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Unhappy marriage, any advice for my friend please

(6 Posts)
Madmog Sun 07-Oct-12 10:10:18

My friend is in a very unhappy relationship. I think she has a case for unreasonable behaviour even if she's partly at fault, or perhaps the protection of the children's mental wellbeing. Her husband said he's not willing to leave the matrimonial home, so she's stuck with him. She moved here about four years ago not knowing anyone but has made some good friends in the local area, so naturally she wants to stay here. All the children have is here as well. She could stay with friends, but none of us have some for the children as well.

They have two children, have had no mortgage for years, he earns £40,000+ and she works part-time which fits in with school hours so she can be there for the children (which he demeans). Does anyone know where she stands legally? If they separate, is there any chance she could keep the house until the children leave school? She can't afford to buy him out or pay the majority of the bills.

By way of background, she has been very low for a year or so and we often see her in tears. She said the kids are used to her being in tears as that's the way it is. She turned up early last night crying and spent the whole night crying while we were all out. Neither her or her husband have spoken all week. She'd asked if they could call a truce and he didn't see the point.

Often when he comes home at night, she goes upstairs and spends all evening there depspite the fact the children are in the house (he won't speak when he comes in and when they aren't speaking at all she just can't cope being in the room with him). This happens on and off on a regular basis. If they go out for a day trip she doesn't want to be there and walks well behind her family and it's the kids who ask her to join in, not him. He says it's all her fault but won't give precise details. The kids aren't allowed to make unreasonable noise when he comes in - unreasonable being computer games, having friends to play - her 11 year old son has never had a friend for a sleepover. Little things like going to look at his son's potential new school, he didn't see the point in and he had a go at her for taking both children there (he wasn't home even though he knew parents evening was on) etc etc

I don't believe she can cope much longer like this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Oct-12 11:10:16

" Does anyone know where she stands legally?"

She'd definitely benefit from an introductory session with a solicitor. In the event of a divorce, all assets acquired within the marriage are regarded as joint so she has at least a 50% claim on the value of the house. As there are children involved and the income levels are unequal, the exH would probably be required to contribute financially in the form of maintenance. If he is unwilling to leave the marital home she can look at things like an order of sale which would get a house sale moving. With the proceeds and any financial contribution she'd be very well placed to buy or rent a smaller property in the same locality. Or he may be instructed to finance the children staying in the marital home. There are various options and a professional could guide her through

I suspect the legal side of things is rather easier to resolve than the emotional side. If she's tolerated the set-up for many years and had her self-esteem crushed by constantly unreasonable behaviour, she may find it very hard going to make the break, no matter what she says to friends. Gently point her in the direction of a lawyer, CAB, Womens Aid, even a GP because she could be depressed as a result of her environment. Anything that might give her the courage to break free.

Madmog Sun 07-Oct-12 11:50:01

Thank you so much for your reply. You're right, she's definitely crushed by what's going on. Have been talking to another friend of ours this morning and we're going to suggest coffee at mine this week to talk things over with her, so any suggestions we can give to her are greatly appreciated.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sun 07-Oct-12 12:08:01

I can identify with so much of what your friend is going through - bad relationship that is harming everyone, but controlling husband who will resist separation at all costs. I really recognise this:

If they go out for a day trip she doesn't want to be there and walks well behind her family and it's the kids who ask her to join in, not him. sad

Your friend is isolating herself from the family unit because of this bully and it's harming her children as well as her.

Can't add anything to the excellent practical advice you've had from Cogito but just wanted to say I think you are a lovely friend. The sitting her down is a great start, but it's a long road and it sounds like she has lost her strength, so she needs you to keep helping her to fight.

Standing up to a bully like this without support is really hard and you can really make a difference. smile

swallowedAfly Sun 07-Oct-12 12:13:26

i think cogito has covered it.

she'll come out fine financially. realistically even if she just had her income, working tax credit and the csa level of maintenance from him she'd be fine and in all likelihood she will have much more than that as she'll probably get to stay in the home and if not she'll get half of it's value.

the money isn't the issue really is it - as in realistically money isn't going to be a real problem.

the problem is moving on and taking action to end the current state of play. she needs to see a solicitor and get started on divorce proceedings - it won't instantly change everything but NOTHING will change till she gets started.

swallowedAfly Sun 07-Oct-12 12:13:52

incidentally - she is really lucky to have good friends like yourself!

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