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Thinking of leaving DH. What would happen re DD?

(53 Posts)
cardamomginger Sat 08-Mar-14 23:45:48

Can't be arsed to namechange.

I am thinking of leaving DH. I don't want to talk about my relationship with him right now, although I think I will be posting about it in the next few months.

Right now, I am trying to get my head round the practical side of what would happen if we did split and then divorce. My main priority is DD. She is 3.5 years old, so let's say she'd be around 4 if/when it happens. She won't yet be in school - she is due to start Reception in 2015. There are no issues wrt to DH's parenting, neither are there any concerns regarding mine. We would live in close proximity to one another. I am a SAHM. What's the 'usual' outcome? Would she spend half her time living with DH and half with me?

Can't believe I am actually posting this....

Mrswellyboot Sat 08-Mar-14 23:48:03

Didn't want to read and not respond. No advice as not in this position but really wish you the best at a difficult time flowers

cardamomginger Sat 08-Mar-14 23:51:22

Thanks.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 00:06:51

There's no 'usual' really. The test, if you like, is what's best for the individual child in order to give them stability, security, safety etc. If you live close together and working/school hours permit, then 50/50 shared parenting might work.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 00:11:09

OK. Thanks. I really have no idea about any of this!

Finola1step Sun 09-Mar-14 00:14:51

Agree with Cog. No way of knowing. If you are a SAHM, would you financially be able to continue or would you need to go back to work?

If there are no concerns wrt his parenting, then it would be reasonable to expect that as a minimum, access once a week night plus every other weekend. Plus shared holidays.

What do you think would be in the best interests of your dd?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 00:17:07

I'd urge you to get legal advice fairly soon.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 00:27:59

I will.

Another thing I am completely in the dark about is how the financial side of things would work out. Including the house.

I need to talk to a lawyer. Fuck.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 00:30:22

I think DD would not be happy with too much time away from me. But she is gaining in her independence and confidence, so I think would be OK with a split approaching 50:50.

I doubt DH would be able to do that though.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 00:31:04

Some solicitors offer a free initial consultation that can be useful. CAB is another source of legal advice. It all sounds pretty daunting and very final but, whether you leave or stay, it's important to know where you stand before the emotional shit hits the fan...

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 00:35:19

AGREED!!!! That's why I'm trying to get my head round stuff first and get myself in as good a place as possible before having The Conversation with DH. I'm fortunate that nothing is unbearable, I'm not at risk and neither is DD, and nothing is urgent.

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 00:40:44

50 50 is normal. If you want to push for more then as a SAHP you might get it, but is that fair to your DH or best for your DD?

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 00:50:56

I doubt DH would be able to achieve 50:50, especially with DD only at nursery part time, because of his work commitments. But that's a practicality to be worked out if/when it gets to that stage.

I've no idea what DD's preferences would be. She is more attached to me, and whilst she isn't that fussed if DH is away for a few days (or longer), she is very much fussed if I am (I have had inpatient hospital stays).

DH's preference would be to have as little actual involvement in the realities of childcare and the time that takes as possible. Although he would want her 'around' all the time. But conversations with DH about what he would or would not want/be able to achieve is something that's a way in the future.

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 01:08:13

Your DDs preferences would only be taken onto account once she is 14 or so, not now.

Your DH may choose to change his working hours to accommodate having her more.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 01:12:47

Yeah, he might. Guess I'll find out at some point in the future.

I feel sick sad.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 09-Mar-14 01:16:15

Qix the DC's preferences are taken into account very much sooner than that!

Op I think you're very sensible to get things straight in your mind before The Talk. I wish you all the very best

Diagonally Sun 09-Mar-14 08:38:44

If you live near each other you probably have several options.

For eg my ex has DS two nights a week (one weekday night and every Friday) and picks him up from school on those days. He negotiated a flexible work request to do that.

If you are worried about having the conversation you could use a mediation service - in fact if you use one anyway as part of divorce process, you can discuss and agree arrangements for your DD at the same time.

I really recommend it.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 09:14:59

Thanks. The last thing I want, or have energy for, is things to deteriorate into an irrational slanging match! How old is your DS?

Diagonally Sun 09-Mar-14 09:28:54

He's 10 now, was 5 when we separated. It took a while to settle into the new routine, but works well for all of us, generally.

