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Stay at home mum getting divorced, need advice

(473 Posts)
LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:12:25

Hi everyone, I am possibly looking at the option of divorcing my husband and first need some advice.

I am a Moroccan national with Moroccan citizenship. I married my husband at the end of 2015 and we had 2 sons whilst I lived in Morocco.

My husband applied for a settlement visa for me which was granted this month and I am now in the UK.

I went to my cousins house rather than go to my husband, and I don't have any income, benefits, or job.

My husband has a job that brings in around £35,000 a year before tax.

He doesn't own a home and has about £15,000 in assets (mainly savings with about £4000 in stocks and shares) and about £10,000 of liabilities (mainly credit card debts), so a networth of about £5,000.

If I divorce him, will he be legally required to pay any of his salary to me during the divorce proceedings, so I can pay my own rent and expenses? And how about after divorce?

He also has a pension of about £20,000 if that makes a difference but is nowhere near retirement age (we are both early thirties).

After divorce, would he be required to share his salary with me and roughly how much do you think he would have to share?

My visa conditions state that I cannot claim benefits, so would not be entitled to government support, and I am not sure about if I would be able to find work. I have a degree in sociology but don't have a lot of work experience.

Since my sons have British nationality, I am looking at changing my visa to a parent visa, since I don't think I can stay on a settlement visa if we divorce. Would I be entitled to benefits?

Does anyone have experience of being the stay at home mum without an income during divorce and were you entitled to some of your husbands salary in the divorce proceedings (before and after), and was it enough to live on without additional income from benefits or work?

Please let me know your experiences in how the finances might work out in such a situation. I am a bit stressed. We are not really getting on at the moment and I need a plan B for how I can live if we can't live together going forwards.

Also, we are not currently living together. I am staying with a relative. Am I better off living with him and does that increase my rights during a divorce if we share a house? in the case of a divorce, if we are renting a property, does it matter who's name is on the rental documents, and would he be the one required to leave or me if he pays the rent, and would he still need to pay the rent for me and our sons even if he moved out?

Please let me know what my rights and responsibilities are.

Thank you for your help.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:18:50

Also, if he was to quit his job so he no longer had income, would he still be obligated to pay everything that is agreed in the divorce or could he effectively dodge paying?

I am concerned that he doesn't have a lot of financial assets so I will mainly be relying on his monthly income.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Wed 29-May-19 11:18:51

Why don't you live with him?

chandylier Wed 29-May-19 11:25:49

I think you need some specialist advice
Does he know you want to divorce?

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:26:00

I didn't want to massively go into details about all the issues between us but basically he still lives in shared accommodation and didn't bother to prepare a property for us before the visa land. He is stingey with money. The visa arrived and he had nowhere for us to stay.

Also, he kept threatening to cancel the visa when we had arguments, which I found abusive and controlling. I didn't trust him. So I just wanted to ensure he couldn't cancel the visa before I landed.

I don't really trust him. The visa took years to make, and whilst I was in Morocco raising his children he only visited 3 or 4 times a year and only sent £100 or £200 a month.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:28:04

The problem with legal advice is I have no money. I am living in my relatives house with very little money, so I can't afford a lawyer.

So was hoping to start with getting some general advice from online to get a feel for where I stand.

He knows that divorce is a potential. Things are very rocky at the moment. Sometimes we are discussing him getting a place and moving me to him, sometimes we are discussing divorce.

I just need to figure out where I stand and what my options are.

Am I totally depend on him financially or do I have any other way to survive in the UK without him?

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Wed 29-May-19 11:32:07

Are you allowed to work?

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:33:58

Yes my visa entitles me to work. The problem is my qualifications and experience don't offer me that much opportunities here. I can at best take a really menial job like a shop assistant that will not even pay enough to live on and I will struggle with child care.

I can't stay with my relatives forever so will need to find a place. At the moment I am in london and the rent alone on a property is massive.

Singlenotsingle Wed 29-May-19 11:36:27

He doesn't really earn very much in the great scheme of things. And no, you wouldn't automatically be entitled to a share of his wages. You'd have to apply to the Court for any maintenance for yourself, and through CMS for maintenance for the children - 20% of net earnings for 2 dc. Say £400 pm? You'll have to look for a job or see if you're entitled to any benefits.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:37:19

He also has 3 children from a previous marriage. I suspect he is cheating on me with his ex. Would that make any difference if proven?

Bluebell9 Wed 29-May-19 11:38:27

Having had a quick look, I think you will have to show you can financially support yourself to get a parental visa and they are only valid for 2.5 years.
Would you be better moving back to Morocco?

stucknoue Wed 29-May-19 11:40:48

Unfortunately because you haven't lived in the U.K. for 5 years not even been married 5 years I'm not sure whether your visa will be revoked you may need to change it immediately - whilst money is an issue you need to check this out first with someone with expertise eg an immigration charity. You will be entitled to child support which is a percentage of his salary but won't be enough to live on unless you work full time - does your visa allow this? You will be entitled to child benefits as this relates to your British children and a specialist can tell you if they are entitled to any other support financially. Do expect a fight though to prove that you were in a relationship because it sounds like you have only just entered the U.K. and they will be suspicious that it was a sham marriage (it happens, having kids isn't going to be enough for them not to ask questions). Get all your paperwork in order including dates you met, photos of you doing things together etc. Also you need to clarify why you want to split

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:41:01

I read online there is something called pendent lite, which means he has to provide for me from his salary even before we have a court settlement.

