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Husband left suddenly - general advice needed re finance/separation, please(9 Posts)
Hello. I've posted in a different area about the emotional and personal turmoil of my situation, but have name changed to post on here. I am in a very sad place at the moment and am finding it difficult to know quite what to do or which way to turn. I realise I will have to start taking control and think to the future, but am terrified at the thought of having to sort things out and deal with financial matters; it's never really been my strong point and I find the paperwork a bit confusing to say the least.
DH and I are both 54, we have been married for 26 years with 3 children, DD1 is 20, DD2 and DS1 are 17. All three live at home. DD1 has had some mental health issues but is trying to work through this with ADs, therapy, etc. She is working PT and hoping to go to uni - maybe. DD2 and DS1 will be 18 in November, both are at college in the first year of A-Levels and hope to go on to uni in the future.
DH is a high earner (last year, 6 figures before tax); I am a low earner as support staff in a primary school and don't earn enough to pay tax. I was SAHM for a number of years when DC were small and then did various pt jobs and a period where I wasn't earning. House is mortgaged with about £70,000 outstanding and another 9 years to go. DH has a final salary pension which commenced when he joined his present company in about 2000. I don't have any provision really - not even sure I've contributed enough for old age pension.
About 8 weeks ago, DH told me he was unhappy in our marriage and left a few days later. He rented a flat and moved in with OW (28 years old) who he works with. I don't know how long he had been seeing her. He told me he would continue to pay bills and mortgage on our marital home and an allowance of £800 for DD2 and DS1 and indicated he would do this for about 6 months. He said he would like me to have the house and the equity and he will keep his pension. I think the idea is that I downsize to something that will enable me to be mortgage free and that I use my salary to pay bills, live, etc. There are no further debts or assets. We had an amount in savings which we each took half of before he left.
Nothing has been agreed formally and because of my distress at what has happened and the way he has been (angry at me for being so awful to live with that it drove him away), I have gone NC with him at this stage.
I had a free half hour session with a solicitor who seemed very good. I have also initiated mediation (told DH I would be doing this) and had a session on my own first. They will contact DH and then get back to me. I'm still waiting for this and am getting more and more nervous and filled with dread. I know that I will need to run things past my solicitor as and when they happen, but just wondered if any kind person could perhaps have a look at my post and let me know if they see any red flags or can point out any things I might need to look out for. My greatest fears at this stage are:
1. How I will manage to live in the future on what is a very small wage and no pension.
2. Will DH's suggestion re house/pension need to be worked out in greater detail?
3. Does the fact that DC live with me and two of them still in education, but nearly 18, count for anything?
4. Can DH just "pull the plug" on things if he feels like it?
5. He gets a sizeable annual bonus in April pay (last year it was about £13,000 after tax). I guess I am not entitled to any.
Sorry this is a bit long but I thought it might be easier to give more, rather than less information. Finally, I really don't want to take advantage of anybody's professional time and judgement, but if there are any general things that jump out, it would be handy to know. I'm sure my solicitor would do the same, but it's just this limbo period I'm in at the moment. I feel like I'm living on borrowed time and that because of what DH said to me about me and our marriage, I almost feel that I don't actually deserve anything. I know, I know! I'm having counselling for that ...
Any brief general advice or thoughts would be very gratefully received.
Sorry to hear this, it must be very hard to take it all in and think about the future at the same time. I hope the children are doing OK too.
I would ask the solicitor about the pension - if he is on a final salary scheme (and transferred any previous provision into it when he started that job) I'd have thought that would be worth quite a bit and that you'd be entitled to a share of it.
My parents recently divorced, in their 60s, very similar financial situation. Mum got the family home and half final salary pension, she had to go to the high court though. I hope that you get some good advice from a solicitor, I just though I would share my story, there may be lots of different factors that might affect your outcome.
Do you have good friends near you?
As for his 'interim' solution, he is proposing that until your children turn 18?
It's worth noting that the law is different in Scotland compared to England and Wales - I'm not sure where you are but my husband left suddenly at Christmas time and it took me a while to realise that some of the information I was reading wouldn't actually apply to me.
I'm not sure where you are but as a starting point you are entitled to half of everything, the pension, the equity in the house, cash etc. He has to pay maintenance for children under 18 and most people agree to pay while children are in full time education. The child maintenance service website gives an indicator of what he should pay per month but my h pays £810 per month and his is lower than yours so there is a chance he is already not paying what you are entitled to.
If you are in England or Wales you will probably be entitled to spousal maintenance as well as the child support and share of assets.
Your solicitor should be able to give you more information, even if you have to pay - most take credit cards if it comes to it. It's not ideal but at least you would know exactly where you stand.
Hello. Just thought I'd return to say thank you to you all for your very helpful and supportive posts. I also thought you might like a quick update ...
I have decided to take the initiative and made an appointment to see my solicitor to discuss the best way forward and what will be to my benefit and that of the DC. I took babybarrister's advice and brought a friend along. That was such a good idea because I was able to listen to the solicitor knowing that my friend (who is of the switched-on variety!) was also listening, making a few notes of things that I might forget, and nudging me if I started to stray into the realms of emotion rather than practical. My solicitor was quite happy to have my friend there and it is such a boost having that moral support.
I do not believe there will be reconciliation and because of the way I feel and what I now recognise as a catalogue of emotional abuse from DH over the years, we will be looking at commencing divorce proceedings alongside financial mediation. I realise that the best outcome for me financially, strategically and long-term may not necessarily be the most emotionally satisfying and I know my solicitor will guide me in that. My gut instinct is to divorce the bastard for adultery, name the OW and publish it in their company newsletter! Ha!! However, I may have to consider that the best outcome for me may be something along the lines of having him divorce me on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. If, of course, that is to my advantage.
All the other questions that I had with regard to finance, pensions, bonus, DCs etc will be discussed at mediation and referred back to my solicitor for further advice if required. I feel so much happier having taken this latest step because I realise that I will not be thrown out into the streets; he will not be allowed to force me into making hasty decisions; I am entitled to quite a lot and I have no need to feel guilty about it. I was beginning to feel that I did not deserve financial consideration because of being such a horrible person that it drove DH away from the marriage.
I know it will be a long and tricky path ahead and I just have to keep strong and not lose sight of the important things. Thank you all, once again, for your help and support.
Laphroiag just remember that these men are masters at making themselves out to be the victim. Sounds like you have a good string friend to support you.
What - you were so horrible he leapt into the arms of a 28 year old woman so she could protect him? And he wants to divorce YOU for unreasonable behaviour?
Actually it doesn't matter who divorces who, but I would be very, very pissed off at that situation.
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