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Getting utterly bullied over terms of divorce, serious help needed

(13 Posts)
twofalls Sat 03-Sep-11 14:25:27

My friend's DH told her 3 weeks ago he wanted a divorce. Things haven't been right between them since she found out about an affair he had around 3 years ago - they have virtually been leading separate lives under the same roof. Neither of them have been happy but she has no idea what triggered the move towards divorce. Until now they have lived fairly amicably, although she has been deeply unhappy.

He has bascially filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differenences, told her she should agree to his terms or else he will make life hell for her. She has numerous solictors letters from him citing all kinds of so-called unreasonable behaviour on her part, one of them claiming she was an irresponsible mother because she once forgot to put her son's seat belt on (he is 5 and told her straight away). He will know this will hurt her the most because she has dedicated her life to her DS, giving up a well paid career to be a SAHM. He has also said she has contributed nothing financially to the home despite the fact she put down a hefty deposit, paid off lots of his debts, has a very small ebay business and won a few thousand pounds on the lottery a few years ago which he then proceeded to spend on a new bike. She has also been a SAHM so has been looking after their child.

He has also told her he has had more than one affair, once with a friend of hers. She is now a wreck and feels completely humilated as she is questioning their whole 12 year marriage. She doesn't have the energy to fight him, has no family to help or support her and is wondering how one earth she will cope if she has to leave the house, with no income and a son to support. She is also wondering how she will find the strength to get a decent outcome from the divorce as she is feeling so vulnerable and devestated. They are currently all living in the same house as he refuses to move out. Her self esteem and confidence are shot to pieces and she cannot stop crying.

He told her earlier today something along the lines of "if you want to get fucked you are going th eright way about it. Welcome to hell".

She has seen a solictor but the fees are astronomical and she has no money of her own.

Sorry that was so long. I am going to see her tonight but I am not sure where to start to help.

FabbyChic Sat 03-Sep-11 14:31:30

She will get legal aid.

Tell her he is trying to scare her that she will fight the divorce and file her own for his adultery. Please please tell her to see a free solicitor for 20 mins, she has contributed to the house and as such assuming it is in joint names she is entitled to half the equity and maintenance for her child.

I feel sure once she knows her legal position she will fight him, but at the moment she believes everything he is saying which is bullshit.

She has to stand up to this bully and tell him go for himt you son of a bitch I shall fight fire with fire.

respite Sat 03-Sep-11 14:37:39

put aside his arsey behaviour for a moment and look at what his proposed terms actually are. They might be reasonable. Don't assume they are not.

If they are not reasonable , she can take it from there

twofalls Sat 03-Sep-11 14:38:28

Thanks fabby, he has said that if she does that he will deny it and its her word against his. I know he if full of shit and is just bullying her.

I didn't know that she qualifies for legal aid.

babeinthewood Sat 03-Sep-11 14:42:18

Whatever she does she must not leave the house! worse case senario a court will ask her to sell the house and/or give him his share of it, but they will ensure that mother and child have enough to buy a property of their own. If she leaves the family home she will most likely lose it! If I was her Id do as fabby says see a free solicitor (most of them do a free initial session) and then she will get legal aid. Then refuse to divorce him on the grounds hes given and say she will divorce him on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour or adultery, which from the sounds of it that apt!
He cant make her do anything and he could try and make her life difficult but he wont get the divorce he wants, if he wants to divorce her that badly he will just take it.
If he keeps on saying shes an unfit mother, she could talk to her sons school and gp and they sometimes will write a report, giving their opinion, in other words proving him wrong. The support is out there, but you do have to go get it! It probably worth her talking to school anyway as the atmostphere in their home is bound to be having an impact on her son, and provided she has a good school, they can be very supportive and may even been able to help signpost her to support networks HTH

twofalls Sat 03-Sep-11 15:01:11

respite, I don't think they are reasonable and if they were he probably wouldn't have told her to accept them or he would make her life hell. But you are right, I don't know the details.

thanks babe, very helpful.

Xales Sat 03-Sep-11 15:09:49

I thought she could 'agree' with his reasons stating a divorce to get it moving but have a note added that she doesn't agree with the actual statements?

She really does need proper legal help no matter how much it looks to start to protect as much of her rights and assets as possible.

twofalls Sat 03-Sep-11 18:33:14

I think you are right. But she also needs to be up for the fight and at the moment I don't think she I capable, or at least she doesn't feel it. Partly because she is so hurt, and partly because of the bullying. I think.

I am going to see her tonight so will talk things through in a bit more detail.

piellabakewell Sat 03-Sep-11 18:36:07

twofalls, ask her to look at the wikivorce website...it helped me enormously when I was in a similar situation.

heleninahandcart Sat 03-Sep-11 19:43:19

There are two issues here.

a) The divorce petition and process.
b) The hurt and devastation she feels about her marriage.

She is in shock because she has received his version of their marriage in the divorce petition. It is important to separate the two processes.

It sounds like he has decided to move on, possibly because of another OW, either way the marriage is over. The best thing she can do is

a) immediately take practical steps to protect herself of children in the divorce process. This means finding out exactly where she stands and getting a good lawyer on board.
and
b) seek help for herself in terms of counselling for the loss of her marriage. This will help her find the resilience to deal with the divorce and separation.

I strongly suggest you read some of the other threads on here from MN women who have been through a similar thing e.g. the Saffysmum and Wisedupwoman posts which give a good idea of what she will go through. Both these MN have come so far since their DH announced they were leaving and your friend will get there too.

twofalls Sat 03-Sep-11 19:46:46

Thanks piella, useful resource. And very helpful post Helen. Off to see her now.

Wisedupwoman Sat 03-Sep-11 19:59:26

Hi, have just come across this thread. Sorry twofalls I got two thirds down your OP and felt sick.

Your friend needs a sol who can see through all the abusive and controlling gobshite that her wanker of (thankfully) a stbx H is shovelling in her direction.
He has likely been planning this for some time, almost certainly with encouragement, if not outright forcefulness, of an OW.

But for now: He cannot divorce her when there are children and property involved without being referred to mediation. Full stop. Even if your friend just says that, she will stop him in his tracks. Because it's true. Legal Aid has been changed so is only available in certain circumstances so mediaton is the first recourse ALL sols have to go for before going to court. Bastard can't avoid that and any sol worth their salt will have seen it all before, will take a reasoned and unemotional view on it and put this arsehole firmly in his place (hopefully at the bottom of a deep dark well).

She could equally cite unreasonable behaviour just because of what has happened in the recent past. Please do refer her to my or Saff's threads. Get her to post herself, she'll get loads of help. Also, try the legal forum and wikivorce where posters there will advise from a legal perspective.

She needs alot of TLC. What a bastard that man is! I hate him already!

twofalls Sat 03-Sep-11 20:04:43

Thank you wisedup, will show her your post and try to encourage her to post herself.

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