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I have had enough - I want to leave after 11 years but cant afford to with DDs and we never married. Dont know what to do.

(170 Posts)
lifeswork Sun 02-Feb-14 10:36:30

We have been together for 11 years. I moved into his in 2005 when we were both in our early 30s and we have two DDs. He inherited our home in full at a young age before we were together. As such only his name is on the deeds. We had a good life together and have never had to worry about mortgage payments, just bills and family expenses.

We never got married because he was adamant he didn't want to very early on in our relationship. He said he was scared about the consequences if it went wrong. I pushed as it meant a lot to me to be married for our children but he always belittled the whole idea of marriage which has got to me over time. This is a conversation we have had so many times over the years.

The last 12 months his refusal on marriage and also managing finances has broken any feelings I had for him as a partner. We have been arguing more than ever and sometimes he loses his temper/shouts/storms out of the house and will not come back for hours. He is a good dad but I have had enough of feeling like he wont open himself up to be with me forever. I know he loves me still and I have been trying to work on my own feelings without letting him know how I feel.

However he has been asking what is wrong and the other day I told him all. He refused to even consider getting engaged. Said he would always be with me but having witnessed the consequences of divorce amongst his friends/family he still wasn't going to marry. He even refused to put my name on the deeds of the property and he laughed when I said it would make me feel secure. He said it was in his family before me and his will clearly stated that if he died it would be left to the children with me being able to stay for life.

I have had enough. However I am scared about where to go. We have a joint account for bills but the bulk of our salaries goes into our separate accounts. I have a large sum saved up in my account/savings so could get a deposit together for somewhere in the next few months.

However I cant afford to get a mortgage for a house/flat big enough for me and my daughters in the fairly nice area we live now on my own. I would have to move away from the area which would mean moving my children into a different school. I would also have to move away from my family who are local. I don't want to increase the disruption to my children.

We both earn around the same above average salaries and work FT. I have contributed to the house in decorating costs and paid part of the money for an extension to the property - about 10% of the overall cost for upgrading some of the cheaper stuff (fixtures/fittings) he picked out originally. He has more money saved up than me because he doesn't spend much on himself or us. I pay for most of the children's clothes/presents. He pays for their hobbies. We have always been 50:50 on childcare costs. The house is worth around 400k.

Where do I stand or has anyone been in a similar position? As we are not married do I have a claim on the house as I would like our children to stay in the family home. Ive been reading up and it seems like I do not other than for what i have spent in improvements over the years which would only be about £20-30k. I'm so upset by this as I dont see why I shouldn't have the same protections that a wife would have. If we were married I'm guessing the property would have been divided 50:50 or I could stay until the children left school.

What I'm not sure is that as we have children under 18 with him does this change anything about what I am entitled to as an unmarried partner or if i can stay in the house until they have finished school? He has enough in his own savings account that he could buy another place outright.

Please help. If he changed his mind on marriage I would stay but I cant see that happening.

Hedgehead Tue 04-Feb-14 13:55:29

I feel for you OP. I am not great with the practical side, but on the emotional front...

My exP was similar to your present P. Inherited house, together 7 years, refused to marry me. Thankfully we did not have children which is obviously the big issue here but I came out the other side of that relationship having to pay him a debt. When I left him he was so annoyed with me for leaving for what he called "superficial reasons" ie (that he wouldn't marry me and have kids) he backdated rent on his property (yes, he was trying to get me to pay rent) and followed me round the small claims court for it for years.

These types... I don't know what's wrong with them. I'd say a bad past experience but there was none of that in my P's history. I am so well out of it and you will be too, once you figure out what to do.

olathelawyer05 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:10:42

bragmatic: "Olathelawyer, yes precisely! Which is why in OTHER countries, where common law marriages DO exist there is a chronic housing shortage!!

Oh, hang on. No there isn't."

You are an impressively poor and selective reader bragmatic. If you actually paid attention to what I have said above, you will see that I clearly referred to "...the housing ISSUES we have in THIS country...".

I didn't say anything about 'shortage' - I said ISSUES, which includes the fact that housing is very expensive precisely because there is very high demand. A demand that would only be made worse if cohabiting became a trap for asset division.

I also didn't say anything about 'other' countries - Are you going to deny that housing is expensive in THIS country?

Try reading what people have actually said rather than just making things up in your head.

