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Leaving wife

(58 Posts)
oldshilling Fri 27-Sep-13 11:14:28

I'm a man, I got married young, I never really lived on my own (except uni).

I've been married for 10 years.

We have two children.

The marriage is a sham, my wife has a succession of emotional affairs on Facebook, which she thinks I don't know about (I have found out in the past).

She acts like things are normal, and gives no indication of what she's doing.

I have made threats to do stuff in the past, but she has seen enough times that I don't carry through. There's no point in me confronting her again, because I'd just look stupid having done it so many times before.

What do I do?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 11:16:53

Sorry you're so unhappy. I'd suggest that you get some information on what it would mean practically to separate - accommodation, looking after the children, finances, maintenance etc - make a few plans and then present her with a fait accompli. It's sad but it happens and it's time to follow through. Very best of luck

kinkyfuckery Fri 27-Sep-13 11:17:58

How adamant are you that it is time to leave? Would she be open to some sort of counselling? Would you?

AndHarry Fri 27-Sep-13 11:19:07

Have you tried marriage counselling? My husband and I were on the brink of separation earlier this year but talking through our issues in a neutral way has really helped.

oldshilling Fri 27-Sep-13 11:21:33

The problem with the practicalities is it feels to me like I am punishing myself.

I arrange to split up with her, and then hand over hundreds of thousands of pounds.

What a result.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 11:23:20

Hundreds of thousands? Are you sure? Nevertheless this is your life we're talking about. What price respect, happiness, honesty, peace of mind.... ? Money and property you can accumulate again. Once your self-respect's gone, you're in a bad way.

hand over hundreds of thousands of pounds
Really!!??? Are you a billionaire?
If so then that amount won't matter to you.
Find yourself a family lawyer and talk it through and see what the impact would be.
Don't assume anything.
Does she work? Did she give up her career to be a SAHM?
Get all the details first then make a decision.
Life is way too short to be unhappy for the best part of it!

Ezio Fri 27-Sep-13 11:26:45

Money is nothing compared to having a sense of self worth.

Now your can accept things and prey her EA doesnt turn into PA or you can decide, that your worth more, and you should a woman who appreciates you for what you do.

Its your choice.

But trust me, i tried to hold on, it sucked and it hurt.

oldshilling Fri 27-Sep-13 11:30:29

kinkyfuckery, AndHarry:

I am two people.

1. I am an intelligent person who provides for his family.

2. I am shy and socially inept and I have no friends.

Both of these are accurate descriptions.

In the past my wife has seen me as #1. Now she clearly sees as me as #2, and she walks all over me. She has quite a forceful personality, like her mother.

As long as she sees me as #2, it will be a sham.

I'm not sure I could ask for counselling at this point. She would be 'Why, what's wrong', and then I would have to tell her that I have used spyware to find out what she is doing and that is the reason.

And I don't want to tell her that because I know that I cannot trust her, based on repeated past behaviour, so as long as she is with me I won't tell her about the spyware, because she'd just be more sneaky. The only point I could tell her was if I presented her with divorce papers.

oldshilling Fri 27-Sep-13 11:35:03

hellsbellsmelons, she works in a low-paid line of work. She definitely wouldn't be consdiered to have sacrificed a career.

We have about £500k in savings, I assume that would be split 50/50.

We've had a good lifestyle with several foreign holidays per year and so on, and I assume that she's entitled to continue with that.

Oh and the EA is not in this country, she wouldn't see him for months at the earliest. I think she likes the fantasy aspect.

fluffyraggies Fri 27-Sep-13 11:36:19

You can divorce a person based on irreconcilable differences though. I'm sure.

Marriage is not a prison sentance. If you want out you get divorced.

You should see a family lawyer and tell them the truth and see what advice they give you.

A 50/50 split if any property were to be sold, and any assets split up is fair enough, IMO, and worth it to be free.

