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How to Help/Advise a Friend

(7 Posts)
Contrarian78 Wed 16-Oct-13 10:26:58

A friend of mine (my best friend) is going through a separation. I think the final decision to separate was mutual, but was probably driven more by his wife. He's told me how they propose to arrange their affairs, but to be brutally honest, I think he's giving too much away. He proposes the following:

To split the bills - including debts and food - 80:20, to have shared custody 50:50 of the children.

In addition to the above, he will move out and rent another property and meet all of those costs.

Whilst of course I have no desire to see his STBXW struggle, or his children live in sub-standard accomodation, I'm struggling to see why, given that he was the primary carer, he has to move out into a rented house whilst she still gets to live in the fantastic house they do have for 20% of the cost. It sounds petty becasue he has the money to do it; however, I just don't see why she doesn't move out and have him cover then rent on another place. I know it's their decision, but my friend has asked for advice - and I've sort of given it (but have not been totally forthright with it) but I do worry that his wife seems to want to separate from him, but not the lifestyle he has afforded her.

They're going to mediation - to deal with the settlement - and I've asked him to take legal advice (but I'm not sure if you can take your solicitor). He, understandably, wants to keep things amicable and his wife is questioning the need for mediation (I suspect that's because she recognises that the proposed deal is a good one).

My instinct says to stay out of it; however, I walked to the edge of the same cliff not so long ago, and he provided support to me. I'd feel bad about not supporting him. He provided moral support to me; however, because I'm legally and financially trained (commercial law, not domestic/divorce) he's being a little more specific in the advice he wants. I can't give it without instinctively concluding that she's having him over. I know that the opinions on here often differ from my own - so I'm hoping for some wisdom which lets me support him, but without becoming embroiled in the nitty gritty. Also, would like to hear from others with regards to the reasonableness of the proposed arrangement as it currently stands- perhaps it's "normal"

Thanks if you've got this far!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Oct-13 10:35:14

I'd trust your instinct but I would tell him to talk to a solicitor at the same time. Whilst there are some fairly well-worn legal guidelines, if you add in a dollop of guilt or other pressures, people can be agree to something wildly generous rather than rock the boat and maybe risk not seeing their kids or whatever. A few years on, of course, when they are still in the grotty bedsit they'd probably regret it...

So I'd advise him to see a solicitor, not so that he has legal representation at the mediation and not so that he can drag this out in a court battle, but simply for someone to draw the lines that say 'here' is far, 'here' is generous and 'here' is standing with your pants round your ankles and looking like fool....

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Oct-13 10:36:03

'fair'... not 'far'.

Contrarian78 Wed 16-Oct-13 10:51:02

Thank you. That's sensible. That's the position I'd like him to get to, and I've suggested as such. I think he believes that getting a solicitor involved means that things automatically turn nasty (I'm not sure that this is the case). He needs independent advice (I've known his wife for a number of years obviously) but it needs to be measured and not adversarial. Lord knows they've plenty to squabble over (though he's not as interested in that as she is).

I'll copy that last bit of your post (about the degrees of generoristy) into an email and will tell him to seek that exact advice. Thank you.

RaRa1988 Wed 16-Oct-13 14:25:10

Cogito has given good advice. I'd second that. Currently, he's being taken for a fool.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 16-Oct-13 15:13:51

Well if he is the primary carer then he stays in the house with the children.
Agree with others - he needs some legal advice and quick sharp before he agrees to this absurd proposal.
She will walk all over him otherwise, while he is laying on the doormat!

Contrarian78 Wed 16-Oct-13 15:34:08

He's the primary carer insofar as he does the bulk of the childcare/dinner/bedtimes/schoolrun etc. His wife has a history of depression (which he has - as far as I can tell - been remarkably supportive with - perhaps too supportive).

I should poiont out that one of the two children is hers from a previous marriage/relationship. My friend though has rasied the child from a very young age - even though the child still sees their biological father. My friend expects that the step-child will come to his as part of the 50:50 shared custody, but I'm not sure how this works out in practice. Obviously he needs to see a solicitor regarding this - but I'm just curious.

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