Bedtime1 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:19:14

All said and done we all know the consequences of having a kid when your not married. And it's not about a business arrangement. If you loved them enough to have a child then why wouldn't you love them Enough to get married?

Thymeout Tue 04-Feb-14 14:20:34

Tinsel What she is saying is, if he married her, she'd stay. So I don't think she can be feeling that 'trapped and stifled'.

I see this quite differently. Imo, she is trying to force him to change his mind by threatening to leave. I hate that sort of blackmail.

As to his attachment to the house, it's quite possibly his old family home or has some sort of emotional connection. He has also had experience of other people being screwed over in divorce settlements.

The only person looking like leaving is OP. He'd be mad to put himself in a position where he would have to move out - for 10? years - until the dc's were 18, and his exP could continue living there, possibly with a new partner. OP says she knows he still loves her and he has said that he would always be with her so it's not emotional commitment that she is lacking.

Contrarian78 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:30:20

Brag I guess so. Though that's not a word I use with any amount of regularity; save for when talking to my other sister (not the one with the bastards) Sorry, I couldn't resist. grin

BeCool Don't worry. I wasn't using it in reference to your children.

Contrarian78 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:32:21

Thymeout Very well put.

BeCool Tue 04-Feb-14 14:43:39

If I had an inherited freehold house, I would probably do what the OP's P has done - I would leave it so my P could live there in the event of my death but it was ultimately left to my DC.

Might not be the most romantic vision, but that is what I would do. I would want to ensure the asset ultimately went to MY DC, not to P's future children or future partner, or worse, future P's children.

If my P had a freehold house that I lived in without paying rent etc, I'd certainly be using the income I would be paying on rent or a mortgage wisely - probably on a mortgage on a rental property.

Sadly I think the OP has missed a trick here.

BeCool Tue 04-Feb-14 14:45:17

"It's likely however that 'bastards' will outnumber children born to married parents in the not too distant future."

Oh but you were!

Tryharder Tue 04-Feb-14 14:49:04

I also have sympathy for your DP.

He said from the start he didn't want to get married.

Why should he sign his family home over to you? So you can divorce him, kick him out of his own home and then remarry???

Sorry if that sounds harsh but you don't sound that loyal to him. He's not a meal ticket. If you want financial security, use some of your wages to invest in a buy to let of your own.

I have a property that I owned before I met my DH. His name is not on the deeds and never will be. I would be barking mad to effectively sign over half my house to my DH. What if, God forbid, he left me and then remarried? His new wife and any subsequent children would then have a claim on my children's home.

Your DP is looking out for what's best for his DCs. I don't blame him.

Contrarian78 Tue 04-Feb-14 15:14:08

BeCool my use of inverted commas was my way of using the term without using it (IYSWIM). Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. Some people it bothers, other people it doesn't. My sister actually gets quite defensive about it for all her protesting that she doesn't care that she's an unmarried mother

The fact is, that most people don't care anymore.

WiseFiver Tue 04-Feb-14 16:00:45

Just saw this and a few pretty tough comments. I feel really sorry for you. Is anyone else able to help?

I'd not be happy if my sister called my children bastards either Contrarian (As it happens I'm married to their father)
Both that and "illegitimate" are so loaded with baggage there's no way you can use them and not heavily risk being offensive.
I've heard my DM use the word "illegitimate" about my DNiece whilst talking at to my DSis.
There's no way I'd use it about any child, except possibly historically if I was doing family research.

BeCool Tue 04-Feb-14 17:12:08

if you don't want to use it, don't use it.

Contrarian78 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:12:23

Juggling I don't disagree. Though be honest, when was the last time you heard anyone calling any kid a bastard (in the true sense)? The same goes for "illegitimate" Those words (in the context of children born to unamrried parents) will likely fall out of use within a generation. There are other things to worry about such as what new word we should invent that's perhaps not as offensive/loaded as 'bastards'

I'll say again, I believe that marriage is the best environment in which to raise a family. Certainly without kids I'd not have personally bothered. I accept that marriage isn't for everyone, but, as is the case with the op, people need to be aware of what rights marriage affords them. Once armed with that knowledge, people can make their own informed decison as to whether it's something they want.

People get married for all sorts of reasons. None of them (in my view) particularly stand up to intellectual scrutiny, but that's life.

