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A devastated dad - need advice

(203 Posts)
DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 17:12:58

Hey all, I have been doing some research and reading online and I thought I would post my background to see if anyone can offer some advice or guidance as well as the articles I have read. Here goes...

I am a serving soldier with a dedicated army house (rental) which I lived in with my wife, daughter (17 months) and dog.

My wife recently had her 12 week scan for our second baby and then declared that week that she hated me and wanted to leave. She phoned her family, they picked her and my daughter up that night (May 22) and they have not returned since. A few quick facts.


*Wife has not worked in over 2 years including 6 months unemployment benefit
*I am the sole earner (32K annum)
*No savings
*No property
*1 vehicle on HP in my name 50% paid but DVLA registered to her

I contacted her the morning after she left and she confirmed via email that she had legal counsel via legal aid and her family had given her the cash deposit for a new house in their vicinity.

We argued, many horrible words exchanged until I agreed she could take the majority of the furniture from the house.


I had to go away for 9 days on a charity trek (raising money for the hospital that operated on my daughter) and in that time she returned to the house and took everything of value however she told the Army she had moved out 3 weeks previous to her return with family members and a van. She told me that her solicitor instructed her it was fine as the possessions were 100% hers and 100% mine so first come first served.

I have returned to an empty shell of a home which requires cleaning and repairing in order to be of a standard suitable for the Army to take it back.

When prompted for communication she tells me constantly to "go through her lawyer" about even the most trivial items.


I used a CSA calculator on the website and offered her the amount they suggested which she has accepted via private arrangement (bank transfer) and I have paid the first month however she has threatened to go to the CSA if it is not paid before the 2nd of every month. I asked for the address where my daughter is staying which she has refused to give. I informed her that I would pay CSA in full but only in cheque (as is my right per the CSA website) sent to her home. She has written back that she will forego the money and go to the CSA direct.

2 weeks ago I was in the area where she stays and asked to see my daughter at 6pm to which she replied it was too disruptive to her routine and refused to allow me to see her.

I told her that seeing her father was more important that "in the night garden" but she persisted and has now claimed that 2 solicitors and a social worker have confirmed that she was right to deny access and I should only see our child at the mandated times she has stipulated in the divorce papers which I have not received yet.

Filing for divorce

My stbx has ordered me to sign the papers and when I refused the sent me an email claiming that her solicitor had told her that bailiffs will visit my workplace with the papers and force me to sign. I could either do it "the easy way or the hard way".

I don't drink, smoke, adulterate or subject her to any violence and I have a sterling military record including a special security clearance with very deep background checks. I think she may claim unreasonable behaviour however I am not sure on what grounds. I have already told her I am making her wait the full five years.

I have neglected her for the PC quite a bit when immersed in my own projects.

My questions are thus -

1. Is she required by law to give me her new address where my daughter is a resident? She is refusing so far.

2. Can I demand receipts for what she spends the CSA money on as she has been a habitual drug user in the past and frequent abuse of alchohol.

3. If her family have furnished her with a cash gift to rent a property / buy a property is that a git to the married couple or soley to her?

4. Can she deny me unscheduled visitation to my daughter as Army life can be very unpredicatable and last minute with frequent changes of plan.

5. She is refusing to sign the car over to me in regards to the DVLA despite repeated requests since the tax is due in 11 days. Can I force her to do this in any way?

6. Will she have an entitlement to my future monetary bonuses in the Army which are paid for continued service

7. Is she legally allowed to return to a matrimonial home after confirming in writing she has left and take items without me being there?

8. We have numerous joint bills including an outstanding e.on bill for over £500 in both of our names which she is refusing to pay. I am also liable for the HP agreement on the car and the repair and cleaning bills for the house. Does she need to contribute?

I am quite devastated at the turn of events and have emailed her some nasty remarks. She admitted that she stayed with me until she was pregnant again purely so that she did not have 2 children by different fathers and left me pretty much on the day that the second child was confirmed as healthy.

I have no real premises with which to visit or see my daughter and have been reduced to jungle jims for an afternoon.


In March 2012 (not that far away) I return to Afghanistan for 6 months so will pretty much not meet the newborn at all and I am certain (having known her) that by the time I return at Christmas 2012 that she will have someone else living there and parenting my daughter.

