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Separating. Can't afford to move out. Could this work..?

(36 Posts)
Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 14:09:49

Will try to keep this brief. DH and I are separating. All the usual clichés - we've grown apart, we don't have sex, we are very different. There is no one else involved (as far as I'm aware).

I'm a SAHM. DH wants to keep the marital home. I can't afford to keep it on my own, so I've agreed. Because I'm not working, I'm going to struggle to move out with the children for a while.

After various discussions, the plan is to get the house valued and agree an equity split. We (DH effectively) will then rent a "crash pad" locally and we will effectively share custody of the children and the house. So when I have the children, I will stay in the house and he will go to the flat. And vice versa when he has the children.

The thinking is that this will give him time to save my part of the equity without having to remortgage (there won't be much). It will give me time to get my career sorted and start earning money when my youngest starts school next September. It will give the dc's chance to get used to us being separated but without having to leave their home (and possibly friends/schools etc - I'm not sure I'll be able to afford to stay in our village hmm).

Has anyone done anything similar? Does anyone have any thoughts/potential issues I haven't thought of? Is it a recipe for disaster or could it work??

Not sure that was so brief after all shock Sorry!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 15-Oct-13 14:14:47

I would not agree to anything like this without seeking proper legal advice beforehand.

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 14:18:28

I think that is going to be very hard on you.

I can see the logic but can't really see it working in practice to be honest...

I second the getting legal advice.

kd73 Tue 15-Oct-13 14:20:44

I couldn't do this tbh, what happens if a partner enters the equation?

iheartdusty Tue 15-Oct-13 14:24:06

the time scale is very very short for you to go from SAHM to working.

and what if the equity, when split, just isn't enough to house you both?

and it could prevent you both from 'moving on' emotionally.

I very much agree, get advice.

Fairylea Tue 15-Oct-13 14:27:19

I think this is going to be very confusing for your children. Children cope very well with parents separating as long as everything is clear and transparent. This situation is not. They will be expecting either one of you to officially move back in. They won't understand any of it as permanent.

It would be better to either have your dh pay maintenance towards the mortgage until the dc are 18 or until you can take over the mortgage yourself, or sell now and split whatever equity there is and rent or buy somewhere else. Much, much clearer.

As others have said it will be particularly difficult if and when new partners become involved. That may be a way off but trust me it will happen and then everything will be very hard - would you be happy with your ex staying in the house with his new partner?

PrincessFlirtyPants Tue 15-Oct-13 14:29:52

I'd seek legal advice, as PP have suggested. Your DH may want to keep the family home but that might not be how it works legally as you are their main care provider.

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 14:35:26

Thanks for the posts.

I have taken some legal advice and propose to have a separation agreement drawn up once the equity is agreed. This would stop either of us changing our mind (if for example there was any "bitterness" about a new partner).

In terms of timescale for me to be working, the idea would be that this arrangement could continue as long as it needed to. I have a couple of options for working - one involved retraining and means I wouldn't be earning until September 2015. The other involves going back to my previous profession which means I could be earning as soon as I start working. I'd planned to see how the "house timeshare" thing worked before deciding for definite (I'd like to retrain ideally - but it might be something I need to put on the back burner for a few years until I'm sorted).

It's not ideal. It's not the clean break I would ideally like but the alternative is to go into rented and claim benefits (and rental stock around here, especially one that accepts HB is really minimal hmm).

For info, we have been living separate lives in the same house for the last 6 months. It's ok - we're able to be civil - pleasant almost - but we both need somewhere to go when it's our "free" weekends/evenings (Dh more so than me tbh).

Iseeall Tue 15-Oct-13 14:36:19

You will need to be very careful about any benefits you claim. One of you will have to have the crash pad as their permanent address.
If you are a sahm you presumably will have to claim jsa wtc ctc council tax rebate(for one adult at the house)
As others have said get legal advice otherwise you might find yourself in trouble with the benefits agencies.

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 14:37:02

X posts. I admit the "confusing the children" aspect is the most concerning hmm

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 14:39:08

Oh no! I wouldn't be claiming any benefits with the crash pad idea. Not at all. It would only be if me and the dc's were to move out completely that I'd need to to be able to afford to live somewhere

ThePuffyShirt Tue 15-Oct-13 14:47:36

I think it is unconventional but it sounds like a good solution for the kids as they get to stay in their home, which has got to be better than going off every weekend or whatever to dad's flat.

But I have no advice about the legalities of the situation, it was just my gut reaction to what I think our children would choose.

I think it's very interesting - I've not heard of this idea before.
Good luck to you all, and I sympathise hugely x
Hope you can find the best ways forward for you all

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 15:08:22

Thank you smile

I'd like to think we could make it work - it takes the pressure off financially for both of us and could be better for the children (providing we're clear about it all from the beginning).

The "other partners" thing is relevant. I just think that whilst we both might start dating soon, we would only see people at the flat or out on our nights off. Neither of us would have anyone in the house where the dc's are until we're in relationships that are at the "introducing the children" stage and I can't imagine that would happen for a good while...

cestlavielife Tue 15-Oct-13 15:15:13

it's called nesting apparently...

cestlavielife Tue 15-Oct-13 15:16:19

this is useful too

somersethouse Tue 15-Oct-13 15:24:05

It is exactly what I have done Tilly. It has worked extremely well for DD, she is happy as anything with it and to her it is now normal. She is only 5 though and we have done it for 2 years.

