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need some advice regarding my divorce, custody and child maintenance battle

(10 Posts)
benelux Tue 06-Sep-11 21:49:16

Hello
I need some advice regarding my divorce.
My ex and I have separated 3 years ago, (The reason was he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and was very depressed, I tried to help him get through it but nothing worked we were very unhappy , so eventually I asked him to leave so I can try and bring our son in a happier environment)
Initially, we decided all to be amicable and he promised he will help me look after our 7 years old son. After just 3 months, my ex refused to pay any maintenance and support and to allow me to start divorce proceedings.
He bought a pub and claims he is earning only 100pw which can not be true but there is no way I can prove he is lying because of the nature of his business so my son gets 5 pounds child support that is what the Child support agency decided....
I work full time and single handedly pay a huge mortgage, bills, and support my son, In May 2011, my ex took my son and refused to return him for 5 days, stating that he belongs living with him and his new partner and their baby, and because I work full time and pay a childminder 3 days per week to pick him from school that I am not providing proper care..Like most working parents I am home with him every night the latest 630pm, but that is not good enough according to my ex! He started taking him to school during these 5 days from his flat which he made him travel nearly 2h each way in peak hour through Central London ...I was heartbroken, felt helpless but also felt like I am a failure if I involve the police...so I went to a solicitor and It took me 24 hours to get a Court Order against him and get my son back, that put me in a huge financial strain (the legal bill was 4500 - since then, instead of being sorry and being reasonable he continues to make my life hell, verbally abusing me via phone calls and texts, threatening me and not picking or returning our son as arranged...I am exhausted and drained by all this and Trying to keep a job and to provide the best care possible. The latest is that his parents bought them all airfares to take my son overseas this Christmas, I have heard through an common acquaintance that he is saying he wants to go and live there with his new family and wants to take my son with them as well, Initially I agreed to let my son go and visit his grandparents but now I am too scared that my ex might not return him back.

What document should I get as an assurance which is legally binding for him to return him back to me after Christmas holidays? I have no way of finding money to paying a solicitor any more and can not get legal aid (apparently my salary makes me just 100 pounds over the threshold) sad(

We have mortgages on 2 flats, me and our son live in one but the other which he wants to keep is much more expensive - He does not want to give me as part of the divorce settlement half of the flat's equity and says he has a new family and I can not get anything for me and our son (his solicitor has advised him what to do , and because I can not hire one, I feel there will be nothing left for our son from our 17 years of marriage in which I contributed evenly for all our assets, I am so emotionally tired that I am ready to walk out with nothing after the divorce, I just need this hell to end and him to stop the abuse.
Please help me with some advice on any of the above if you can.

FabbyChic Wed 07-Sep-11 00:28:57

You to half of everything he has, however he is also entitled to half of what you have, maintenance is a seperate issue.

Reduce your income by £100, ask for a pay cut so you get legal aid. Reduce your hours or something anything so that you get legal aid.

Then go for the jugular.

You can insist on the sale of the second flat, you would have to buy him out of the property you are in too though.

I would not let him go anywhere abroad with this man ever. Too risky.

Get your free 20 mins legal advice from loads of solicitors that will make up a fair bit of time seen for free.

Be free of this man permanently.

NettleTea Wed 07-Sep-11 00:47:38

you can contact the passport agency to put a caveat on your son's passport if you suspect he may abduct him from the UK. That way so long as you hold the passport he cannot get another one without your knowledge. Then you can apply, through your divorce, for him not to remove him from your care without your written permission, and the passport office will put a permanent block on anyone other than yourself getting him a new passport. I did this with my DD, and it worked as they phoned me when I sent forms to get her and my younger DS new passports, as his surname is different and it flagged up as suspicious on their records, so they phoned me to check it was me, not him.

perfectstorm Wed 07-Sep-11 03:07:35

Please, please post in Legal and not Relationships. I don't mean to be harsh but most posters can't tell arse from elbow in legal terms. Qualified family lawyers post on Legal and can advise you better.

If your ex has history of abducting your child, and is now seeking to remove him from the jurisdiction, I think you need advice from Reunite. You definitely shouldn't agree to let him go, and I think the advice on passports is spot on. It can take a very long time to get a child returned from overseas (in some cases, they aren't) and the emotional harm would be incalculable.

perfectstorm Wed 07-Sep-11 03:14:28

"You to half of everything he has, however he is also entitled to half of what you have, maintenance is a seperate issue."

This is utter bollocks, sorry. Provision for the child is the first priority, so the parent with care and control often gets a bigger slice of any pie, and while the yardstick of equality is a factor, so are a lot of other things, such as length of marriage, where the family assets originated... as a general rule the equality principle only applies to the incredibly rich, because most families can't provide a family home for a child and also split the assets in half. Just not enough to go around. You also need to be a "fully entitled spouse" eg at the end of a long marriage to have a shot at half of anything. There are very few set rules in family law, because it's all so variable.

pinkytheshrinky Wed 07-Sep-11 05:48:49

You definitely need to not let your child go on holiday - you Ex has a history of abduction so you need to be very very careful - once your Ex has the passport it is much harder to put things right - so that is a big fat no. Take the advice above re. contacting the passport office - I have done this for my DDs.

You need a prohibited steps order about removal from the jurisdiction and to define contact sp he cannot just pick up his child willy nilly (as I suspect it is not in your childs best interests to be travelling that much when he has usually gone to a child minder he is familiar with). If you Ex does not return your child as arranged and outlined in the order then Police can be involved, without an order they can do very little.

My personal experience would also say that when you do make arrangements do not go for shared residence, this gives your ex far too much room for interpretation so you need to go for residence for you and defined contact for him - you will get this if you push as shared residence needs to be an agreed state.

I have self represented in court at first against a lawyer and now against their Father as he ran out of money! Maybe you can get a lawyer so do you a special rate just for help with forms and for taking advice. This is what I have done and it has really helped as I know if the shit hits the fan there is someone at the end if the phone. The Judge will help you too - it is not easy to self rep but it is not as hard as you imagine.

JeffTracy Wed 07-Sep-11 09:08:19

Great advice from Pinky. I have no idea how one court order in 24 hours can cost you £4500, though I realise it must have been an emergency. Self-representation takes work, but it is the best way to go. You control what is said and done and what is spent on your behalf. The courts are very helpful - just call them if you need to understand the procedures and forms required (though obviously they won't give legal advice).

benelux Wed 07-Sep-11 21:18:11

Hello! I just wanted to thank everyone who offered me advice and support! I am overwhelmed by your kindness! I thought I am all alone for the past 3 years until last night when I joined 'mumsnet.com'!
I posted in legal matters - thank you, was not aware that's where I should have done on the first place until now.

babyhammock Wed 07-Sep-11 22:13:08

Self-representation takes work, but it is the best way to go
Completely agree with this and not as hard as you think. I'm doing it.

hairylights Wed 07-Sep-11 22:23:32

Really bad advice from fabby about reducing your hours to get legal aid.

You are entitled to settlement - not automatically half of everything but fair equity. A judge will also look at contribution each person made in the marriage but most importantly of all what you son needs . if you really can't afford some time from a solicitor to advise on fair settlement, then you need to look up some similar divorce cases and make yourself aware of your rights Nd entitlements.

He sounds like a dick.

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