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English mum in France, husband walked out - what do I do next?

(41 Posts)
steaknife Thu 23-Jul-09 13:34:58

Ttile says it all, DH is French, DD is 11 months and has a british passport.

I am staying in France for the time being, lawyers appt in 2 weeks.
I am in the flat, rented, and we currently get housing benefit and family benefit.

My last employment ended in Jan 2008 in the UK.

I would like to stay in France, I had plans to do an intensive language course to improve my French enough so that I could get a pt job. But now I don't know if that is possible as I have no income.

Childcare no problem as live close to ILs.

Or should I just head for home? Though obv not going to move DD without DHs consent. And obv hoping that by staying put a reconciliation might occur [fool that I am emoticon]

Does anyone know what extra benefits I could qualify for?

Othersideofthechannel Thu 23-Jul-09 17:09:21

So sorry to hear this. I am afraid I have no practical help to offer but bumping for you.

maggievirgo Thu 23-Jul-09 17:14:31

If you stay in France long enough for your daughter to have a life of her own (pre-school) and to build up relationships with her grandparents, then you may find that it is impossible to change your mind at a later date. You would be removing your child from her "habitual domicile".

If I were you, I'd go back to England to avoid a long unbroken stretch in France. Go back to England at least while you decide what you want to do and where you want to live.

Sorry to heap that on your doorstep right now, but it's important to know that staying in France would have repercussions in the longer term.

steaknife Thu 23-Jul-09 18:43:56

maggievirgo - it is so difficult to decide what is the best course of action. It is impossible to tell what the future may bring and how relations with DH will turn, which is why I am staying put at the moment.

Though interesting that you think leaving now wouldn't be seen as removing her from her habitual residence.

maggievirgo Fri 24-Jul-09 10:02:08

Ok, I hear that. But by staying put, out of paralysis, or not having a chrystal ball, you will limit your options in the future.

I'm not taking a swipe at you here, sorry if it seems like that. Nor am I saying that England is the only country to live in!! In fact, I left England to go to another country and my x tried to have me charged with abducting the children.

If you go to England, back to your "support network in your home country", then if worst case scenario, you do decide that your whole future isn't definitely in France, then your daughter's early life would be less definitely French. It would be a bit of both.

I hope you're ok. It's an horrendous time. I know that. But you don't know how you'll feel in three years time. Sometimes it's so impossible to imagine living in another country, just going about your everyday life in another place. You can only imagine being a visitor there. But things can change. Your perspective, what you want, your priorities might have a re-shift.

Good luck, I hope you have good friends nearby to help you right now.

mx

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 10:04:34

Crikey. Poor you.

I have no idea about benefits etc. But you will have a hard time repatriating unless your DH agrees IF you and she have been living in France for over a year? Is this the case?

If not, go back to the UK ASAP to keep your options open!

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 10:06:03

Could you stay at your parents' house in the UK? Would they support you for a while?

Niftyblue Fri 24-Jul-09 10:08:46

Where are you in France?
Anywhere near the Swiss border?

only ask thats where I am and if you need anything let me know

Its a difficult decision (sp) to stay put or notsad

Keep posting wink

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 10:09:59

I have the name of a lawyer in Paris specialised in pan-European divorce. Let me know if you need it.

maggievirgo Fri 24-Jul-09 10:11:28

Yes, that's all I mean steak. Sorry if I came on a bit strong earlier. I would just hate to see somebody, quite understandably, after a relationship breakdown, unable to move out of their comfort zone, and inadvertently narrow their life choices for the future.

I could move back to the UK now if I choose, but it can be my choice. My children have Irish passports and although it doesn't do any harm, if it had gone to court (which it nearly did) Irish, or British passports would have counted for NADA.

What counts under the Hague convention is "habitual domicile".

So put habitual domicile into question by spending a few months with your parents. See your old friends. Let your Mum/sister/old friends support you in your home environment. Did me the World of good to be physically removed from the town and country where I had suffered! Feel dramatic typing that, but being in a new environment helped me to believe that I would feel happy and strong and like a new person again.

Be in France because you choose to be in France, not because you're legally tied to being there.

I know what I'm saying is totally subjective due to my own history but I can't help it. Sorry.

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 10:13:01

It is only one year in a country to becoming habitually domiciled.

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 13:57:03

Thanks - don't worry not taking anything too personally - opinions and other experiences are always useful to hear and give me things I might not think of.

Going back for a visit is difficult - my dad's place is too small, my mum has a long-term lodger. So no space there for longer than a week or two.