I'm no expert, but the above sums up my own divorce very simply. Life's too short to stay unhappy.
Best of luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 11:39:12

"I am shy and socially inept and I have no friends"

Then the last person you should be with is someone who lowers your self-confidence with emotionally or physically bullying behaviour. Joint counselling is not recommended if that's the case but you could benefit from individual counselling to help you to reject it rather than thinking you have to tolerate it. BTW... you can be up front about the spyware. Two wrongs don't make a right but keeping this to yourself is only harming you and not the guilty party.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 27-Sep-13 11:40:09

£250k to be free and happy? Bargain! And the beauty of it is - YOU STILL HAVE £250k JUST FOR YOU.

By the way, your not actually handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds. Half of that money belongs to your wife anyway - it's NOT YOURS TO GIVE HER so get out of the mindset or you'll just be bitter forever.

Mintyy Fri 27-Sep-13 11:41:23

You have to stop thinking about the money! She will get what she is entitled to and that is all.

kinkyfuckery Fri 27-Sep-13 11:41:37

You don't need to tell her about the spyware. You are unhappy - that is a good enough reason to leave a relationship.

Think of the money you would be spending if you were staying in the relationship. Over the years you would probably still 'hand over hundreds of thousands of pounds'. This way, yes it stings, but you get it all over in one go, and you both get to move on and get a chance at happiness.

Please don't stay in an unhappy marriage for money. Don't teach your children that 'settling' is ok.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 11:43:07

"I assume that she's entitled to continue with that."

Not exactly. Any financial settlement you reach has to be fair and reflect the relative contribution of each party and the needs of any children. If she gave up a career for example to enable you to further yours. You can be a good exH and you can even be generous without necessarily being a meal-ticket for life.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 27-Sep-13 11:43:21

Can you tell us more about the spyware though? How much was it and was it easy to install

fluffyraggies Fri 27-Sep-13 11:47:51

Yes cog is right (it's all coming back to me now). My XH agreed to a larger % of the house sale to go to me to offset my lack of career due to raising the 3 kids.

I sweetened the offer by relinquishing any rights over his pension money or future assets he may aquire. My immediate financial needs for housing the children and myself were greater than his housing needs for just himself at that moment.

You need advice, because every situation is different. Legally the priority will always be towards the children's needs. Rightly so.

oldshilling Fri 27-Sep-13 11:50:15

The spyware works very well.

It costs $50. You can download a free trial, but they will pop up messages, so it's only good for testing, you couldn't use it to spy on someone.

It takes screenshots of everything you do, shows what web pages you've been on, and also logs all keystrokes, so you can find passwords, etc. You can filter by website and search and so on. It's quite impressive considering the potential for bullshit/scams with this kind of stuff.

fluffyraggies Fri 27-Sep-13 11:51:25

... but i will repeat it was worth every moment of the dragged out legal tangle which is divorce, and i don't regret it for one second. We managed to keep the children protected from it too, and they are happier now than when we were together pretending to be happy.

Rambling now - but be brave and get some advice.

middleeasternpromise Fri 27-Sep-13 19:40:52

You are in deep trouble - she is cheating on you and you are checking up on her. You are both caught up in dishonesty in what should be the most trusting of relationships in your life. Either you need to take immediate steps to fix it or get out before you experience any more damage. You are lucky you have enough money to give you options. I would personally move out if only temporarily, so you could gain some confidence in yourself again. Living like you are must be killing you. You will be alot better out of that environment and then maybe you can think what you really want and she can learn to have some respect for you.

perfectstorm Fri 27-Sep-13 21:29:47

The thing is, if you are systematically spying on her and she is systematically cheating, then you're constantly rubbing your nose in your own misery. And yes, she'd take half the family savings if she left, but realistically you're already supporting her and would continue to do so if the marriage lasted, and she'll always be entitled to half the family pot, so why not cut your losses and file for divorce now? You have no affection or respect for her, you know you can maintain a very nice life without her, and you could meet someone you love who loves you back. Why accept such a miserable, soul-destroying life, and all for money? As long as you still have enough to live a pleasant and interesting life, why allow resentment for her to wreck your own happiness?

