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How to get out of this nightmare

(18 Posts)
MUMoo7 Tue 13-Sep-11 11:58:24

I am sick and tired of solicitors who tell I don't stand a chance because he has made sure all the assets are in his name and we are not married, but we have two young children. I came to join him in the UK when I got pregnant with dc1 (now 12), gave up my high-flying job, accepted maternity payout, accepted marriage proposal and promise to help me find a new job and help to get settled down. I made the move and dp immediately changed his ways, renegated on marriage proposal, we bought a house in his name only and the reason was that I did not have a job anymore and hence would not be able to contribute and pay the mortgage. I had no income and used up all my savings over the next few years. Initially he made me pay for a holiday on the promise he would pay for "the baby"... He even suggested to give all my money to him and he would let me have some when I needed it, that was when things were dawning on me, I did not do that but it was already too late to go back. After two years he agreed to pay me a "salary" to be spent on all household costs except for the mortagage payments. He owns several businesses. I don't have to say that he is very controlling. He is divorced and very bitter from that divorce 15 years ago. I did not realise this and was not aware of most aspects of his previous life and have to admit that I have been very naive, to say the least to move in with someone I did not know enough about. He is abusive, obese (dieted when he got divorced and now weighs 25 stone again) mildly alcoholic, bullying and generally v. unpleasant, mostly to me, he is generally nice to the children. We live in a nice house, go on lovely holidays, my only complaint is that I am forced to live with someone I don't like much and who I feel is abusing my "trapped" position. I can of course move out with the children, but would not receive any financial help from him: with his own business he can move things around as he pleases. I don't want to sound to materialistic, but do not want to plunge the children into poverty. They are children, after all and should not be the victims of this. We are very close and theysort of realise the situation, although I never say anything. I cannot speak to anyone about this and it drives me nuts. He is very professional and knows how to present himself. Oh, I had to sign a letter to forego any rights of occupancy in the house - I was very embarrassed about even his solicitors asking why I did all that and why nothing not even a single share in the company was in my name. Enough complained, has anyone got similar experiences, any ideas, any useful contact details - I would love to be free again without losing everything (and maybe the children, if I cannot support them).

GodKeepsGiving Tue 13-Sep-11 12:01:25

Please ring Women's Aid. I have some experience of this kind of situation and found them very helpful. Good luck.

MUMoo7 Tue 13-Sep-11 12:05:53

Thank you - I cannot believe I wrote it all down, I will try that. I am (hopefully) not a charity case though, I would love to be able to support my children by myself (and squeeze enough out of dp) but with both of them being of school age it is difficult to have a full-time job with no relatives available to cover holidays and when they are ill.

StickyGhost Tue 13-Sep-11 12:25:40

I feel so much sympathy for u MUMoo, this man has taken advantage of ur situation and dependency on him to the max. He sounds like a very insecure man to have to have such total control and for u to be practically on ur knees to him. I was in a very similar relationship, where I gradually lost control of everything and felt utterly helpless. He was very clever, very professional as well (and hugely obese conicidentally enough!), and even when I tried to extracate myself and get help he seemed to have covered all his angles and people took his side not mine.
You've sort of taken the first step by realising that enough is enough, u should start making plans to get out of this when u are able. I agree with GodKeepsGiving, contact WomensAid asap, u can do so by email and they have local branches. They should be able to help with practical stuff and hopefully help u get some legal advice.
For ages I blamed myself for letting myself be taken advantage of and for allowing myself to get into that situation, but it's not healthy to dwell on this stuff. It just seemed to sort of happen and the longer it went on the more worn down I became and the more I resisted. It's easy to judge in hindsight, but when ur in a 'weak' position sometimes u don't see any other options.

Even if u do lose everything financially, u will gain a thousand times more mentally by getting out. I really wish u luck, stay strong.

StickyGhost Tue 13-Sep-11 12:27:35

sorry should have been 'the longer it went on, the LESS I resisted'!

mumblechum1 Tue 13-Sep-11 12:31:09

Have just skimmed your post and have to run, but wonder whether your solicitors have advised you on a Schedule 1 (children act) application or Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees application regarding the children?

It is very unfortunate that in this country, unmarried people have much fewer rights than married ones, but have no idea until things go wrong.

It's rarely a good idea for a woman to have children outside of marriage i this country unless you are in an extremely strong financial position.

MUMoo7 Tue 13-Sep-11 12:47:22

Mumblechum1, you are completely right and I did not realise (coming from another West European country) that things could be like this in the UK - in hindsight I would have stayed put in my job (but would not have lovely dd). Since I am not in a position to pay top solicitors (and local top solicitors cannot represent me because they are generally representing his business) I had two appointments with not very good solicitors who just gave trouble-shooting advice (in a bored sort of way) which is not what I want. I will look up the application you mentioned and see if I can use it. If I can get a solicitor, I think I will just have to feed them a lot of information myself or may be even represent myself. Thank you very much for this.

Thank you, StickyGhost, I feel the same, I have hardly resisted the situation for a few years now, this situation is almost normal now, a few years ago I kept "rebelling" and thinking, what am I doing here, doing someone else' house and living like someone's housekeeper and servant and things like that. But dwelling on these thoughts is not healthy!

mumblechum1 Tue 13-Sep-11 17:56:32

To be fair to the solicitors you've seen, it sounds as though they have, accurately, told you that you're in a far weaker position than if you'd married, but all is not lost and you should certainly at least think about a Schedule 1 or TLATA application. Doesn't mean you'll succeed, but you should certainly be pointed in that direction in the first instance. I think the difficulty will be if he has no property in his own name, just his company, in which case you are, frankly, stuffed.

NettleTea Tue 13-Sep-11 18:01:00

Just to add that Womens Aid is not a 'charity' thing, its an organisation set up to advise and assist women to escape from abusive relationships - dont be confused by the 'aid' label!