At this stage I feel like walking away from everything including my little girl and just letting them get on with their lives.

Any and all advice appreciated, even criticism.

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 17:15:07

At the minute it feels like the social system I have spent my entire life defending has bent over backwards to help a woman who has contributed nothing and I have been saddled with everything including solicitor fees, court costs, bills, cleaning, rubbish removal, giving up my dog...

I am close to the edge.

Imnotaslimjim Wed 29-Jun-11 17:19:34

I have no legal advice for you but I do think that you both need to step back and calm down. Throwing insults at each other is not going to help the situation at all

Get yourself a solicitor. They will be best placed on how to proceed with this, and what you are both entitled to (or not, as the case may be)

I hope she calms down soon and is a little more lenient about contact with the DC. And I wish every happiness for your future, with or without her

Hulababy Wed 29-Jun-11 17:26:11

What contact do you currently have with your DD when you are in the UK?

What contact is set up for when you are stationed away from the UK?

oldenoughtowearpurple Wed 29-Jun-11 17:27:06

1. Get a solicitor of your own
2. Focus on what's important - regular access to your DCs, sorting out the car
3. Don't sink to petty retaliation like 'i've told her i'm making her wait the full five years'
4. Play it by the book
5. Don't wallow in self pity and be all victimy - it takes two to mess up a marriage.

Blu Wed 29-Jun-11 17:35:53

Really sorry you have been separated from your DD.

I have never seen anything that suggests a mother has any right to withold access to a child unless the father is a danger to the child. Even when a man has been incredibly violent towards a woman she is generally obliged to co-operate with access arrangements that allow the man to see his children, so i can't see that you would be barred from seeing your children.

You do need your own solicitor, asap.

And don't dismiss her as having contributed nothing - she has brought up your DD!

How do you mean she lost you to the PC? What were you doing?

Bandwitch Wed 29-Jun-11 17:44:44

"she's contributed nothing to society".

Well that's a charming way to describe the mother of your child(ren). You mention the fact that she's been on benefits. Well, she is the mother of a child under two, so I don't think anybody is actually going to berate her or hold her in contempt that she's not been earning in this last 2 years. So I would advise you against trying to portray yourself as the fine upstanding tax-paying citizen in contrast to her benefit-claiming lifestyle. hmm

She left because she was unhappy with you. And you have to acknowledge that. It is all very well to say I didn't drink, smoke etc... but that doesn't mean that she was obliged to be happy with you. She clearly wasn't happy and I'm sorry but reading your post you sound like you think she doesn't quite have the right to decide that she doesn't want to be with you, because YOUR perception of you is the real one. And not only that, you tell us you are a good guy, but that's not as relevant as the relationship between you. That obviously wasn't working.

Sorry to be blunt, but I recognise your 'voice' if you like. My x would tell anybody who listened that he's no idea why I left and he also tried to mock me for being on benefits. That didn't work out well for him. His own solicitor advised him to rein it in.

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:10:16

Does that mean that you agree it is OK for a female to conceive a child with a man she doesn't love...purely because she does not want 2 children by different fathers?

How is that in way morally right?

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:15:11

Lost me to the PC as I am studying for 2 degrees and learning to program computers for the day I leave the Army.

I am not upset that she left me, if a relationship breaks down it breaks down, but I am upset at the callous way she has cleaned me out of everything I own and convinced me she loves to enough to have another baby.

I am now tied to a second child for life which I thought I was bringing into a marriage.

Gay40 Wed 29-Jun-11 18:16:47

I'm not sure it is morally right to prefer a PC to your wife.

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:21:12

Obviously we are on the same page here. Studying to better yourself and tricking a man into pregnancy are clearly on the same level...

loler Wed 29-Jun-11 18:22:55

Your dd is the important one in this mess - always remember that and even if it is hard for you do everything you can to stay part of her life - if it just ends up being snatched moments here and there that's better for her than you walking away - when she's older she'll know that you did everything you could for her.

I agree with everyone else - try to stay civil and get a solicitor. Good luck

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:24:36

There is no hope of defending myself is there? I am going to have to get a solicitor. I was quite willing to have an amicable break up and quick divorce.