At least see a solicitor and find out what your legal obligations would be. You're making major life decisions on assumptions which may be misplaced - if you can house her and there are substantial savings, other than ongoing child support you might not be expected to support her in perpetuity as you seem to think. Find out?

Life is too short to be this miserable. You ARE worth more and you can be happy again.

betterthanever Fri 27-Sep-13 21:55:00

There is some great advice for you OP - I just wanted to add that having such a low opinion of yourself will not be helped by staying. You think that you are socially inebt and shy and that is a problem but to someone, many people I am sure - who you are is wonderful.
It is never easy for anyone to leave a relationship no matter what the reason or the circumstances.
You have just made step one to happiness - it does not need to be done now or quickly. Keep posting and making yourself happy.

ofmiceandmen Fri 27-Sep-13 23:03:39

Trust funds or invest in a Ltd company, basically move the money away from you in every shape and form. Be prepared to play the pauper if need be.

Protect your DC's financial assets then squirrel the rest away in said trust fund or business.

I would definitely regardless of what you decided - speak to a private banking adviser. and i don't mean your local crappy money adviser.

You're an intelligent person - which normally means the social ineptness and lack of friends would have been a norm in your younger life.

Ditto the marrying someone of your wife's earning potential - I bet you thought you could at least trust her to stay faithful. Wrong! She may even be foreign. (don't worry join the club).

Reduce the household expenditure, stop the bug buys - high cost clothes etc. run this for a year - so that when you get to court and she wants to play the 'maintain a lifestyle' card - you have a history of frugal spending.


Join a polo club (season ends soon but there's enough time) or some thing that gets you out and about. time to recreate yourself. start to look after yourself and trust me they will come!. basically build it (whatever you imagine to be an ideal man).

cherry - do not reveal any anger, emotions or intent. play her game. Get the kids into boarding school if you can now!

Then when you are whole again and have set up the firewall of your assets. - broach her with the evidence and leave. use the affair as your reason for the divorce

Downside- she will win the kids - residential parent etc, but if you live close you will get 50% time.

Good luck - time the good nice guys that get cheated on to finally stand up!.

perfectstorm Fri 27-Sep-13 23:18:11

An emotional affair (let alone a string of them) is certainly grossly unreasonable behaviour, but as the evidence was obtained in the way it was I'm not certain it's exactly usable in any adultery petition. As no physical contact has been made there has been no adultery. It doesn't really matter, anyway: behaviour is irrelevant to the settlement and unreasonable behaviour has a subjective test - all you need to prove is you can't bear to live with the other person anymore, for whatever cause.

Out of interest, when you say emotional affairs - can I ask what you mean by that? And did you think your marriage was happy before that? If so, why the spyware?

I would also caution you to consider the children's lives if you successfully arrange matters so that your ex-wife lives in very straitened circumstances. And I would suggest you consider their best interests/ages rather than your own future bank balance when deciding whether or not to send them to boarding school. They're going to have to cope with their world collapsing as it is - is packing them off to be institutionalised really a good addition?

You are not a walking wallet, absolutely. But she has also been your kids' mother, your wife, and she did work rather than remaining a lady who lunches. However justifiably angry you are, do you really think setting out to destroy her financially is reasonable, either? And do you think the hostility that sequence of events would unleash is going to be anything but devastating to the children? Unless she's been an appalling mother and spouse, she's contributed a lot. I am assuming you work long hours and she has picked up the slack with the kids and the household, alongside her own work. She will have lifted domestic responsibility from your shoulders and provided your kids with security and a homelife. I don't think that's meaningless.

ofmiceandmen Fri 27-Sep-13 23:49:30

If all this is true- then his wife has lost the right to use the DC as some 'human shield'. He did not chose to be in this position - her actions have made this set of circumstances play out.

He is the kids father as much as she is the kids mother. is his contribution any less?

