Moving to Ireland after marriage breakdown - cost of living queries

(31 Posts)
galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 15:48:58


I will most likely be moving to Ireland (Galway) in the Summer with my daughter. I split from my husband of 20 years last year and am thinking that moving 'home' is a positive thing to do.

Ex is fighting over sale of the house - wants a much larger percentage as he'll be looking for a place in London and Galway will be much cheaper. My argument (still 60:40 in his favour) is that I need a cushion as there are bugger all jobs and cost we are not used to. Basically I want to boost (or not) my argument by knowing what the costs are. I know that have to pay for GP, school books. Has anyone made the move and if so, can you tell me about extra living costs in Ireland versus UK?

OP’s posts: |
JE1234 Wed 06-Jan-16 16:06:00

I did make the move but came back. These were the things I paid more for off the top of my head:
Health insurance
GP and medical incidentals
School books (at secondary we got second hand for most as there are so many)
Petrol because we were using more of it
Utilities were more expensive and there wasn't the same choice for things like Broadband so costs were higher than we were used to
Grocery bill was higher although not hugely
We both also earnt less but didn't have to tackle crazy London rents/mortgages

NaughtToThreeSadOnions Wed 06-Jan-16 16:19:40

how old is your daughter, uniforms can be fairly expensive if their kilts.
Most schools have a logoed tracksuit.
Voluntary contributions are quite high.
Arts and photocopied fees.
School book rental schemes.
School work books (ie the ones you write in)
You may have to pay for refuse collection
Some libraries charge membership fees
You may be charged for calling out the fire service should you need it (hopefully not)

Stillunexpected Wed 06-Jan-16 18:28:34

Tell him you have changed your mind about moving to Ireland. He shouldn't be trying to negotiate based on where you might live. Suppose you genuinely don't move? How are you going to manage in London if you have given him the majority of the equity?

Apart from that, I am Irish but haven't lived there in years so not sure about extra costs apart from what people have already mentioned. There is currently huge upset over water bills but you would be paying those here anyway, it's just a new thing in Ireland. You might want to check car tax and insurance, I seem to remember from what my brother was saying that those may be more expensive as well.

lifeisunjust Wed 06-Jan-16 20:27:22

A word of warning if you're going to court. No UK court judge would entertain giving either side more of the pot because they've decided to move to an area more expensive than where they were living at the time of the split.

My husband stood in court and said the 4 children and me should move down the property scale so that he could take 55% of the pot so that he could buy a house double the value of the family home because he'd chosen to move to a more expensive area. The judge laughed at him the only time in the full 3 days.

Be very careful about arguing you should have more because of where you plan to live.

JE1234 Wed 06-Jan-16 20:31:56

lifeis the OP is offering to have less because she is moving to the cheaper area. I'd echo others though who have said 50/50 is fair regardless, you will need a financial cushion to set up a new life beyond the cost of the house. Not having the NHS can be a royal PITA.

Drquin Wed 06-Jan-16 20:51:58

Here's my experience .....

Doctor was approx Eur 40 for an appointment, and another 40 for anti-biotics / Depo.
Shopped at Tesco mainly, not far from work, but found many folk (particularly those with young kids) would split the shopping between Tesco, Aldi, Lidl ..... Cheaper to buy certain things in certain shops. I did find foodstuffs / groceries more expensive but not controversially so, didn't have to economise. Probably balanced out by socialising in a village pub than bars / restaurants (as I would in UK).

Rent was much cheaper than I was used - but that's relative to where you are, and easily checkable if you use
Utilities slightly more, but as mentioned, part of the issue was lack of choice.

The one thing I was aggrieved about was the price of clothes which were also British brands, where the GBP and EUR price were both displayed. More expensive, even taking into account exchange rate fluctuations, in EUR. So I tended to order via UK website and have a friend post out to me!

Having said all that ..... It's Galway! That would be enough for me. And it's got a M&S and Brown Thomas.

But seriously, get a fair deal .... Don't settle for less just because you think you might end up somewhere cheaper.


Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Thu 07-Jan-16 09:25:21

Don't take less than 50% if you are going to have main parental responsibility for your joint child, regardless of where you are thinking of moving to - plans can change, you might need to live elsewhere for job or other reasons a few years down the line and price yourselves out of a return to London etc. later, by giving away your % of equity now when you don't have to.

Sorry I know nothing about costs in Ireland except that somebody I know who lives there (not in Galway) is constantly saying its astronomically expensive - she lives somewhere with very high housing costs though. I believe water bills are high... and medical costs are something you'd want a "just in case" cushion for as you have to pay on top off insurance.

galwaygirl1971 Thu 07-Jan-16 10:05:42

Thanks all. Jesus, I knew Ireland was expensive, but hadn't thought about a lot of the above. I don't drive, so will have to have lessons and have a car and all those costs for the first time (ex has a company car).

The reason I'm being so accommodating to his financial wishes is that I have a daughter in uni in Liverpool. She'll want to stay with her Dad in London for parts of the holidays (currently she finds Galway very quiet, but only knows it from holidays and cousins etc). He knows I want to do right by her, and thus using that to push for as big a share of the house as he can get (he thinks 70:30 in his favour is fair and reasonable).

I'm getting very worried about costs. I will be able to buy a place outright. But, there really are very few jobs about. I thought as long as I got anything I 'd be okay, but with these costs ... I guess I would have to insist he pays a decent amount of maintenance.

OP’s posts: |
galwaygirl1971 Thu 07-Jan-16 10:10:57

DD2 who'll be with me is 12 so starting secondary school. Sounds like that's not cheap. At the moment she pays for nothing, even has a free breakfast club at school!

OP’s posts: |
alteredimages Thu 07-Jan-16 10:15:51

I would definitely not agree to take less because he has decided to stay in London. That is crazy. What should be relevant here is who has main parental responsibilty and the associated costs, and how much each of you earn.

When my parents divorced DF's higher earnings gave DM a much larger share despite DF having the kids. Make sure you sort out pension provision for you if you aren't working/employment situation is unclear.

JE1234 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:53:34

Given what you have just said I really don't think you should take less than 50/50. If you will be heavily reliant on maintenance just to make ends meet what would happen if he got ill or lost his job? I know it's a worst case scenario but you would need a fairly hefty financial cushion. I understand the concerns about your older DD but if you assume it takes the rest of this academic year to find his property and complete she only has 2 more years of uni before she may get a job and fly the nest. I know there's a chance she'll want to move back to London but I wouldn't sacrifice financial security on the offchance that may happen.

NuggetofPurestGreen Thu 07-Jan-16 11:59:00

Not just GP costs and prescription costs to consider (my gp is currently €60 a pop and prescriptions are expensive) but public hospital health care isn't free either and private costs a bomb. health insurance not cheap either.