We have only been here 7 months so might not be considered HR, and tbh that is one reason I am hesitant to move back to the UK - I'm not sure I could stand another move right now. Since DD was born we have had 3 addresses - Spain, PILs and now our flat. It is an awful lot of upset. I know DD would adjust but I think it might finish me off.

I think the other reason that I don't want to leave is that it would make it all seem final and I don't think I'm ready for that yet either. Again probably rather foolish.

I do actually want to stay here, I like the town, I am beginning to make friends and DD loves being around her dad and the ILs. I want to exhaust all the possibilities here before deciding to leave.

Nifty - very kind of you, we are in Hautes Alpes, about an hour from Italian border.

Bonsoir - good lord the D word, really trying not to think that far ahead!

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 14:02:08

Maybe not, but even if you are separated only, you must find out about your rights.

Please, please don't put your head in the sand about this. Imagine you find that you don't want to stay (because you can't get a job, for example - you won't get much alimony in France) but you have to because your DD has become habitually domiciled in France. Can you imagine living on the breadline where you are? Please think about this.

What are your skills/qualifications, and what is the job market like in your town?

mumof2222222222222222boys Fri 24-Jul-09 14:09:12

We will be in Hautes Alpes in a small town about an hour from the Italian border...last 2 weeks of August. Long shot, but if it is the same place and you want to chat with an English Francophile, let me know. We're half way betweeen Gap and Briancon.

It sounds as though you've both been under a lot of strain with a new baby and so many moves and changes. Agree with BA and others, but probably good that you are not rushing away from everything - is there a chance things could work out with DH?

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 14:11:38

Anna seeing the lawyer at the beginning of Aug. Seeing the bank on Tuesday and going to get PILs to help me sort out benefits.

I was in marketing, but despite lessons twice a week my French is progressing slowly.

Before this all kicked off I was planning on starting an intensive course in September so that I could get a pt job, along side that I was going to set up a stall on the market selling handmade made baby clothes, accessories etc

Not sure how viable that is for income that is now as it is only me.

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 14:14:26

mumof2 - we are in Gap. Would love to meet up. all friendly faces welcome.

Of course I hope for a reconciliation but have to make plans assuming that wont happen.

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 14:16:57

Have you got qualifications and a work experience record that would be recognised in France?

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 14:17:34

mumof2 - yes not the first year of DDs life I had in mind, but she is thriving and happy and trying to wreck the pc grin

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 14:19:59

anna - no idea, 10 years in marketing but no industry qualifications. Last education was a dance degree - not sure that will help me out much.

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 14:20:48

sorry I have to go now, will check in later. Thanks again for all advice and help.

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 14:21:41

Hmm. I really, really would be cautious about your ability to support yourself financially in the short term. I don't want to sound very negative, but the job prospects for English speakers in provincial France are not great at all (unless you can teach English!).

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 16:29:38

Anna - I've been thinking over your last comment. I think I will find out where I stand on benefits and still look into the market stall idea - though realistically I think you are probably right.

DH said he would try and help me to stay but it is obviously difficult money wise.

I'll see how I get on and make a decision at the end of August. At least I will feel like I tried rather than just running away.

mumof2222222222222222boys Fri 24-Jul-09 17:00:38

I do love Gap and can see why you would like to stay...but would share Anna's concerns.

We'll definitely go to Gap at some point (Decathalon!!!) and it would be good to have a drink...not sure how you CAT someone on this / send emails without posting on thread.

I have English friends over there (not great French) and to be honest they are semi retired and come back to UK to earn money. In my moments of fantasy when I think about living there, I know that earning my living would be v difficult...and as for DH (who when I was pg and being very sick by a motorway helpfully explained to the gendarmes, "Ma femme est sanglier") I think not!

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 17:24:20

I think that is the right idea - look into everything you are entitled to on the French state, and look into your legal rights should you decide to leave France and/or to divorce (sorry to use that word! but better informed than sorry), and look into your market stall idea, and then take an informed decision.

How long have you been out of the UK workplace?

steaknife Fri 24-Jul-09 19:38:51

Evening. I left UK in Oct 2005. We lived in Gran Canaria for 3 years - we had a scuba diving centre, lost it to recession then came here. But I did go back to UK for 6 months Aug 07 - Jan 08.

Thing is my best chance to pick up my career would be in London but that would be full time and mean putting DD into full time care - which was not on my agenda so I am not sure how happy I would be with that at the moment.
Mum's suggestion is to go to where she lives - Devon, so rivals Gap for prettyness - and get a part time job and have share child care between her and a child-minder.

Only other place in the UK I would like to live would be Bristol, but then the same work issues as London.

At least if I come home I wont have a heartattack every time I look at the prices of things for the baby - it is so expensive here!

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