By setting up trust funds the OP protects his children's interest now and in the future.
She has broken her part of the marriage contract so he no longer has a duty to care for her. it's that simple. She works - so she can now live within her actual means. seems very fair to me.

He is not setting out to destroy her but is allowing her to adjust to her 'actual means'.

Whatever she has saved in all the years - she is most welcome to it, I'm sure.
He sustained the family financially , she she sustained the family equally practically. now shake hands and let her go off to foreign chap perhaps they can use his savings grin wish them good luck.

Now go make yourself whole.

the alternative is she fleeces you. cheats and gets the dosh - nice. and by the way it's not 50% she gets -
it's circa 70% when you consider all homes, pensions, children maintenance etc if you go down the 'head in sand' route. (aka as the chump route).

ofmiceandmen Fri 27-Sep-13 23:52:06

and apologies if it feels harsh and dramatic- but I'm afraid it is.

you could trust that she is amicable and reasonable - but look what happened the last time you trusted her.

she's told you who she is (over and over again)- time to listen.

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 00:17:05

What's harsh is that at no point have you stopped to think about the welfare of the children. Not once - and no, hiding money in trust funds for their adulthood is not thinking of their welfare when most vulnerable - as children. Your whole post is about money - make their primary home a poor one, pack them off to boarding school so she can't claim primary care anymore, create a war between their parents. Uh huh. Very child-centred.

And OP has already stated that the savings are family/joint savings, too, so he'd have to account for them. Judges aren't idiots and when a man divorces his wife after placing large sums of money outside reach, if she has a decent lawyer he'll look as guilty of asset-hiding as he in fact would be.

If their father works very long hours and their mother did and does most of the care of the children and running of the home, then that has more value in terms of their emotional wellbeing, yes. It doesn't mean his contributing financially isn't important to caring for them too, obviously, but don't kid yourself that he could have raised them as effectively and well as with a wife who shouldered most of the domestic burden. Their family pot was partly created by the person lifting those responsibilities from the OP. You might not like that fact, but fact it remains.

I've already told the OP I think he deserves much better and should leave, but you know very little about this, as do I (she's had Facebook conversations that cross a line - what extent they crossed a line and what they entail, neither of us know, as the term "emotional affair" covers a multitude and varying degrees of sin) and forgive me, but it sounds rather as though you are projecting your own horrible experiences here, in advising drastic and questionably legal actions on another person's life. Several lives, in fact, given wife and kids are involved. This is not just about gender. I've seen men here whose wives have behaved absolutely disgustingly and I've advised them to up the time with their kids to support a claim for shared care, and to not take any crap. But I've never advised either side to rip the other off because that's just... wrong. And you're doing it on solely gender grounds, because you feel aggrieved over your own divorce - right? Apologies if that's wrong but that is certainly how your postings read.

No, he shouldn't be fleeced and I already said he needs to seek legal advice as soon as he possibly can to take steps to avoid that, so he can get his ducks in a row. But there's a difference between being self-protective and being a complete shit. A difference between ensuring he has a fair settlement and sees his ex-wife out in the cold, along with their kids, when she's actually pulled her weight as far as we know as a mother and housekeeper so the OP could work as hard as he has.

My father was a complete shit to all his ex-wives. Did all the sorts of things you say. All his kids despise him and I have no contact, and he will get near my kids over my dead body. And I didn't even like the stepmother he shafted the most badly - she treated the kids from the first marriage like crap. But he also shafted my half-brothers in evading sharing family assets with their mother, and I find that reprehensible. I also find it abhorrent that, however much of a cow she was and probably is, he took her running his home and raising his kids for 15 years and then screwed her into the ground and out of what was fair at the divorce. It was her money, too.

Do what you want, but be aware the consequences may be that the children of the marriage will draw their own conclusions about what sort of person that makes you. In my father's case the general conclusion is "sociopath". We despise him. In my husband's parents' case, he's on good terms with both - and they are with one another - after a divorce settlement that saw both housed and both able to live reasonably well. I know which childhood was preferable and which set of divorcees are happiest, too. My FIL is a genuinely contented and happy man, who's been blissfully esconced with someone else now for 15 years, is on great terms with his ex-wife and has a son and gs who adore him. Chump? I don't think so.