Contrarian78 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:13:05

I did want to use it.

Dahlen Tue 04-Feb-14 17:30:55

It's not exactly a current consideration, but one of the main reasons I wouldn't want to get married is because I want to protect my assets for my children. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be considering having any kind of relationship with someone I thought capable of treating me or my DC badly like that, but the world is full of people who believed their spouses wouldn't do the dirty on them.

I think this is a real consideration for anyone with children from a previous relationship. However, the OP's DC are with the man she wants to get married to.

While I completely understand his POV, I feel a bit sorry for the OP. She's basically had all the responsibilities of a wife with none of the pay off, while her DP has been able to feather his nest to his heart's content because she's been spending more on the DC than he has. If I were to cohabit with someone who would 'just' be DC's step parent, I would be encouraging a relationship of financial equality so that i wasn't profiting from his contribution and preventing him from maximising his own financial advantages. And the longer we were together, the less it would worry me about the protection of assets. I can see why parents in blended families sometimes get married after 20 years. I see 11 years as comparatively short, though.

Unlike Contrarian, I don't think marriage is the best way. It is a way. 45% of marriages fail. 55% of cohabiting relationships fail. Of the 55% of marriages that continue, it would be a dreadful mistake to think they are all happy, well-functioning relationships and the difficulties of ending a legal union might keep people together long after the point they should have separated. You could argue - quite convincingly IMO - that the ability of cohabiting parents to go separate ways with a greater ease is actually of benefit to children who may otherwise be caught between bitter, unhappy or downright hostile parents trapped together.

IMO the best way to bring up a child is to have thought long and hard about it - when, why, how and only finally who with. A child born to a single parent inseminated by sperm donor may well have a much more stable family life than a child born by accident to a completely dysfunctional married couple. Marriage does not = good environment in which to have a child.

Contrarian78 Tue 04-Feb-14 18:06:51

Marriage isn't for everyone. It works for me though, and for millions of others. You're right of course, not all marriages are happy, certainly none are happy all of the time; however, neither are all co-habitting couples happy all of the time. Marraige brings certain rights and responsibilities, we're in danger of selling the instituion short - which I think would be a great shame.

The op is a case in point as to what issues may arise (though I'd contend that this particular situation is quite rare) when you are not married.

Lastly, it's my belief that marriage is the best environment into which to raise children. It's a broad and sweeping statement, but for the purposes of generalising, I believe it to be true. My wife, my children, and me (--and the dog--) all have the same surname. I actually quite like that. So does my wife. Of course intellectually it doesn't make any difference, but to us, it somehow does.

As I say, not for everyone, but for us (and millions of others) it works.

Note to self: When did you become a cheerleader for Marriage?

Thymeout Tue 04-Feb-14 18:27:22

Dahlen - OP pays for 'most of the dcs' clothes and presents'. Her dp pays for their hobbies.

We've no idea how much of a discrepancy there is between the two. Activities are year round and can be v expensive. The OP may spend more than she need on their clothes and presents. (Easy, and a pleasure, to do.) But I doubt if there is such a huge difference that it could be described as 'feathering his nest'. If there is, then, obviously it should be addressed.

They've both had the benefit of surplus income due to no housing costs. It's not as if she's been paying rent! She's certainly been in a better position than many wives because of the asset he has brought to the marriage and has shared with her and his children.

Phineyj Tue 04-Feb-14 19:55:35

OP, we are in a similar position financially but with genders reversed. I have shared the money I've inherited with DH, as in used it to pay down mortgage on our jointly owned property. I have brought more assets in terms of £££ to the relationship, for sure, but I would consider treating DH the way your partner has treated you to be pretty mean. We had a tenants in common agreement before marriage, by the way (at that time we lived in his house - I put equity in and my name went on the deeds). You could look into that, with a fair split of the equity in the event you broke up (it can be any split, doesn't have to be 50-50). A solicitor draws it up.

It would really irritate me if my partner were making arrangements for after his death without consulting or involving me. He's not your parent.

If you still love him, go to couples' counselling and talk it out. Meanwhile, look into a buy-to-let, as others have suggested.

plutarch14 Wed 05-Feb-14 02:35:22

OP hasn't come back - probably frightened by some of the responses, most of which are harsh but pragmatic/true.

