. Firstly the fact that he remained so calm and civil and determined while I was just a blubbing, desperate wreck at the counsellor. I lashed out a lot at him and basically didn't behave with any decorum really, and now feel dreadful about that. We both drank at dinner, and then came home and had a slightly drunken argument about "the facts" and where we both stand. He is holding a very calm and "sensible" position and saying that to get litigious will be a disaster for the children and that we must put them first, so we MUST handle this with mediation and remain amicable. I am extremely nervous about mediation, although am prepared to try it although with the backing of a solicitor. He also told me that the reason he freaked out about Scotland was that he misread my email and thought I meant from the 9th of Jan - ie leaving today rather than in April hmm - for this he apologised.

He is absolutely adamant that from the research he has done (he has an academic/legal mind and would have been well suited to the Bar) it is unequivocally the case that children do better if residency is shared between both parents. I need to talk to the sol about this today. Collaborate gave me two links to papers which say that the Law Society disagrees, but I understand that this is the government's position and it terrifies me. He admits he has had little to do with the legwork of parenting but says he is "looking forward to learning" (said with beatific smile on face). Sigh. He is a great dad and I absolutely want him to have a massive role and consequent influence on their lives, I just don't want them to have two homes!

olgaga Wed 09-Jan-13 10:09:42

Hi, for anyone going through this do have a look at the useful information and links here.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 10:43:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

olgaga Wed 09-Jan-13 11:13:18

I would say that the best arrangements for children are to keep things as close as possible to how they were before separation, and keep disruption to a minimum.

If one of you has always been the primary carer, that should not change just because you as a couple decide to separate.

The children's education and social lives also have to be accommodated in the best way possible.

Children are not possessions or assets to be wrangled over and divided up. It is their right to maintain a relationship with both parents, but that doesn't have to mean they have to live in two homes if it doesn't suit them.

Shared residence does not mean spending half their time in one parent's home and half the time in the other's.

Children need a settled and stable home. They need routine and to know where their possessions are and where they will sleep at night. Shared residence orders can often complicate matters with children moving between the different homes in a way that is unsettling and difficult for the child. This undermines the child’s stability, to the detriment of the child.

From the discussion paper prepared by the Children in Families Committee of the Family Justice Council.

DoubleYew Wed 09-Jan-13 11:26:03

LA is supposed to still be available for domestic abuse cases. Not sure how they assess that. Have you disclosed to someone, gp maybe?

There are no changes to LA in Scotland, if that is relevant to anyone.

Agree also about 50/50. Its about taking 50% of responsibility for children, which might actually mean working to support them, not 50% of the minutes in the week with them. Having said that I know parents who take turns each week and that works welll for everyone (older children though). Dad was a sahd some of the time when they were little so it made sense.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 11:37:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

comingintomyown Wed 09-Jan-13 12:50:09

She70 " Its only £5k but its technically not his but I cant be bothered to argue anymore"

When you are doing your financial agreement do not allow your enthusiasm or energy to flag. This is your one shot at securing the fairest and best deal for you and your childrens future and once a deal is closed its closed. I remember well the temptation to say fuck it I cant be bothered let him do what he wants but a good friend gave me the above advice for which I am grateful.

In time you will be over this and the last thing you want is to be kicking yourself at being in a compromised financial position if you didnt need to be. That £5k could pay for a number of things in the future !!!

She70 Wed 09-Jan-13 14:45:47

mos , thanks I didn't realise that! I need to start checking my facts and if that means starting divorce proceedings I'd better get my head round it pretty sharpish. I will start digging.

Has anyone used, or know of anyone who. has used the Wikivorce website for any of this stuff, like consent agreements etc?

change hope the solicitor meeting went well. I think you should be congratulated on going for dinner with your h and him ending up not wearing it! My x sounds exactly like yours. All that "I'm so calm" bollocks whilst making me out or riling me to become, s complete crazed woman. Drives me mad so you have my sympathies.

ChangeAfoot Wed 09-Jan-13 17:26:41

So. Back from the solicitor. Wish it had left me feeling a bit more optimistic. She was great, although I had to hold back from making a judgement based on the state of their offices, which were shabby to say the least. But she seemed calm, on my side, and not inflating me into thinking things were possible that probably aren't or are at least up for grabs.

She thought he didn't have a hope in hell of getting 50 50 residency (meaning 50% of contact as well as shared residency itself). But she did think the issue of housing was more complex, made all the more so by the fact that H doesn't have a job. The frightening thing to contemplate is that he has planned to do this at a time when he isn't working (he is rarely out of work and has always been very confident - I've never known him not get a job out of an interview --I'll give him that--) because by definition he is going to find it very hard to house himself by getting another mortgage/etc whilst not working, and therefore it makes it much more likely we'll need to realise our assets. sad

One good thing is that she strongly suggested I try to get Income Support because if I'm eligible for that, she can take me on as a Legal Aid case. That would be amazing. I have just completed the 400000000 question phone interview and he said that he thought I would be eligible. I was bricking it a bit because I have a rental flat but... fingers crossed, he said he thought I should get it based on my answers.

Oh god this is all so scary, and I can't believe I'm now fully versed with benefit claiming procedure. I am struggling to find the good side in this at the moment.

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