I suppose it depends on what matters most to you in life.

oldshilling Sat 28-Sep-13 02:28:15

Yes my wife is foreign.

I'm quite fortunate with regards to potential child custody arrangements in that I spend more time with my children than my wife. I work from home, I pick them up from school (she drops them off), and I take them on most of their trips and outings. My wife isn't keen to take them on days out.

In my case my wife hasn't facilitated the family pot at all (as I make my money at home while the kids are at school)

It wouldn't be appropriate for my children to go to boarding school, and it's not appropriate to punish my wife by depriving them of contact with her.

I like the idea of a trust fund. One that covers their school fees up to age 18 would speak for quite a substantial portion of my savings, and there would be less then to split. The amount of savings that we have is hugely arbitrary. Many couples have nothing so when divorce comes the wife is left with nothing, I don't feel that she is deserving of half of our savings when I have carefully managed, budgeted and invested over the course of our marriage and when we first got married we were indebted and my prudence got us from debt to £££. (Her own family all make very poor financial decisions and we actually recently had to bail out her mother from debts of over £10k, which were just down to very poor money management). It seems rather random and arbitrary that my (to be ex) wife should be entitled to a large sum of cash, which she hasn't contributed to, and couldn't hope to have earned herself.

I told my wife a few months ago that if she wanted to go she should go and have however many relationships she liked, but while she was married to me, no way.

She didn't listen. The Facebook man she had met before, in her country. She carried on with him on Facebook after meeting him in person. And then it stopped after I made some interventions. I told her to block + delete, but she refused.

She went away for the weekend earlier in the year to see a female friend. When she came back her friend [on Facebook] asked how her 'boyfriend' was. This was some random bloke she met in the club. She deleted his number from her phone and also deleted SMSes she sent to him. But I was able to find a record of the SMSes, and also the deleted phone number. But I don't know what happened.

We went back to her country recently. As I knew, the Facebook man was nowhere near where we staying. And then someone said to me 'X, has he wronged you'. And I said 'Yes'. And he said 'He always asks whether you're around, he's scared of you'. It turned out he had come back, presumably because my wife was there, and had been there for 3 weeks.

My wife had met him, and said nothing to me about it. I don't really know how often, because I would be looking after the kids or whatever and she was 'at her mum's house', or something.

After she came back she has been messaging him on Facebook. She's very paranoid, because she wipes the messages to him regularly, even though she always signs out of her Facebook, and regularly changes the password. I haven't read all the messages, for this reason. But I've seen she said 'I miss you. sad It's so hard being far away from you.' and 'I call you every day, but we can't get to talk'.

So it's inappropriate at best, and anyway I made the entirely reasonable request that she should have no contact with this man at all. She doesn't care and thinks she can do as she pleases.

Obviously I can never trust her at all. I feel she has a mindset whereby she cares for her family + her children but not me. Her family can trust her, her children can trust her, but I can never ever again trust her (and I did before trust her - I didn't set out to spy on her, I placed my complete trust in her for many years, I never told her not to meet men, or suspected that she was messing around, it was just her carelessness that brought it out).

Did you buy your wife in the first place? Your posts come across as though you consider her somewhere between a pet and an employee.

Yogii Sat 28-Sep-13 09:16:00

If she's a low earner then she'll struggle once you split. If she takes 50% of your savings she'll go through them and then come to you when the kids need support in the future. You'll end up paying more towards them than she will, because she won't have the cash and you'll want to provide what the kids need.

Therefore, agreeing a separation of some of the savings into a fund to provide for their education etc. is a good idea.

But then, take a 50/50 split on the rest, and get out.

There's one over-riding fact, the sooner you split the sooner you stop paying into the joint account.

