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Divorce and benefits

(8 Posts)
Lana06 Fri 08-Jan-16 12:07:45

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. 10 of which we lived in South Africa. I owned the house in SA and he moved in when we married. Our relationship has been rocky throughout our marriage. My husband paid most of the bills in S.A. but not for the actual house which was already fully paid up and furnished when he moved in. He was never interested in the house itself and one day after he had been looking for work for a few short months and still hadn't found anything, decided he wanted to go overseas. In my stupidity obviously, my thoughts were, you go where your husband wants to go. So I sold the house, left my entire family and all friends Id ever known to relocate to the U.K.

Shortly after our arrival, I discovered my husband was having an emotional affair with an old girlfirend online, through his private FB messaging. I did not even know she existed, he never once mentioned my name and they would message each other for hours day and night, and this went on for months, talking like love-sick teenagers, getting to know each other all over again, complimenting each other, throwing little sexual inuendos, things you just don't say to a 'friend'. I was devastated to learn the attention I had begged and pleaded for in over 10 years, he's response would be that 'Im just not made that way, Im not attentive, Im not sexual', was being transferred to another woman. When I confronted my husband about this, he went crazy telling me that I had invaded his privacy. Then later he would say they were just friends, (clearly not), and that he had dont nothing wrong, that it was quite normal for male and female friends to communicate with each other this way even when you are in a relationship or married, I said I have many male friends too, all of which he knew about, we talked about family, work and the weather,why on earth would I talk to them this way let alone spend that much time and energy on a male friend. I asked him if they were just friends, why did he never once mention my name in over 4 months, he responded by saying 'we decided we weren't going to bring family into it'. When I told him 'if you claim to just be friends, perhaps her husband can joing in on the conversation', he said 'you just want to ruin her life'. Huh? Clearly he felt trapped and guilty. Not only was I devastated at the betrayal of him breaking the emotional bond between two people who make a comitment for life to each other, but he further defended her honor and made excuses for her too. I showed some online psychologist the conversation my husband had with this other woman and they advised that this was more damaging and detrimental to a marriage than just having a one night stand.

Having lost the only home Id known, having left my entire family behind and moved to another country, having been neglected emotional, mentally and physically by my husband for over 10 years, and then to discover what appeared to me that my husband didn't love me and was clearly making a play for another woman, I went completely off the rails. I felt alone, destitute, (as I had no job and relied on him for the renewal of my visa). I had never touched alcohol in ten years, I started drinking heavily, chatting to other men online and at one point in my drunking state, even met up with someone else and was intimate with them.

When my husband found out I was unfaithful, at first he immediately asked me to forgive him, that he would stop talking to her, but he didn't as they picked up the conversation on Whatsapp and I found it. He then began to tell me 'but you cheated on me', as if this absolved anything he had done to initiate my reaction, calling me a whore etc. When I told him, it wasn't about forgiving, that i did not cheat on him to get back at him but that he had neglected me for ten years, then having nobody to turn to, as well as him defending her, and how could I forgive him when he claimed he had done nothing wrong and that how could we move forward if I couldn't trust how he really felt about me if he could do something like that, would I always be the one he settled for. I told him his continuous refusal to admit he had done anything wrong, using the fact that I had cheated on him, as a means of getting even, was not taking responsibility. He then said, 'I have taken responsibility, Ive had to carry you financially'.

He then became aggressive, abusive verbally and physically and everything went downhill from there. Everytime we would have any argument, he would call me a disgusting name in front of my children and tell me to 'go suck a d...' in front of my children regularly.

I have just recently received my visa renewal for settlement in the UK. I have been searching for work but as yet to no avail. In the meantime, he persistently tells me to and go find a job. He ignores any request I have to discuss anything and clearly trying to make my life a misery in hopes of what I don't know... to force me out of the house, to force me to apply for a divorce??

I would like to know if anyone has any advice on what kind of benefits I could claim from the government should I apply for divorce and need to move out. Would I be able to claim housing benefit without having a job, whilst I continue to look for work?

We have two boys, a 17 year old and 13 year old. Naturally I would need to apply for divorce before I could claim for anything, but would I be entitled to anything if we had joint custody. Would I be able to claim help from him until such time as I have work?

HanSolo Fri 08-Jan-16 12:29:05

Just checking it worked, and bumping for you so people can advise smile

HanSolo Fri 08-Jan-16 20:34:32

Bumping for you again. I'm afraid I don't know anything about the benefits system.