summerroses Thu 07-Jan-16 12:16:05

Hi Galwaygirl, I was concerned yesterday reading your other post. 50/50 is generous if you are the main caregiver. Your older daughter may not want to spend so much time staying with her father, she could move on quickly. Plus, if he has a girlfriend you might be contributing to their new home (and that of a possible second family). Also, once she realizes that Galway has a great night life, you may see more of her.
His pension is a major part of the pot to be divided. His promise of maintenance sounds generous, but, is only a promise.
You need a mediator, as he is trying it on.
The Irish pension comes in 2 forms contributory or noncontributory. noncontributory is means tested. contributory requires a minimum amount of stamps and the 260 requirement was put up much higher last year by the troika. If you look up the pensions office and ring them, they are extremely helpful.
Secondary school is expensive. No need to pay fees outside Dublin, but, look up the Sunday Times ranking system, to check on your school. Check entry system, may have application deadline and a lottery to get in. It can be worth coping with cliques in the more competitive schools (not always the case) to not be in a poor performing class with unambitious peers.
Costs include books (E400) in first year with smaller costs until 5th year.
Voluntary contribution (ours is E400) which you will be chased for if you don't volunteer. After school activity cost. Grinds, to compensate for the dud teachers that you inevitably fall foul of. school trips (2 or 3 during the course of secondary). Transition year fees plus extra for exchanges etc. Exam fees plus fees for Christmas and pre-exams in exam years. Uniforms often have to be bought in a particular shop. Our skirt alone is E65. First year uniform E400 minimum plus the obligatory decks at E100.
If you are transferring sterling into Euros shop around for a currency broker who will give you a much more competitive rate than a bank (negotiate for a larger amount). This should help you with house purchase as the exchange rate is in favour of sterling. At the moment you have a big advantage re. house purchase and it might be advisable to jump as the market is slowly recovering and we Irish want to own, so prices will go up.
Cold winds are blowing through the job/welfare markets. It seems to me that workers rights are taking big backward steps. You will need a cushion. It might also be worth investing it in Sterling/U.K. so that you have a kitty to supplement university in the U.K. or a donation to a deposit for your daughters to purchase flats. That 10% invested in a better property in Galway, might give your daughters a better inheritance. Your family is now you and them.
As regards 3rd level. The registration fee is E3000 at the moment and there is some other thing for 500. You can claim 20% tax back above an excess. There is a commission at the moment considering the introduction of fees (imagining that we currently have none) and loans. Look up susie to see the grant system.
Ireland is expensive, but, you soon learn to shop around. Keep a sterling bank account for internet shopping. As soon as you look up many companies online they change to the Irish website, where prices are much higher than the exchange rate. Maybe your daughter can help here.
You sound lovely. Your husband hasn't brought his principles into your relationship. He is taking advantage of your good nature.
A tentative welcome home.

Artandco Thu 07-Jan-16 12:44:36

Def go for 50/50.

Your Dh may be living in London, but you will be the main person by the sounds of it having a child living with you full time. He only needs to support himself day to day and can obviously work whenever without worrying about childcare etc

( I know at 12 they should be ok at home alone sometimes but hardly the whole summer holiday)

Actually that's another point, aren't the summer holidays in Ireland very long?

50/50 will allow you to settle in and not have to worry about school expenses and other things. I assume flights or ferries will also be needed between eldest at uni also

TheSecondViola Thu 07-Jan-16 12:49:48

If you're not working you can get either a full medical card or a GP cost card, so I wouldn't be too worried about that.
School start can be expensive, but I really don't think Ireland is much more expensive for most things than the UK, and certainly not compared to London. And the schooling is superior, so its worth it.

galwaygirl1971 Thu 07-Jan-16 13:10:35

Thanks all. I must admit, schooling is far more expensive than I had ever anticipated.

summerroses, thanks for that. I am lovely - I took a big knock in confidence, self-belief etc, but am slowly but surely getting back on track. I know I sound very naive in the posts, and am in many ways, but am going to take control of my own life and start looking after the three of us as best I can. I have at last moved on emotionally, but I do want me and him to have as amicable a relationship as is possible for the girls sake.

All your replies have helped so much - I can actually start looking at the nitty gritty with open eyes. And learn how to drive (that's at the top of my 'shit, I can't believe I have to do that at 44 years old' list).
I'll be paying for dd1 to come over, will be bribing her at every opportunity. I plan on making her bring friends so they can see what Galway has to offer. I'll go to Liverpool and London to see her as well. Ex will pay for dd2 to travel over and back. Depending on what job I get, I envisage him having her for a month or so in the holidays as he has great holiday benefits.

I'm hoping that with ex toing and froing, I'll be able to get a lot of clothes etc from UK at UK prices (and leave him to deal with returns smile.

I will be keeping a UK account, and that tip about currency brokers.
What I haven't mentioned I've just noticed, is that I am in a position to buy an apartment (3 bed) from my Mum who has to sell. It's perfect - only her price keeps going up and I can't barter with Mum! But to be fair, prices are going up in Ireland so it's not like she'd be ripping me off.