Lazyjaney Sat 28-Sep-13 09:26:20

Take the hard nosed advice here, and do it sooner rather than later.

joanofarchitrave Sat 28-Sep-13 09:34:21

Get some serious legal advice asap. I think you are in a strong position. I also think that the sooner you get out of this relationship, the sooner you will have some peace in your life.

I would also advise some therapy, as you sound as if you have low self-esteem. You have provided for and cared for your children, you are their world and you should feel good about that.

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 10:06:04

I agree you're in a very strong legal position because you're primary carer for the children. Contrary to common belief, that is what matters - not gender. Honestly, go and see a very good solicitor and sooner rather than later. Primary carers are the usual main beneficiaries in any split because housing and caring for the children is the courts' priority, and there is rarely enough for both sides to carry on living as they did when a family unit. But at the same time, leaving your wife really struggling is not fair on the kids. I'd try to ensure she has some provision, at a reasonable level. It hurts them when one parent is really impoverished - my brothers have been so distressed by that with their own mother.

In these circumstances I wouldn't blame you in the slightest for establishing a trust fund for the kids, and if you're self-employed/a freelancer and they're being privately educated it might actually be a pretty prudent thing to do, anyway. You never know what the future holds, after all.

Finally if you work from home and have really low confidence that's a bit of a self-perpetuating cycle. Polo seems a ridiculously expensive (and very macho) hobby for most, but if you were to think about your main areas of interest (Music? Theatre? Cinema? Books? Football? Anything at all that you have a genuine interest in) and try to look for a group dedicated to that interest, that could be a real opening to some new friends and a new life. I know it's cliched advice, but a book club was so good for a lot of people I know. Like many cliches it's oft-repeated because it's true on many occasions.

This is such a horrible situation. I hope things resolve for you less painfully.

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 10:23:53

Establishing a trust fund to enable the children to continue their current education is prudent, sensible and just.

"Squirrelling away money" to enable you to "play the pauper" isn't.

ofmiceandmen Sat 28-Sep-13 10:38:06

Op - I didn't magically guess that she was foreign and yes I read between the lines you were the main child carer. I've been there.
You have most likely blamed your W's detachment as PND or something or rather and came to the rescue so that kept you on a high long enough but reality has dawned and the excuses and tinted glasses are off.

keeping it 'truthful'-
you will most likely eventually lose in the courts ref the DC. she will get primary-residential custody. you may get 50% time but she will be nominated as the residential parent.
Why you ask?
1. the courts - esp magistrates - sadly still see women as the 'mother' figure and are reluctant to remove children from the mother - see baby P, daniel pelka etc

2. you are the main bread winner - magistrates want to retain a family set up and subconsciously they will feel if they gave you the kids your earnings could suffer, or that she will be out in the cold

3. She is foreign -
I eventually lost as they felt I was denying the DC her culture and language WTF! (considering I speak 4 other languages incl spanish, italian and french)
so big tip! communicate to the courts that you want to encourage regular visits to her country so the children experience it and language exposure.

4. Public perception- in front of a judge you will always win. facts! but once on front of magistrates you will be a faceless man who mirrors all the twunts that MNers are constantly on about.

your child care = controlling
you main earner = financially controlling
her depression = awww shame
her cheating = she was looking for a way out
her not looking after the children = PND but miracle she has recovered or is getting help
you main earner = she will be a penniless divorcee awww bless we cant have that.

So prepare for it, fight tooth and nail, but be ready for it to happen.

Good luck

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 10:57:34

Oldshilling- treat ofmicenadmen's advice with circumspection............

TheCrackFox Sat 28-Sep-13 11:21:12

I really think you need to get some proper legal advice not just some randoms on the internet spouting off.

TBH it sounds like your wife has had more than an emotional affair.

50/50 would be fairer on your children. Their childhood should be a happy one and not some pawns in a long drawn out battle of attrition. However, the trust fund for their education (don't forget university too) is sensible even for people not splitting up.

LordLurkin Sat 28-Sep-13 11:23:06

mice are you fucking serious? You are advocating him to be hugely dishonest and corrupt and also to place himself on dodgy legal grounds?