LadyLapsang Tue 13-Sep-11 18:21:27

Think you sould start to look for a job, even a part-time one, as a first step.

If you moved out with the children do you really think he would see the children live in poverty?

Also, can you not start taking some money out of accounts and putting it beyond his reach in order to pay for legal advice.

What happens to his estate if he dies? If he weighs 25 stone that will impact on his life expectancy.

MUMoo7 Wed 14-Sep-11 14:14:31

Thank you to everyone for your honest advice - I have to be careful what I am doing and cannot just pretend to work and go on mumsnet, since he is now - in spite of having a large office - working from home quite frequently which makes things even more difficult with being supervised all the time. He keeps suspecting and accusing me I am having an affair but frankly, once I am finished with this relationship I will not ever get involved with anyone again! That would be the last thing on my mind.
Mumblechum1, you are right once again, apart from buying businesses and putting the house down as security as well, he is putting assets into all sorts of things which I know of and can check (secretly) but not access and I would not want to do that. That would be wrong in spite of everything. We have separate accounts and I have no access to his assets at all. I would like to find a "no win no gain" (or something like that) solicitor for my case and pay a proportion of whatever they can get for me (and kids), but I don't think that exists for family law. One solicitor pointed out that there would be some hope since I have an engagement ring and the "promise of marriage" would count for something. Otherwise, yes, I am stuffed. Not giving up yet, but expectations are low.
Thank you Lady Lapsang, I don't know if I can call his bluff about not wanting to pay for the children once we have moved out, but I suspect his stance will be that they need not be in poverty if they come back to Daddy's good life. He takes no prisoners. Looking for a proper job is what I am trying to do right now as soon as the children have settled in their schools.
Estate will be split amongst his children (one from previous relationship) which brings me back to your point one, yes, I will have to look for a proper job asap. I have now hopefully overcome his confidence-undermining speeches to the effect that I would be useless, a complete moron (I use to be a director of a big international company), everyone detests me and nobody would be stupid enough to employ me anyway. A few years ago, these rants completely wore me out and reduced me to tears every time. I was even stupid enough to pick up on some of these things he said and asked things like "who detests me, why am I stupid etc. " I have several degrees, have had a successful career and yes, have been stupid to trust him. I just don't get it why someone can be happy imposing such a horrible life on someone else. He must have had it all mapped out right from the outset and lied to me all the way.
I have not been able to phone Womans Aid yet - confused it with Womanaid initially when I googled it! Thank you, Nettletea!

cestlavielife Wed 14-Sep-11 15:52:18

poor you.

but realising the situation speaking to womens aid and finding out your rights is first step to better life for you and DC

you would be entitled to maintenace for DC but nothing for yourself.

getting a job is good idea.

but be careful - he may indeed realise what you up to.
be safe.

StickyGhost Thu 15-Sep-11 18:12:57

Good luck MUMoo, hope that things will get better for u very soon. U sound like a very capable and savy lady, and u should look forward to a much brighter future, away from this huge awful PIG!

MUMoo7 Thu 22-Sep-11 12:48:01

Thanks to all, moral support like that is very important if you just cannot speak to anybody and you think you go mad with having to be so controlled and careful all the time. No solution in sight, but will keep going, I don't have the choice.
Cestlavielife, I am not after maintenance for myself, for the children that would be fine, but some type of damages or "payout" to get me started again would be nice, I think I deserve at least that. I think it's all about confidence, if he had had enough confidence in his own character he might not fear that someone would want to divorce him immediately after they get to know him better. Why persuade someone to move away from their home, family, job and isolate them as to be able to control them completely. And I have burnt all my bridges, since absolutely everybody warned me about him.

pastawine Thu 22-Sep-11 13:01:33

I would contact womens aid first and foremost as they can advise you and advise you on how to stay safe while extracting yourself from this awful situation. Phone them, when he isn't there. Tell them everything.

HerHissyness Thu 22-Sep-11 13:07:21

Oh MUMoo7, reading between the lines you have been really badly abused for a long time haven't you?

The isolation is the main weapon of an abusers arsenal. If you are surrounded by friends and family, then they will all show him up and tell you that he's being cruel and challenge him.

The faster he can get you on your own, the sooner he can start to rule you.

I have a feeling that you are right about it being his confidence, his insecurity driving his abuse of you, but does it really matter why? the fact is that he is, terribly, and that he won't stop. Can you buy Lundy Bancroft's book Why Does He Do That? it'll help you understand the dynamic at work here.

I sincerely doubt you have really burnt any bridges, if you are serious about making the next move, I'm sure some of your friends and family will support you, even if only emotionally. Also, actually by reaching out here, you have forged some new bridges here!

You could benefit from popping over to visit the Emotional Abuse Support thread www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1290107-Support-for-those-in-emotionally-abusive-relationships-4

Now you have MN, you are not alone, and you are NOT mad! For now, you need to keep going, but we can hold your hand through all of that, we can help you inform yourself and help you build your strength.

There IS a solution, but it's not quite manifested yet. but it will.

cestlavielife Thu 22-Sep-11 14:24:56

if you have some of his promises in writing then you may have some legal footing to " some type of damages or "payout" "

but in property it is all about law and trusts and intentions - quite technical. you need a good lawyer/barrister in terms of TLATA - but with your name not on anything you would likey have to prove intention. but legally ti is clear - if you not married you have few rights - tho you could try some kind of claim in civil courts? you would need a good lawyer tho could be expensive ....

but schedule 1 childrens act for children and/or CSA for maintenance yes.

cestlavielife Thu 22-Sep-11 14:26:07

ps womens aid yes and go to your friends and say "yes you were right. now i need help with xxx and yyyy..."

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