Joules68 Sun 09-Mar-14 09:57:08

Anything could happen.... He might meet someone new with a family, or move miles away

coleslawsarnie Sun 09-Mar-14 10:00:38

Yes, if his job makes it hard to arrange 50/50 I wouldn't be surprised if a new g/f arrives on the scene quite soon to facilitate that. Men tend not to stay single for long if they have childcaring responsibilities.

Offred Sun 09-Mar-14 10:17:14

No, 50:50 care is not normal. A court would determine residency based on the welfare checklist in the children act 1989. If you currently share care of her 50:50 then it may be in her best interests to try and make an arrangement like this but if you are her main carer it is likely what would be best is for you to remain so. The court doesn't like changing a child's care unless the child's welfare requires it,

Amicus1966 Sun 09-Mar-14 10:29:19

God, how depressing is that?
That a new GF will appear soon as EX can't be arsed to look after his own DCshmm

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 10:30:02

Everything I read before I split up said that childrens' preferences were not taken into account until they were 14 or so.

cls77 Sun 09-Mar-14 10:38:06

Qix - Court wise the Gillick Competence would be brought in for ops Dd if required, and is done regularly in our courts.
Non court wise - surely knowing what the
Child prefers (and this may change) should always be taken into account by the parents?

I wish you luck and strength Op, you are very wise to be looking into matters now.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 11:07:15

thanks everyone. feeling strange mix of calm and overwhelmed. I think I will find a good lawyer sooner rather than later. so many things I have no idea about - the house, joint assets, stuff in his name only, child support, pensions.

Snoozybird Sun 09-Mar-14 11:44:08

If you're in England or Wales the length of your marriage plus any seamless cohabitation will have a significant bearing on how the finances are split and what counts as marital assets/debts (unless there is loads of money to spare once both your needs are taken care of).

Monetbyhimself Sun 09-Mar-14 11:51:08

Really what Offred said. If you can sort things out amongst yourself then do so. The one piece of advice that I would give you though is not to get too carried away with making plans if your husband really has NO clue what you're planning. If you present him with your plans for contact, he is much more likely to react badly and the situation can deteriorate very quickly.

EdithWeston Sun 09-Mar-14 11:58:34

Finding out about your admin options in the event of separation and eventual divorce may seem daunting now. But will help you in the long run as you sort out whether that is the way forward. Because you are likely to feel stronger by having an escape plan (thought through when calm) when it comes to tackling whatever it is that is wrong and deciding if it is worth another chance.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 11:59:51

no absolutely! this is just so I have an idea of what I might be letting myself in for. i tend to panic if i don't know what the possible parameters of a situation are. want to try and force him into couples' therapy first. conversations about DD are quite a way in the future.

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 12:00:05

And what does the Gillick competence say?

I feel very strongly that asking a child her or his preferences about who they want to live with is very unfair on the child.

Children don't always know what is best for them. Plus they often switch their preferences between their parents when they are young and to ask them to make a decision of this magnitude based on the whim of the moment is horrible.

Asking them to pick a favourite can produce massive feelings of guilt in the child.

heliumheart Sun 09-Mar-14 12:10:34

Where do you get the idea that 50 50 is normal Qix? Normal in what sense?

It certainly isn't usual when one parent has been the clear primary carer.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 09-Mar-14 12:17:18

Qix are you suggesting that an 11yo child should have no say in what happens to them? I'm not saying they should make the decisions. But they most certaily should have an input.

Nobody is asking them to pick a favourite fgs - framing it like that would clearly be totally inappropriate!

However saying "Daddy could pick you up from school onTuesdays and take you back to his for tea. That will be fun won't it? Or would you prefer Wednesdays when you have swimming so he can take you?" is an entirely different matter

balenciaga Sun 09-Mar-14 12:19:16

aww op flowers

sorry to hear this

I left exdh when ds was only about 6 months old, so I appreciate a lot younger than your dd

exH was not interested in DS for first few years, contact was sporadic as was maintenance, it was not easy

but things are better now, DS is nearly 8, and sees his dad once a week, on Saturdays, with 2 sleepovers a month, fri evenings then he brings him home sat evening. its his dads choice, i'd be happy with more contact, and find it sad really that he CBA to see his child more often but hey ho.