Also you can get statements going back 6 years from the bank and all 1 year of frugal spending on the same income will do is boost the expected savings pot.

ofmiceandmen Sat 28-Sep-13 11:25:11

I actually agree with curlew

treat my advice with circumspection

my aim is to present a balancing perspective as the advice prior to this was very 'kid gloves'

Best of luck

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 11:38:24

"my aim is to present a balancing perspective as the advice prior to this was very 'kid gloves'

Balancing? Putting the children in boarding school then lying to the court? Wow.

TheCrackFox Sat 28-Sep-13 12:13:59

Yes, nothing says "I love you" more than by living like papers, then putting them into boarding school and divorcing their mum. Still, the Op could use the money he saved on the divorce for all the therapy the children will need as adults.

TheCrackFox Sat 28-Sep-13 12:14:55

Living like paupers, even. Bloody autocorrect.

oldshilling Sat 28-Sep-13 12:46:58

Thanks for your perspectives. ofmiceandmen's POV is not one I'd follow all the way, but I thank him for it, just for showing me the other side of the coin, so I can come to a sensible compromise in the middle.

I'm not actually sure if my wife would ask for half the money anyway, so it's just a perspective.

I took the kids out swimming yesterday after school, and I was musing the situation over in my mind. My kids get long school holidays and I was considering taking them away with me, to her country. Just me and them (although I know a family who is also going there).

She's only been working for a little over a year. Last summer was pretty miserable, we didn't go anywhere, because she was working. Last Christmas we didn't either, because she had to work up to Christmas and the only flights are expensive (normally I like to leave the earlier part of December when it's much cheaper).

So I'd leave her behind and have Christmas in the sun rather than spending the holidays at home in the cold + dark.

I think it would surprise her, she probably doesn't think I'm organised enough. She'd be jealous though.

I'd take the kids to see their grandmother. I like my mother-in-law. She's a good person, even if she is haphazard.

I would also investigate the legality of our marriage while I'm out there. It's possibly not legally valid.

Actually I have been thinking about therapy, separate to this, for a while. I emailed a CBT psychologist on Friday, but she hasn't replied yet. I'm hoping it would better equip me for coping without my wife and just not being the loser in this situation.

My wife earns £15k. I don't know how much you need to get by any more. We used to manage on around £30k, with the occasional holiday.

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 12:54:59

"I would also investigate the legality of our marriage while I'm out there. It's possibly not legally valid."

Why is this relevant?

oldshilling Sat 28-Sep-13 13:16:36

If the marriage is not valid, then we were never married. In that case she has few rights.

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 13:18:35

"If the marriage is not valid, then we were never married. In that case she has few rights."

That is absolutely not true. You need good legal advice and quickly.

gybegirl Sat 28-Sep-13 15:40:21

In certain countries, if you are not married the father has NO rights over the children!

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 16:00:35

OP, please just go and see a good lawyer.

And please bear in mind that having the marriage declared invalid (you're right on the impact on financial claims, of course, at least in this country) may have a huge emotional impact on your children. They are the product of that marriage, after all. In fact as a rule of thumb the more conflicted any split is, the worse it is on the kids. I'd also point out that £15k is ten grand a year below the average wage in this country and well below the poverty line, too. Is that really how you want your ex to live, given her role in the children's lives? ofmiceandmen is driven by vengeance and bitterness, to judge from his posts, and that is a shortcut to very damaged children indeed.

Again, a good lawyer. And the CBT sounds a good idea as well, though I'd also ask your GP to refer you to a psychologist privately (you're not ill, so won't be eligible for NHS treatment) for a more general chat. CBT can be great for changing damaging patterns of thought, but if you are trying to work your way through this kind of situation then someone to talk it all over with would be helpful too, I think. Counsellors can be great but are far more hit and miss, and if you have the money a GP-referred psychologist would IMO very possibly be a lot better.