And after a court settlement he might have to pay me money every month.

If so, what would the likely amount be, if I keep the children with full custody?

Would the court ensure he has enough money to live first before they allocate any of his monthly earnings to me, or would they priorities my needs over his?

If he quit his job would I lose his income or would it be his responsibility to find the money from somewhere?

BossyBanana Wed 29-May-19 11:42:52

In the nicest possible way,
you have been in the uk less than a month, you aren’t and have never lived together, he is not and has never financially supported you, you have been married for four years, have two children and have only seen him 3-4 times a year.

It sounds like you never had any intention of moving to the uk to be a family, you just wanted to come to the uk and are now looking to guarantee your stay here.

Realistically due to the length of your marriage and the fact he has never supported you and you have never lived together I very much doubt you will be entitled to any kind of financial support other than child support, which on a 35k salary will be 300-500 a month depending on his circumstances, less is he had other dependants, which will not be enough to live on.

I also very much doubt you will be allowed to stay in the uk once you end the marriage.
For a parent visa you will need to be able to prove you can financially support yourself and the children with an independent income.

It sounds like you would be better off going back to Morocco and continuing your life there.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:43:14

We have a marriage certificate from when we married, and it was a legal marriage in Morocco. So we are legally married. Does this not prove we were in a relationship? plus having kids together, photos from time together in morocco etc.

stucknoue Wed 29-May-19 11:43:35

20% of salary is a maximum you can expect, the other kids he has may reduce this significantly. I would seriously consider if you can manage here in the U.K. , or at least look at relocating north where rents are cheaper. The parent visa is only for a short period too, and expensive.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:47:20

So if I live with him for a bit and see how things go, and things don't work out, would living together make a difference to what he must pay me?

That's not fair regarding your assumptions about my intentions. I am trying as best possible to write the details about why I dislike him and what our marriage has been like and tried to keep things focused on the tangible details, but trust me he is abusive. He gets angry when we fight. He constantly threatens to cancel my visa and ironically always accuses me of just wanting him for a visa. His son barely knows him.

You don't understand the full circumstances. I don't want to be alone with two kids and an uncertain future, but he makes constant threats of divorce and separation and uses it to control me. I just want to know what my options are and if I can survive without him. I dont want to be dependent on him.

Singlenotsingle Wed 29-May-19 11:47:27

No, there is something called maintenance pending suit, which as I said, only the court can grant, and only after you have issued a divorce petition. Yes, of course he has to have enough money to look after himself first - rent on a place, council tax, bills, food etc. He can't pay anyone else if he's living on the street because he'd lose his job!

Singlenotsingle Wed 29-May-19 11:52:12

And no, it wouldn't make any difference if he's cheating with his ex. We don't get punished financially for bad behaviour here.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:52:59

If we decide to give things a go and live together, and he rents a property, does it make a difference if its in his name or mine? Would that impact anything? Can he kick me out if I am looking after the kids? Can he move out and leave me to try and pay the rent?

Its easy for people to judge me when they have the security of the benefit system and british nationality. Believe me many people from this country wouldn't survive a week in Morocco unless you got one of the more privileged "expat jobs". I feel constantly insecure and about my future and my husband knows he has the ability to threaten me with divorce, visa cancellation etc if I even look at him the wrong way.

I thought the UK was a place for womens rights and protected women and children from destitution and controlling and abusive husbands, but it seems like the divorce and immigration laws favour the UK national and bread winner massively.

So realistically, what are my best options if we divorce? I just need to know I can make it alone if our marriage doesn't work out.

Morocco is not a suitable place for a single mother to raise 2 British kids alone believe me.

BossyBanana Wed 29-May-19 11:53:13

You are grasping at straws and need to step away from google.

Pendent lite is only applicable in USA law.
What you are looking for would be interim spousal maintenance, but it is incredibly unlikely you will be entitled to any spousal maintenance at all.

Spousal maintenance is rarely awarded in the uk, really it is only even considered if the couple have been married for a long time and one spouse has given up work to be a stay at home parent negatively affecting their earning potential whilst the other has developed a career and been the family breadwinner.

Since you have only been married for a few years and your husband has never supported you financially you will not be entitled to any financial support from him if the marriage ends.

LittleMissMaghribi Wed 29-May-19 11:53:39

I thought that divorce cases were impacted by cheating?

BossyBanana Wed 29-May-19 11:57:01

It can be grounds for divorce but it will not change the entitlement for financial support.

churchthecat Wed 29-May-19 11:57:11

I'm confused - were you or your DH born in the UK?

I'm not sure you would be entitled to any more than child maintenance and a share of marital assets - so half of £5,000 plus CMS.

If he is not working you would not receive CMS, as he would not have an income for it to be taken from.

churchthecat Wed 29-May-19 11:59:11

You would be very unlikely to receive spousal maintenance unless he was a very high earner. £30k p/a would be considered a low earner.

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