Gay40 Wed 29-Jun-11 18:25:12

However, you still managed to have regular sex with a woman who hated you.....and you didn't realise??

yearningforthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 18:27:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:28:39

How on earth would I realise my wife hated me when she told me she loved every day, couldn't wait to get pregnant again and made all the right noises.

Hell, we even took a family holiday 3 weeks before she left and it was brilliant. I am not really sure what you are trying to imply here buddy?

Do you somehow believe she has acted ethically in her actions? Abandoning a joint house, bills, commitments, returning to rob the place and refusing me access to my daughter?

shakes head What is it that you think?

yearningforthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 18:35:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beamur Wed 29-Jun-11 18:39:24

You must be feeling pretty awful now.
Good advice to try and step back a bit and calm down. I don't think you are going to be able to do this nicely and amicably between you - you do need to get a solicitor to fight your corner for you.
Avoid slanging matches as this will only inflame the situation. I know that's way easier to say than to do.
Keep the relationship with your kids at the heart of this, don't give up on contact, and resist the temptation to use the kids as leverage to get at your wife. You can come out of this with dignity and build a meaningful relationship with your kids in the future.

Triphop Wed 29-Jun-11 18:40:15

This sounds like a really tough time for you. I'm sorry she left, sorry she cleaned you out, sorry you're being blocked from seeing your DD. You're right, that's awful.

However... you don't get to say she's contributed nothing, and you don't get to send nasty emails and then wonder why she won't give you her address. Think about that one for a moment.

You def need to hire a solicitor. There is clearly no hope of an amicable break up here, and there's no point in blaming that situation on her when your own behaviour has been less than lovely.

You can work out a joint contact arrangement, so that you will see your children. And you may need to work extra hard to stay an active part of their lives, given that your career may take you away for longish periods of time. But you're their Dad, and always will be, and no one else she may move in with will take your place. Provided you make sure they see lots and lots of you, and make a special effort to stay an active part of their lives.

Best of luck.

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:40:43

That comment "I spent to much time in front of the PC" was written in a sentence in the context of what she could use as grounds for "unreasonable behaviour" when seeking divorce.

But seriously, I am a little gobsmacked here. Regardless of the side of the are still condoning robbing a house (when riasing money for a hospital of all things) and tricking a man into a pregnancy?

I was guided to this forum by one of the welfare department...but so far it seems like "blame the victim". What the fvck!

SoloAgainItSeems Wed 29-Jun-11 18:42:43

Blimey DevDad, sorry you are in this horrible situation. I have no advice except to get proper legal advice.

I'd just like to know why seemingly decent men (sometimes) end up with rotten women and good women end up with rotten men...?

DevDad Wed 29-Jun-11 18:44:34

A solicitor has just confirmed via email that she must provide me with the address where my daughter is living or the Judge will make her.

That is all I need and a custody arrangement. She can keep the material possessions.

Thanks for the solicitor advice guys, I was going to go without. For those trying to show some maternal solidarity with my ex...I am speechless.

I did imply she had contributed nothing because before she had my daughter she literally did contribute nothing. She hopped around Europe partying before we met. Now she can avail herself of the legal system for free whilst taxpayers pick up the tab.

Gay40 Wed 29-Jun-11 18:45:01

Not really blaming anyone - there's two sides to every divorce. However, I find it unbelievable that you thought things were rosy and grand when she was so bloody miserable. Either you stopped paying attention to the nuances and microgestures of this relationship, or she just realised that she couldn't live with you a moment longer, overnight.
From where I see it, you don't know what your unreasonable behaviour could be. Big red flags. Most people know when they've been a tit.

giyadas Wed 29-Jun-11 18:45:19

Your 18:24 post was clearly a lie, as you've already stated you would make her wait the full five years. Sounds like you have carried on living the life of a single man and expected your wife to be your dogsbody to enable you to 'better yourself'.
Your wife and daughter are just as important as you, but it sounds like she got fed up of waiting for you to realise that. Agree with Bandwitch in that I recognise your 'voice' too, which is why I'm not going to take your version of events as gospel.
if this is a true op, of course and not a 'data collection' exercise

Triphop Wed 29-Jun-11 18:46:59

I think you're getting a lot of good advice on here, actually. The main one being, See a solicitor. And put aside your anger with your wife to focus on your relationship with your children (that is MUCH easier said than done).

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