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 16:12:26

"And please bear in mind that having the marriage declared invalid (you're right on the impact on financial claims, of course, at least in this country"

Not necessarily- they have been together 10 years......she will have a good case.

Lawyer. On Monday.

Ememem84 Sat 28-Sep-13 16:19:52

If you are worried about the money, I would suggest moving as much of it as you can to an offshore jurisdiction, and settling it into a trust, or a private limited company. In other words, get it out of your name. If you don't own it. No one else can touch it. Put some in trust for your kids for their education, or for them to access when they reach a significant milestone (30th birthday or wedding day).

Depending on where you are, seperation/divorce laws are different, however, I think the courts generally split all assets held at the time of separation. so move the money.

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 16:26:12

Not necessarily- they have been together 10 years......she will have a good case.

Curlew unless there has been recent dicta to the contrary (which I absolutely concede is entirely likely) then unmarried couples are not entitled to more than child support, and a share of whatever they can prove they contributed to monetarily. There have been cases of couples together decades where the unmarried homemaker was entitled to nothing when they split.

Can you tell me what cases you've read recently that have altered this situation? The Law Commission have been advising change for a very long time but no legislation that I know of has been passed.

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 16:27:43

(Genuinely interested - I did my post-grad research on this area, but it was a decade ago now which makes it legally irrelevant, obviously. If things have changed I'd really be interested in reading the relevant judgements.)

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 16:36:53

Sorry- I'm not a lawyer and am speaking from a position of compete ignorance, but I thought there and been some "palimony" type cases where an unmarried partner proved that they had contributed to the family money and were therefore entitled to a share. Happy- well, unhappy actually- prepared to be wrong.

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 16:50:59

Yeah. One of the research studies - by Rebecca Bailey-Harris, from memory (again a decade old, so unreliable! And meaning the study is even older) found that over 60% of the UK population think there is such a thing as common-law marriage, giving some property rights to longstanding cohabitants. There aren't. It's why I wince when women have kids with someone they aren't married to, give up work or go part-time, then come here after ten years because he's met someone else and wants her to do one. They're fucked, basically. Career down the Swanee, house in his name, they've paid for the food maybe from part-time earnings and holidays etc but no mortgage contributions... and then people advise women whose partners want kids, want their gf to work part-time after the maternity leave, but "don't believe in marriage" not to worry because it's "just a bit of paper". It will change in time, but not yet - and it's actually quite hard to set a line in the sand on when reciprocal rights/obligations should begin, as the Australian de facto laws demonstrate. Though I think most of us would agree a decade and kids are well over that line, in terms of natural justice.

Going part-time to look after the family, or curtailing career prospects to make sure the kids have an available parent and to support the other person's career, when unmarried is potential financial suicide.

curlew Sat 28-Sep-13 16:54:26

That's why everything we own is in joint names. But I thought there was case law now. My mistake- sorry. Ignore me....Apart from when I say

"OP- get a lawyer. On Monday"

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 16:59:21

Though if you can prove financial contribution, you can prove some entitlement. Payments towards the mortgage is the classic example. I'm pretty sure there was also a case where a guy lied to his partner and told her she couldn't go on the deeds because she was under 21 was taken as evidence of a constructive trust (maybe proprietory estoppel? Sorry, too long ago!) at any rate, it proved he knew she thought the house was equally shared and that he had told her that himself, so she was entitled as they had demonstrated the existence of an equitable right (in legal terms, not meaning fairness by the word) to the property. But that's a bit different to most situations. Again, the law changes so fast we had to bin textbooks that were 3 years old so I could be hopelessly wrong, but I've not heard of any new regime. And I will relish it when I can read of one.

The law is so ready for change. I would love it if lawyers could drop into the thread to tell us things are now different. It's so clearly unfair in many situations.

perfectstorm Sat 28-Sep-13 17:00:57

No, Curlew you could be right! I could just not know of the new dicta; I'm not exactly reading the journals anymore.

And I absolutely second the SEE A GOOD LAWYER! Advice.

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