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Single SAHM

(19 Posts)
LittleBugsMum Tue 18-Sep-12 11:16:10

Hi. I'm married with 2 dc and I look after the children at home. I have no income myself apart from Child Health Benefit which enables me to pay my direct debits and that's all. My husband pays for everything else.

What happens - hypothetically - if you want to separate with your husband? Even with maintenance from him, I wouldn't be able to afford a house or much of anything really. What do people do? Do they just stay because they can't afford to leave? It's very scary.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Sep-12 11:39:29

I'm sure some people do stick around because they think they can't afford to leave. However, depending on your circumstances, there is potentially quite a lot of financial help available. First is via any divorce settlement. Any assets (cash, property etc) are technically split 50/50 but, where there are children involved, this can be adjusted provided everyone is in agreement. Some people opt to maintain the family home so that the children are not disrupted, for example. Others go on to co-parent quite happily, sharing the costs & responsibilities voluntarily. If it's an acrimonious split, finances are often used as a weapon and that's when the legal system and the CSA have to get involved.

If you end up with a share of the proceeds from a house-sale, say, and a maintenance agreement then you start looking at what state help is available while you look for a job. This could mean things like Child Benefit, Child or Working Tax Credits, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit... some are income-related and some aren't. The www.turn2us.org.uk site has a very good benefits checker, for example.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Sep-12 11:45:18

Should add... if you feel vulnerable in your relationship because you have no income there are ways to address it. Getting a job is an obvious way to make yourself less dependent. You could tell your husband you need your own account and get him to transfer money into it. 'Housekeeping' it used to be called in the old days. Keep a bit by each month in savings and let it build up for that 'rainy day'

LittleBugsMum Tue 18-Sep-12 12:34:02

Thank you for your reply, that's loads of information! Great site.

My children are small and they don't go to school yet. If I worked it would only just cover childcare. I want to look after my own children anyway. He does give me an allowance but it's not much and gets swallowed up with things like famiy birthday presents, treats in the day, hairdressers (for all of us) etc and he can't afford to give anymore.

You're right though, I do feel vulnerable and a bit trapped. I had a lot more 'power' when I worked.
It's as though as soon as I did something amazing (and natural) like give birth to 2 wonderful children and look after them, I became a non-person with no choices or even a voice. In my relationship and society...

If I wasn't to get divorced, just separate, does that change benefits I'm entitled to? I wouldn't know where to start.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Sep-12 12:55:08

"I worked it would only just cover childcare"

Back up a second. If you both worked, you would both pay for the childcare between you. Children are a joint responsibility not the woman's responsibility. Children are not women's work. Never forget that. If working is important to you for your self-esteem and independence it is important enough to be as joint a part of the household budget as the mortgage or the gas-bill.

Many women sadly discover that the modern man they thought they married becomes a club-weilding caveman the minute children arrive .... at which point it's far too late In some narrow-minded men's eyes 'worth' is all about the £££s & not about the value of the contribution. Because they are earning the £££s, they think this makes them God Almighty to dispense the £££s as they see fit. That is not true for society as a whole, just a few throwbacks to a past era.

If you separate and live at different addresses it wouldn't change the benefits you are entitled to as long as you can successfully prove you are no longer a couple, but you may find it tougher to get maintenance out of him

LittleBugsMum Tue 18-Sep-12 21:16:34

I know it's not just my responsibility - I meant that if I worked, we'd have to pay childcare which would be the same (ish) amount I'd get for working so it isn't worth it.

His attitude towards me wouldn't impact onto the children, I know he'd pay as much maintenance as he could but that wouldn't be very much. If it was just me then I could just go, sleep on a friend's couch or whatever. I understand why women don't leave now... I don't think I have the energy.

Doasyouwouldbe Tue 18-Sep-12 21:22:22

Well why not look at it as the child-care comes out of his salary and not your salary at all.

It doesn't really matter.

LittleBugsMum Tue 18-Sep-12 22:02:26

He couldn't afford it either. He can barely afford what he gives me now, he won't suddenly have thousands of pounds extra for child care if we separate.

And also because I don't want to work, I want to look after DC myself...

I just wouldn't be able to afford to separate from my husband.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Sep-12 07:47:48

'it isn't worth it'

Once again... if it's worth it for your self-esteem and sense of independence, it's worth it. Even if you add zero extra income to the family, it's worth it. Also, in a few years' time, when your children are in school and don't need so much child care, you'll be further up the ladder rather than trying to start from cold after a long absence. So it's also worth it there.