OP’s posts: |
Samantha28 Thu 07-Jan-16 13:18:53

You need to get a fair deal for your kids sake . He can promise all he likes to pay maintenance . But you only need to read the single parents boards here to see that many men renege on this. They say all the right things when they feel guilty , or just to look reasonable , but they change their minds later.

What if he meets someone else and has a baby or two with her ? He's not going to be so keen to pay then .

What if he quits his job and goes off travelling round the world ?

You need a bigger share of the assets as you have a child to support.

In your desire to be " amicable " you are ripping off your kids . What are you going to say when you can't afford to put your younger Dd through university " oh I'm sorry darling, I wanted your dad to think I was a nice person during the divorce so I gave him more than his fair share " ? .

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Thu 07-Jan-16 13:55:32

Don't be accommodating based on assumptions about where your older DD will want to spend Uni holidays - she may well want to spend the long holidays inter-railing or working for PGL or as a holiday rep in Spain or with her new uni boyfriend... Mix in a week each longer holiday with you and a few visits by her to other friends and maybe the odd actual week in the sun type holiday and she may not spend any more time with her dad than she does with you - certainly not enough to outweigh you being the resident parent for a 12 yo!

Stillunexpected Thu 07-Jan-16 18:57:21

If your daughter is already in uni that presumably means she has maximum of two more long summer holidays which she may or may not want to spend with her father. Than she will be working and the long summer holidays will be a thing of the past! I don't think you should get caught up in trying to bribe her to come to Galway, she will need to go wherever she gets work or wherever her partner ('cos she will find one) lives. This will most likely be neither Galway or London!

I also don't follow your logic about accepting a lesser amount from your husband so that you can do right by your daughter and she can spend time with your husband in London? Are you suggesting that if you don't give him a large settlement he won't have her to stay, or he will make out that he doesn't have space for her or something else?

TheSecondViola Thu 07-Jan-16 20:34:04

There are 2 daughters.

galwaygirl1971 Thu 07-Jan-16 20:51:42

Stillunexpected he thinks I should get less so he can afford a 2 bed property in London, so dd1 has her own space. So I am willing to give him a larger share. But if I gave him what he wanted, I'd have no cushion after buying a property. He can't see why I'm not happy to have 3 bed apt.outright. He doesn't think it's fair that he has to get mortgage (says as he's 53, it'll cost way more in repayments). But he has well paid job, company car, pension while I'll have nothing. Getting him to see that has proved impossible.
It all,sounds mad, but then so is the cost of a 2 bed in London, hence one of the reasons I'm moving.
I know she'll do whatever she wants with very little thought for her boring parents, but I really want to encourage her seeing Galway as home, or one of them!

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Thu 07-Jan-16 21:05:04

If it goes to court, a judge won't award more to another side just because they want to live somewhere expensive.

But do you live in London already? That might be crucial to the argument, but still a judge is likely to say your husband can move a little distance in London to get a reasonable standard of

However when children are over 18, then it gets tricky persuading any judge that the same space in a property is needed.

If it goes to court, it is likely you'll get at least 50% if not more.

I was dragged through 3 days in court by a husband wanting at first 55% and telling me to house 4 children in a 2 bed flat to accommodate his 55% and need to live somewhere twice as expensive, he continued to demand 45%, the judge awarded him 37% and out of court I'd offered 40%. It was crazy, i was the defendant and I would never recommend going to court but as an absolute last resort. I have not yet recovered even a year later, I cry every day from the memory of being on that stand.

JE1234 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:07:23

OP you really need some proper advice. If you are also not getting a share of other assets such as the pension you will be significantly worse off than him if you accept 60/40 in his favour.

Stillunexpected Thu 07-Jan-16 21:19:30

Yes, I was just coming back to ask how you are organising this divorce? Are you getting proper legal advice? You really cannot sort out your entire future on the basis of where your husband feels he has to live and on trying to ensure that your older daughter has somewhere to stay when she visits him. And what about your younger daughter? Won't she also want to visit him during school holidays when your older daughter might be there? Won't he decide next that he needs three bedrooms! And yes, someone made a very good point about his pension, are you getting some of that?

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