Likely financial outcome? (case involving Mental Health issues)(5 Posts)
Hi, sorry but I am gatecrashing Mumsnet as I'm not aware of any similar forum out there for men.
I have decided that I need to divorce my wife, for the sake of my health and self-respect and to show by example to my girls (17 and 10) that life is meant to better than this. I know it shouldn't, but if there is one thing that is making me hesitate it is the financial implications. I have instructed a solicitor to look at what would be the most likely outcome but the reason for posting here is to see if there are any other opinions out there based either on first hand experience or professional opinion (based on the limited info I can put in here). This wouldn't be a typical case as there are mental health issues involved.
I will try to keep it brief and to the point as much as I can.
DW has had MH issues for the past ten years. Never been diagnosed as bi-polar but goes from highs to low's every 2.5 - 3 years over the past 10 years. Each high and low last's about a year, the low's sometimes 18 months, next one due next summer. 3 hospital admissions, 1 under section 2 years ago. Personaility disorders have been mentioned but never diagnosed. Asked to vacate the house by social services (although it was me who had to make it happen as they don't have the legal power to achieve this). At the lowest point, some police arrests, going missing, police searches, suicide threats, overdoses, I could go on and on. I have no faith left in psychiatric services, they have no more idea than I do what is the problem and how to fix it.
For the last ten years, i.e. throughout their childhood, I have been the 'lead' parent from an emotional point of view. When DD's have something they want to talk about, they always come to me becuase they know they can expect empathy and a decent discssion rather than criticism, blame and negativity. Our house feels like 3 + 1 rather a family of 4. My wife has been permantly frustrated with her lack of achievement in life (she failed her A levels and didn't go to university, which didn't bother me when I met her but it has been a big thing for her). I've tried to encourage her to go to university, we could have afforded it, but she never did, now is very active in local community, charities, we had some syrain refugees over for lunch last Sunday. So, like lot's of MH issues it is not black and white.....there is some 'goodness' in there, but not much is saved for me or the children, it is very externally focused on building a good image outside of the house. She builds friends and then in time they tend to move on, people describe her as "too intense". She has been quite open with them that having children has got in the way of her having a fulfilling life. At times she has said "don't have children".
DW has not worked since children came long. Interestingly she did manage to get a job within 5 days of coming out of hospital (10 days after coming off section) when I had told her she couldn't live with us again until she was better and more on a level (she moved back to her parents 200 miles away for 4 months). In hindsight I should have divorced her then, but I was torn.....I still hoped that things would get better, and I saw her getting a job for the first time as a sign that things could indeed get better.
I'm rambling so will try to get back on point. Before I do that though, it's worth mentioning that whilst on a high 3 years ago (just before the last breakdown) she had an 9 month affair, all conducted in our house, which friends told me was "vile". I know this is all irrelevant from a divorce point of view as it's beyond 6 months of finding out, but it's part of the picture for me. I do wonder if she is currently having an affair (she is VERY confident at the moment) as she is very secretive with her phone and is rarely in during the day. I know that she got back in touch with affair partner asking to meet up (which is another reason why I've decided to divorce), but now he has a feeling for her history, I believe he is too smart to go there.
I would be looking to get the majority of custody with DW perhaps alternative weekends. I have a demanding job, which involves some overnight travel, in the past we have had nannies (4 so far) to manage through the last ten years such that I haven't had to give up work. I don't want to give up work unless I really have to, it is a big part of my identify and a break from my home life.
So far my soliictor has told me that DW will get "more than half" and that this "will be an expensive divorce". The reason for the first comment is that DW will probably claim to not be able to work (although she has been offered a very part time job as fitness instructor after spending 2-3 hours a day in the gym for the past 12 months). The other reason is that I typically earn well over £200K/year so they will see my high income as basically being able to get by quite happily, including paying for a nanny, school fees (for youngest) and uni living cost fees (upcoming for eldest). The comment about this being an expensive divorce is that she tihnks it will go to court as mediation will not work when one of the parties is not the most rational person.
House is paid for (£400K, we're not in London), savings + cars (all paid for) equate to about £600K, pensions about the same.
As mentioned before, I have asked a solicitor to get more detailed than "it will be more than half". What does that mean? Could it be that she gets 75%? It sickens me to be honest. I know the usual logic is that DW has looked after the kids, taken them to school each day and this has enabled me to focus on work and build a career at a more senior level. But I feel like for the past ten years, I have succeeded as I have IN SPITE of, not because of, being married to her. She has not been psychologically supportive, when I was under genuine pressure in a previous job, her words were "well if I were them, I would fire you as well". That has really stuck with me. She also said last week "I get lots of offers you know", when I spoke about divorce. I sometimes wonder how much of this is MH and how much I just made the mistake of marrying someone with very low empathy and capable of being really quite nasty.
So i think my basic question is; do people generally agree or not that she would get more than half? I think my solicitor is good, she is a partner in the firm, I genuinely believe she will do what she can to help me fight my corner, but they are a small provincial solicitor who specialise in family law, it's hard to tell.
When I have mentioned divorce, DW has said she will not vacate the house, I would have to move out instead. She says she will "get the children", I know that she won't (at least not a majority degree). So I would either have to rent a house for myself and the girls, or have a an occupation order drawn up, which would be a court hearing in itself . Both DD's have said they would want to stay with me, even if they are being looked after by hired-in help some of the time, but also want to stay at home. I do need to be careful as it's eldest DD's A level year and she needs top grades to do medicine (she got 12 A stars GCSE despite all of this stuff going on in Year 11, she is determined not to let her mum ruin everything for her and I'm really really proud of her).
Sorry, this has turned into a really long post, if you're still reading, I'd be grateful for your opinions.
I'm hoping that Mrs Bert or the babybarrister might clock your thread and advise.
I posted on your other thread, getting a live in is a great idea works for me really well.
In terms of settlement what I have seen in my friends close to your situation in terms of earnings but not main carer, is where the judge ordered 2 years of spousal maintenance to enable a transition period for the wife. They had two houses so she got one. I would assume you would have to buy her out of her share in the equity if you intend to stay in the family home with the kids.
Your children have a voice legally at their age so I would hope residency wouldn't be the major issue. I would think her mental health would also play in that favour.
Hope other posters will be along to advise.
You are doing the right thing. Good luck
Bumping because I hope you will soon get the advice you are looking for.
I know it seems unfair if she gets 'more than half' but do you really have any other choice than to cut your losses in order to be able to make a new start without her? Seems a small price to pay for a life without this person who is not good for you in any way. Feel the fear and do it anyway I say!
I think you're right to be cautious for the sake of your children. If they both want to stay with you, that's what will happen. The younger child will need to have reasonable contact with her mother. It would then be in the best interests of the children to stay in the marital home, at least until your older child is finished with A-levels.
Re finances, you really need to speak to a solicitor. If I was in your situation, I'd ask for advice about putting together a generous but fair proposal, that her own solicitor would advise her to accept. This would be prudent to avoid court and the incredible stress and cost that incurs.
If you're dealing with someone very unreasonable, you may have no choice though.
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