Many of us would prefer to look after our DCs ourselves but circumstances dictate that we work instead. In my case, I'm a single parent so no option. In your case, in an unhappy marriage, it is a massive risk to continue to be financially dependent on your DH

janey68 Sat 22-Sep-12 19:45:20

Sorry to sound harsh but you are choosing to remain out of the work place even though it makes you feel vulnerable. Even if childcare costs the equivalent of your wage right now, it's not for long as children get free nursery hours at age 3 and then childcare costs drop a lot once they star school. In the meantime you are remaining in the workplace, keeping your skills up to date and paying into your pension.

It's difficult to feel sympathy for a woman who says 'Im not happy in my marriage, but I don't want to work, and if I split from my dh I want to magically be able to afford to Carry on living in this house and paying the bills!'

I do feel sorry for anyone in an unhappy relationship- but the first step here is to accept that as an adult you have to take responsibility for your life. If you are determined to leave your marriage, then accept that you will need to make lifestyle changes. Have you also thought about the fact that children of happy working (but separated) parents is probably going to be more well adjusted than having an unhappy and trapped SAHM

I sympathise with you in every way except the "I want to look after my own children." mindset.

If your husband was saying you werent allowed to work then I could see into you feeling like you were being opressed and losing you.

But its you imposing this on yourself. From what you say your husband simply doesnt earn enough to give you the lifestyle you desire. It doesnt sound intentional on his part to me at all.

If you are unhappy in your relationship then thats ok. But dont blame it all on your husband being financially abusive if that simply isnt the case.

LittleBugsMum Sun 23-Sep-12 17:33:30

It's ok ladies, I didn't want sympathy. That's why I posted in the money section, not relationships.

I never said that money was the reason I'm unhappy in my relationship. He isn't abusive financially or any way. The power balance doesn't help our situation but it definitely isn't the cause. My husband is a good man and would always look after his children.

I wanted advice on what my options are financially if I leave. I waited to have children for when the time is right and I want to look after them myself. I'm being honest, not criticising anyone else's choices. If I can't do that as a single SAHM then I may consider staying for the time being.

I guess what I mean is, I wouldn't be able to separate from my husband and still be a SAHM.

janey68 Sun 23-Sep-12 17:49:39

Well, I applaud your honesty about it, but I think you are wrong to prioritise being a SAHM over being in a truly loving and happy relationship. Children pick up on a lot. They can deal with having happy loving parents who work; it's harder to deal with having unhappy parents.

If you arent happy in your relationship then you leave no matter what it takes.

You dont stay to ensure you can be a sahm.

Your priorities seem very messed up and tbh you sound quite selfish.

MrsjREwing Sun 23-Sep-12 18:01:03

There is a site think it is turn to us that gives you benefits calculator. Not sure about IS, it used to cover people until dc were at secondary, I think it is much lower now, so you may go on jsa and have to look for work and sort out childcare. Never claimed either so not sure.

glitch Sun 23-Sep-12 18:19:57

LittleBugsMum I have recently separated from my H. He moved out of the house so I now have the mortgage to pay plus all bills etc.
My situation is slightly different as I am carer to my DS but disregarding payments I am allowed for him this is what I can claim; Child Tax Credit, income support, council Tax Benefit (which covers the whole amount), child benefit plus after mortgage interest payments (after a 12 week qualifying period).
I have found it easier to manage as I am still in my home and there aren't that many bills once you chop out all the extras (who watches sky tv anyway!!)

LittleBugsMum Sun 23-Sep-12 20:43:52

wannabedomesticgoddess You have no idea about my life or my reasons for wanting what I want. I don't believe I am selfish for wanting to be with my children as much as possible but if I am, I don't care. There are worse ways of being selfish.

The sites are a great help and I'll speak to the CAB if I have to. It sounds like you get a lot of help if you're a carer glitch and I'm pleased to hear it. And no, I barely watch (adult) TV any more anyway, no one needs all that choice - you're better off without it! smile

LittleBugsMum Sun 23-Sep-12 20:45:04

And when I say 'adult' TV I mean 'grown up', not the other kind.

glitch Mon 24-Sep-12 15:49:03

Do you have details of all the monthly bills that your husband currently pays? I admit I buried my head in the sand over bills whilst we were together but there aren't that many when you gather all the info together.

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