Marilynsbigsister Sat 09-Jan-16 07:09:01

You need to go and see a solicitor. You are married, therefore everything you and your husband have (money in bank accounts held both single names and joint names, property regardless of whose name its in, possessions ... Cars etc) is a marital asset and therefore jointly owned. When you divorce, you will need to divide these assets by agreement thrashed out between the two of you or , if that cannot be agreed, the judge will impose a division. - this is all done during the divorce process. Meanwhile, if you leave and look for somewhere to live with your children (will they come with you ? Or decide to live with their father) you can claim housing benefit, based on your income , which is currently zero but as you are looking for work, you can also claim Jobseeker's Allowance and tax credits if children are with you. The benefits you are entitled to claim are all dependent on the terms of your visa and wether or not it states 'no recourse to public funds' and the amount of capital you have.

Lana06 Sat 09-Jan-16 11:56:04

Hi, Thank you for this info. I have consulted with a solicitor online who has advised me the same and has given me links to all the forms I need to fill out. My children are 13 and 17. As husband has been the breadwinner all this time and he has constantly thrown in little comments to the children about how they will never survive with me, and given the fact that I have not actually been able to give them anything in the way of financial, it is understandable for them to feel insecure or to see me as the weaker parent if they were to live with me. I know they love us both and have told me that they would like to see both of us. My concern is where to start first. My husband and I don't communicate at all and he deliberately ignores me when I attempt to discuss the way forward. I don't think he will be cooperative as he has always had a thing about 'woman', 'theyre not going to get a thing out of me' and like Ive mentioned, constantly telling me he's had to carry me financially. He has never withheld money from me as we have a joint account but should I ever comment or mention any of his faults or bad behaviour, he's immediate response is, and find a job. I think he wants me to suffer financially as if I might come running back to him if I can't make it on my own. This is why I don't think he will be cooperative. A pyschologist once told me my husband was emotionally immature, that there was nothing I could do and that he would never change so it was my choice as to whether I would stay in the marriage or not. Unfortunately I thought he would change. Big mistake.

My visa has been renewed to settlement and I can therefore claim benefits. My concern is I would like to leave the house but I literally have nothing in the way of finances and I would need rental deposits and first or two months rent upfront if Im not working, from what I understand. Also the children will be reluctant to go with me immediately as they will see me as having nothing to provide for them and in all fairness, unless the children or myself were in danger, there would be no rush for them to leave the comforts they already have in order to move into a not so financially comfortable place with their Mother who has no job as yet and we would struggle. Selfish as it may seem from my children, I think we can all agree that it doesn't matter that us as Mothers have raised our children alone from birth, they will not necessarily see that, particularly with boys, they will go where the money and comfort is.

Im just not sure what my first step should be forward. Should I first start claiming jobseekers allowance? Then apply for divorce, then apply for financial help from him through the courts at the same time? According to the applications online for all of these things, I would need a letter from a Mediator but Mediators can only help if both parties are willing to cooperate and he is not. Like I said, he ignores me, Im assuming, in the hopes that I will come running to him and begging to make things work, which I don't want, not for pride reasons, but because I just don't want to anymore and don't see a way forward with him. I don't even like him as a person anymore.

expatinscotland Sat 09-Jan-16 12:13:16

TBH, I'd apply for divorce and financial settlement from his first. Why? Because from what you've written, your entitlement to benefits right now is going to be Jobseeker's Allowance, which will be about £75/week, and housing/council tax benefit for one. This is going to be quite low, and you will need to find a landlord who will take a HB tenant.

Even with the children, you're still going to be on Jobseeker's Allowance. It's not a lot and again, HB is capped at the lowest 30% of the rental market and you will need to find a tenant who will take a family on HB.

A far, far better position to be in would be to get a FT job, apply to divorce, get a financial settlement, rather than even consider benefits. They are not the life of Riley people make them out to be, you will be subject to sanctions if you put a foot wrong, it might not look good when you apply to naturalise if you went on the dole as soon as you got ILR, etc.

Lana06 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:30:28

This makes sense and is what I was thinking all along. Not to make things worse for myself. Its extremely hard though when your'e living with a 'dark cloud', who at any moment could file for divorce himself. He's unpredictive and vendictive and I know he wants to put me in a bad position financially. Im afraid of this. That he will do this before I get a chance to find a full time job. Anything is possible with him. It has been a long time since Ive worked in an office. I did previously for many years in the PA/Secretarial/Reception and Admin field and I know it will all come back to me, I am still fully computer literate, its just finding a company that will give me that chance. I have a telephonic interview on Monday, lets see how it goes...not good for the soul when youre constantly let down though.

Thanks so much for the advice

expatinscotland Sat 09-Jan-16 12:31:53

Find anything that's FT, not just office work. It will do wonders for your self-esteem.

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