PS I don't know how you are feeling atm, but when I left exh i thought I would never be happy again but I re married, had another dc (dd who is now 4) and due dc3 in 4 weeks! and still happier with new (ish) DH than I ever thought possible.

GOOD LUCK xx

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 12:21:07

From what I see around me and read.

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 12:56:24

Obviously talking about what day of the week they want to see their dad would be fine, it makes me wonder of you're deliberately misunderstanding me that you would think otherwise.

All this talk of 'one evening a week and an overnight every other weekend' sounds like something out of the ark, unless you're married to someone who has no interest in his kids, in which case it's fair enough.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 13:07:32

Thanks balenciaga smile. Really pleased it worked out for you and GOOD LUCK in 4 weeks time!

At 42, I fear I will be pretty much at the bottom of the food chain. I guess it's not over until it's over though!

BitOutOfPractice Sun 09-Mar-14 13:18:30

I'm sorry if I seem to be being obtuse Qix. I was just puzzled as to why you would think including a child under 14's opinions on the arrangements amounted to "Asking them to pick a favourite" or "make a decision of this magnitude based on a whim" when clearly it needs to be handled more subtly than that

IME 50/50 parenting is very unusual - often the person who was the primary care-giver when the parents were together continues to be so after the split. My exH has the kids 3 nights a week but I still do 90% of school runs / drop offs / all the stuff that goes to day-to-day living than he does. It's unusual for a father to have the kids that much in my exerience. Not because he doesn't care. but because he has not arranged his life around the kids like I have - just like when we were together!

Cabrinha Sun 09-Mar-14 13:18:55

Are you planning to go back to work at the time of the spit?
That might affect what you propose - partly how you split the time, but also it might keep the discussion a bit theoretical until you know yours hours.

With my 5yo (we split 6 months ago at 4.5yo) we are very very flexible.
We agreed 4 days (me) 3 days (him) for the paperwork.
That's literally all the Statement of Arrangements says.

I work away a lot, so I basically have her every day by default, unless I'm away - when she goes to her dad. That's between 0 and 4 nights each week. When it's 0, I take a night to myself and propose one evening to him. I'm the one in control. Weekends, she's with me unless I say otherwise, or he proposes something. I'd only say no if it was a double booking.

We manage this mostly indirectly via a shares iphone calendar, as I prefer to minimise time talking /texting him.

It works. But it would suit everyone!

Cabrinha Sun 09-Mar-14 13:20:34

Oh and who they prefer... She has always preferred me, but not in a massively anti-daddy way. Tbh - I think you have to set that aside. She prefers me - but she still likes being with him. And they won't develop their relationship if they're not together.

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 13:20:58

The OPs child is 3.5.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 13:32:17

I have no idea what to do re work tbh. I have had a lot of health problems since giving birth, that have contributed towards me staying at home. Hopefully these should be behind me now.

By the time I have paid for childcare, I don't see how I would have any money left at the end of the week, never mind enough to support me and DD. I should imagine that even on the days that DH had DD I would still need to have her until he finished work and would certainly need to have her on 'his' days all day during school holidays.

Seriously, how the hell do people do this, if you don't have family to rely on (and I don't)? A lot of my friends are high earners and even so, once they've paid for nursery, or nanny, au pair, childcare to fill in for after school and holidays they have sod all left. One friend actually pays £50 each week for the privilege of going to work!

Qix Sun 09-Mar-14 13:35:47

You can get child tax credits and working tax credits. They're a big help.

ImperialBlether Sun 09-Mar-14 13:37:29

I only know one couple who went down the 50:50 route. Their jobs were similar and they were prepared to live very near to each other. He fought for it and got it, though I don't think it was what his ex wanted.

heliumheart Sun 09-Mar-14 14:50:02

It's all very well saying things like "it sounds like something out of the Ark" until you break it down into practicalities. Oh, and, you know, think about it from the children's point of view. What is best for the children is often not being carted from one place to another or living out of two separate homes for equal amounts of time. As Imperial says, that can work if both parents are highly cooperative and live very close by. One parenting book I read about divorce memorably said that upon separation you do not split the children 50 50 as though they were a record collection.