OP, if you are still reading:

1. It is basically impossible that he will marry you now. The relationship is not in a good place and you may split up. Why would he want to risk his assets?

2. I haven't studied land law for a while but I believe that you are legally entitled to the contributions you made towards the extension/improvement of the house. However, if he refuses to hand it over your only option is to sue him for it. This will be expensive and risky and probably not worth it. You might as well see a solicitor for a consultation (many give a free 30 mins) to clarify this but I am pretty sure this is the case.

3. As others have said, there is no such thing as common law marriage in this country and no one is entitled to anything from another's property just because they have children with him.

Your best bet is to continue saving as much as possible until you have the necessary deposit, then move out if you do not want to continue the relationship.

bragmatic Wed 05-Feb-14 11:39:58

Lawyer, really, the sweeping statements can't be justified. "Tyrannical interference with freedom? Major impacts on housing? And my personal favourite: making a mockery of marriage (not yours, I know, but a pearler. ). People need to calm the fuck down. Except for the Tourette's sufferer up there He should probably to STFU. smile

Twinklestein Wed 05-Feb-14 11:40:30

I agree with Dahlen.

The OP makes it clear that the 'managing of fiances has broken any feelings for him'. He must behaved fairly badly to kill his wife's love.

She also says she has to pay for the children's clothes and presents, while he pays for hobbies. Now it's possible that he spends a comparable amount on hobbies, but the fact is they are non-essential. The OP is having to pay for the essentials. I would not tolerate my H not paying half for clothes and presents because I think it is indicative of failing to take full responsibility for the kids, and is mean-spirited. I find it bizarre he wouldn't want to contribute to presents, that means that all the presents the children have had have been from their mother. It does not put his general disposition in a good light.

She states that he does not spend much on her or the children (so I wonder what his contribution to hobbies can really amount to), thus he has managed to accrue more savings. If that's not feathering your own nest then what is.

The OP has invested money in the house but still has no legal interest in it.
I wouldn't be happy about that either because she has contributed to the overall value from which only her husband benefits.

Twinklestein Wed 05-Feb-14 12:49:54

OP hasn't come back - probably frightened by some of the responses, most of which are harsh but pragmatic/true.

On the contrary, assuming she hasn't been too busy to post, I'd say she's has not come back because so many responses are bitchy, malicious and obnoxious.

I'm trying to figure out why. I can only infer that: a) these posters have such a bigoted and narrow view of marriage they believe no woman in a common law relationship does not deserve protection comparable to wedlock; or b) the fact that the OP lives mortgage free with an 'above average salary' sparks envy resulting in sour grapes that she deserves nothing; or c) schadenfreude.

There is no way on earth I would have children with a man who wouldn't marry me. I would not give a up 18 months of my life to carry 2 children, risk my life to give birth to them, have to take time off work and potentially work shorter hours where they are small, with someone who doesn't have the decency to give me and the children the protection of marriage. And I could not respect a man who insisted on doing so.

I applaud all the posters who have approached this thread with understanding and compassion.

Contrarian78 Wed 05-Feb-14 13:34:15

For me it's "A" with the following amendment:

a) these posters have such a bigoted and narrow view of marriage they believe no woman person in a common law relationship does not deserve can expect protection comparable to wedlock;

TinselTownley Wed 05-Feb-14 14:07:08

Your still daintily skirting around the issue, Contrarian. Should the children of unmarried parents be penalised because of their parents choices?

I don't see how anyone can countenance that morally.

I don't think cohabitation should afford people the same rights as marriage, which I wholly believe in as a declaration of love and commitment. I do, however, think children (and by default) the parent with care should be provided for.

Both parties should work together to achieve the best outcome for the children, in every way. I think it is appalling that it is legally ok for a man to have a child then simply walk away without ensuring said child is clothed, fed and housed.

This is not an issue of dividing property - merely an issue of taking responsibility. Paying 15% of a meagre income and walking away from a stack of debt does not help children. Compulsory mediation and an expectation that both parents be responsible for meeting children's needs should exist with or without marriage.

The current lack of such provision is enormously biased against resident parents (usually the woman) and it is the state that is left picking up the bill. This also happens in marriages where there is no fiscal asset somI can only assume that, for you, it is money that maketh the man, woman and child and not compassion, intelligence and the other finer personable qualities that should lie at the heart of any happy marriage.

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