It has not been as good for me... or rather it is a bit up and down. You do not get emotional closure as someone upthread said and you are not really completely separated if you see what I mean.

But, in the situation you are in and I am in, it is a good solution and as long as you are both reasonable, I think it is a sensible one vis-a-vis children and family home etc.

Both me and my husband are not interested in meeting anyone though and it is very unlikely to happen given our circumstances. It may be different for you, but you need a couple of years, in my opinión, before you rush into a new relationship and introduce children anyway.
You will also get time off!

In short, it makes the best of a bad and sad situation.

Good luck.

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 15:51:40

Wow! It has a name! Thanks for those links cestlavie. Really interesting.

It's great to hear from someone who's actually done it as well. So thank you smile I'm glad it seems to have worked for you (relatively speaking) and I suspect 2 years is about the timescale we would be looking at (assuming it works). I agree about a new serious relationship being unlikely for a couple of years, so don't foresee a problem. DH feels the same albeit I'm not naive enough to think that the situation could change at some point.

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 15:55:42

Somersethouse - my dc's are 6 and 3 (so youngest a similar age to yours when it happened). Did you explain everything to your dd at that age? Do you mind me asking whether you plan to properly separate at any point in the near future? I do worry that my dc's may see it as a permanent solution and will be even more upset when we eventually have to move to a different house....

Afiach Tue 15-Oct-13 16:17:00

Hi Tilly.
My DH and I decided on a similar setup when we separated 4 months ago. I have been a SAHM whilst the children were small (they are now eight and four.) I work for myself PT now, but nothing like his salary, and I would really struggle to finance even a small 1-bed flat for myself without his help. So we came up with this idea, and it worked well- We were very civil and friendly.
I wasn't looking for anyone else at all, in fact the idea of being single appealed a lot. But a month ago, I met a nice man, just someone sweet whose company I enjoy. Overnight, it became clear that this setup with DH was never going to work, and it's been sheer hell since then. I can't stress how friendly we were before and how unexpected this bile from xDH was, and I think that if we'd made a clean break we'd still be friends. We are still in the same setup until I find a permanent shithole place, but it really is difficult- I wept myself to sleep last night. sad
I hope it turns out differently for you.

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 16:29:44

Hi Afiach
Sorry to hear things have turned out badly hmm It's horrible.

We have had the conversation and whilst we both say we wouldn't mind if the other had a new relationship (and I honestly do mean it), I can see how it might be a stumbling block. You just never know what's going to happen, do you??

I figured that even if it went to shit, it would just mean I'm in the position I'm in now financially and it would just "delay" the shithole finding scenario and get me closer to having ds at school and being able to start earning. I suppose I hadn't considered that it might break down our relationship further and make the final separation more difficult than if it had happened in the beginning confused

Hmmmm. Lots to think about.

Good luck though. Hope it works out smile

Afiach Tue 15-Oct-13 16:38:39

Sorry, I didn't mean to put you off, I know you're in a pretty scary and delicate situation as it is. We had the Other Person Conversation and, as you say, I really honestly wouldn't mind of xDH had another woman (in fact, I think it would be nice for him to have someone to make him smile.) He hasn't said anything about new BF but he's absolutely not fine with it.

Good luck to you both. smile

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 16:53:55

No! Don't apologise. It's good to hear the pitfalls. Tbh, I don't really feel there's much choice at the moment. I really don't want to go back to work full time yet and I really don't want to move the kids to a crappy cheap house away from their friends etc hmm I'm kicking myself for allowing myself to have been so financially dependant. I feel trapped. It's vile confused

somersethouse Tue 15-Oct-13 17:19:49

Tilly, no we didn't explain, as our DD is more or less the same age as yours they adapt immediately. For them it will be normal. One thing though, we call the 'crash pad' the 'other house', not Mamas house or Papas house, it is a family house as it were. There are some toys there etc... she feels like she has another home in a way. Important they see it.

Don't fret for your children, honestly they will be fine. DD is top of her class, never cries, is really popular and has not suffered any weird side effects, I was worried, but no, honestly she is thriving and a bright and happy soul.

Just think carefully about you and the emotional aspect. I do firmly believe it is the best thing to do if you can afford it. The upheaval otherwise is far worse for all concerned, in my opinión. However, as I said, the one who has suffered most I would say is me. But I feel guilt and a bit like a failure. But I see no other way to deal with this.

To be honest, I don't think we will separate 'officially' unless one of us meets someone else, but, as we live abroad and my husband is older, it is unlikely and the furthest thing from my mind right now. Also we own a business together and it would all become very complicated. This way we both have time off, separate lives and devote our attention to DD when we have her (I do all the day to day stuff) and she probably is having better parenting and more effort made as a result. My husband certainly spends MUCH more one on one time with her now!

We don't really talk apart from business matters and DD matters and have our set routine with DD. We both get privacy, time for ourselves, we both try to respect each other. if we did meet someone else it would be possible to also keep that completely separate.

If I didn't have DD I would have divorced him but, we have DD! She is the priority for both of us, as with your situation.

somersethouse Tue 15-Oct-13 17:21:31

Oh, and me and DH also lived for 6 months in the same house before this set-up, that was tough, if you can manage that, you can manage anything!

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