Viviennemary Sun 09-Mar-14 14:56:07

I don't know anybody who has had 50/50 care. I'd not even heard of such a thing till I came on MN and wouldn't think it was a very good idea at all. I'd be very worried about how the mortgage and all the bills are going to be paid.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 09-Mar-14 15:12:50

My BF shares care with his exW 50/50. They

a. get on well and so can cooperate on swapping / helping each other / changing arrangements
b. live ½ a mile apart
c. the kids are much older and can pop back and forth as they want

The closest to 50/50 I know other than that is my own kids as described above. It is most defnitely not the norm

jenniferlawrence Sun 09-Mar-14 15:30:11

We originally had my DH's two DC (my DSC) every other weekend plus one night every week. That seems to be typical IME. Over the years it has increased so we have them every Weds to Fri and every other Weds to Sun. DH drives past where they live to come home from work so it's easy for him to pick them up on the way through and take them to school the next morning.

FushandChups Sun 09-Mar-14 16:14:57

In my experience, 50/50 is very much where discussions start and then things like work commitments, living arrangements, support etc come in and the routine is then established.

I think it is recommended you work up to this though, so it's not like it would be in place immediately you separated (especially as it sounds like this would make your DD very unhappy) but if your DH was keen and you have no concerns about the care he would provide and her safety, wouldn't your DD benefit from spending equal time with both parents.

It is hard as hell though - there is no denying it - I didn't have my children so that they could spend half their life living elsewhere but at the same time, they deserve a relationship with their father so I have to suck it up.

Good luck OP!

balenciaga Sun 09-Mar-14 21:41:35

Thanks cardamom. And of course you won't be at the bottom of the food chain, if you do decide on leaving you will eventually find some one again, if you want to. And tbh soon after I left ex I realised was the happiest id been in ages, years really, as Yes I was alone with a baby, but I was free,. I no longer had to walk on eggshells around him, be frightened and belittled by him and pick up after after him like the man child he was! (Obv not suggesting your h is like this btw but clearly there are aspects of him you are unhappy with)

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 21:46:49

DH travels quite a bit for work, and I basically live for the times he is away. It is bliss!

I've got the name of a divorce lawyer from a friend, who was extremely happy with the job they did. So that's a good step. If I go down this route, it's going to cost a fucking fortune, isn't it? How the hell does anyone, let alone a SAHP, afford to get divorced!?!?!

FushandChups Sun 09-Mar-14 22:46:10

cardamom - you can find fixed fee solicitors who will do the works for a set fee and i guess provided it is amicable, you can do most of the legwork without the solicitors being involved. Hell, you can always DIY if you're both agreed on the two biggies (money & children) and you just pay to log it with the courts.

Personally, i need that extra layer of someone who knows how the system works but there are ways to do it with little money.

How do you think DH would take it though? Is he as unhappy as you clearly are? Would it be an amicable split? Do you think he would want 50/50 contact or similar? That's really the crux of the matter because if he wanted to, he could make it very costly and hard. On the flip side, he could be miserable too and just waiting for you to make the first move.

Just so you know, me and my H are soooo much better off apart and deep down i knew that but the shock of having my marriage ripped apart with no warning did take a while to make peace with. Its been over a year and were still not divorced but so far, as we're talking (ish) it hasn't cost me very much at all.

cardamomginger Sun 09-Mar-14 23:24:50

Thanks fush. I know he is not happy. I;m finding it harder to contain my anger and bitterness, so that, in itself, is making him unhappy. Other than that, I think he just likes the fact of being married and having a DD. He married late in life and many didn't think he would, including his own family, so he likes the status that he now has. I was saying on another thread in AIBU last week that he is very much a 50s throwback. I think as long as the Little Woman is there doing what needs to be done, all is well as far as he is concerned. He's not that interested in spending time with me or having a conversation, so the presence or absence of that doesn't really enter into it as far as he is concerned. He just likes me HERE.

As to how he would take it. I don't know. It could be very badly indeed. He can be very aggressive, dismissive and cutting and he takes things very personally. He is stubborn, pretty arrogant and doesn't like to be wrong. In DH's world, he CANNOT Be wrong. I've witnessed conflict he has had with other people, and his attitude towards them is not pretty. So it could all get quite nasty.

Additionally, he views money as his money and our house as his house. He doesn't see that I contribute anything. Not great!!

I'm quite pleased about getting the name of the solicitor though - these were recommended by DH to this friend. They proved themselves to be excellent and I know that if it comes to it, he would want to use them. But I will get there first.

Glad that things are turning out better for you.

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