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A question ..... Am I getting this right?

(5 Posts)
MrawMraw Thu 06-Dec-12 15:58:08

Hello smile

I was skimming a few pages on the Don't give up your job to SAHM thread, and also have been pondering on that and similar topics recently.

I have 2 DC but I am still relatively young (25) I had my DC at 18 and 21. I (absolutely unbelievably stupidly!) never once considered the pros and cons and feminist side of anything. I just thought well I feel too young to get married (had P, lived together etc) and I'm not going to give up job and that's it. hmm. I now work 32 hours, dropped a day because I nearly made myself ill trying to work full time AND do all household everything and DCs.

Does it give more stability to be a SAHM and married, than a SAHM but not married? If a couple are living together not married and they split, am I correct in saying the SAHM is only entitled to child maintenance, not any share of any assets of the other partner, however those married get a settlement for their contribution to the household and career of the other too? Is this right?

I'm really starting to realise the raw deal women still get despite advances in the workplace. If we want to go back to work, childcare is deemed our responsibility to arrange and sometimes to pay for too out of our own salary, we still have all the housework and house admin to do as expected.

Also the years spent staying at home as a mother, whilst very valuable, can damage your career. Even if you work, your dedication to career will be lessened. But does marriage provide a form of financial security against that by recognising your contribution to enabling the husband's career?

Even worse if you are a single parent - demonized if you don't work ("benefit scrounger") and actually worse off if you do work in a lot of cases (unless you earn a huge salary then childcare, loss of free meals and other things, and actually travelling to work, less free time to shop wisely etc, actually make you WORSE OFF working - did with me anyway at one point).


I apologize for my ignorance, I have only just recently woke up to these things shock. Would be grateful for a few pointers, ie - where to find more information, basics on the financial situation in marriage divorce vs cohabiting split.


CailinDana Thu 06-Dec-12 16:06:32

Well firstly it isn't a given that mothers automatically sort childcare, admin, housework etc. They only have to do that if their partner is lazy and refuses to do his share. A lazy partner is lazy whether he's married or not, so that's more about the choice of man rather than marriage itself.

Apart from that you are correct that if an unmarried couple with children splits the higher earning partner (often the man) is required to pay maintenance but is not responsible financially for the lower earning partner (usually the woman). Also any assets the couple has stay with the person who owns them - so if the woman bought the house and her partner isn't on the deeds then the man has no claim to it - although he could fight through the courts to get back some of the value of the mortgage that he has paid over the years.

Marrying automatically joins your assets and means that on splitting the money for the partnership as a whole needs to be shared out equally, with ongoing maintenance for the children.

MrawMraw Thu 06-Dec-12 16:23:06

Thanks for the clarification x

Yes, I know it isn't a given. My ex was OK at doing housework, but worked 80 hours week so was rarely in the house to do any (although when he was in,, he did do it mainly without being asked), he did ABSOLUTELY NO household admin stuff and a miniscule amount of childcare (like a couple of hours a week, like what afterschool clubs would call 'wraparound care') of the DCs, despite spending most of his days off at friends / pub / fishing etc shock. He would always be cagey and noncommittal (ie "i'll try to sort something out") if I asked him to have DC for a night out weeks in advance, yet would skip off out after work for a few hours whenever he liked , with a quick phonecall to 'inform' me! Hence why he's an ex.

So basically the worst situation to be in would be either SAHM or part time low earner, non-married, living in a house owned by your partner? (or at least one you couldn't pay the mortgage/rent on yourself).

CailinDana Thu 06-Dec-12 16:28:00

Financially that would be the worst situation, yeah. If your partner left you would be relying totally on him to provide maintenance for the children and it might be very difficult to find somewhere to live. It's how a lot of women become trapped in terrible relationships - they stay because they have so little money and security that leaving seems almost impossible.

Glad you got rid of the lazy partner by the way!

PartridgeInASpicyPearTree Thu 06-Dec-12 16:34:35

It's good that you are thinking about this as unmarried partners are in a much less secure position legally in the event of a split. I get very frustrated with friends who feel they are somehow being more feminist by not getting married then do any combination of the following: a) move into a partner's house, b) have a baby, c) stop work, leaving themselves completely unprotected. It puts the relationship on a very uneven footing if leaving would render you broke and homeless!

The CAB have some useful information here

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