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Can anyone help me to help my friend? Financial, legal, custody advice needed

(15 Posts)
Facelikeafriendlyapple Thu 27-Feb-14 20:17:04

My friend has been with her "D"P for nearly 10 years. For at least the past 3 years he has been controlling, emotionally abusive, financially abusive and aggressive (this last not towards her, but lots of road rage type incidents, getting out of car and shouting at other drivers).

They have one DC, who is 12 months old. My friend has cared for DC pretty much single handedly, every night waking, every nappy change up to about 10 months, does all the cleaning, all the cooking etc. My friend works freelance so her hours are erratic. The DC goes to nursery twice a week which my friend covers from her wages.

The "D"P owns a house, my friend isn't on the mortgage but has paid regularly and significant sums for years towards mortgage and refurbishment costs.

Since having DC, the DP's behavior has got worse and he has refused to modify his life and comforts to accommodate the baby (e.g. he wi stay in bed til 11am) and my friend (finally!) is ready to leave him.

But... She's not got any savings. Her work is erratic. She's from an EU country and has lived in UK for about 12 years but her family are elsewhere.

I want to help hee. I think worry over finances and legal rights are stopping her from leaving. She doesn't know where she would go to. She can't afford to rent a flat by herself.

What can I do to help? Surely her DP would legally have to financially contribute? How much would that be? How would that get sorted? How do they arrange custody if they aren't married? Do you still see a solicitor?

I think he has great potential to turn threatening/bullying if not violent. How does she leave safely if she has nowhere to go?

Such a mess and so sad. And I'm so worried she will stay with him because she doesn't know what else to do.

FetchezLaVache Thu 27-Feb-14 23:51:21

Bumping this for you.

Your friend needs to get some proper advice. I would think that she ought to be able to get something back for the money she has paid towards mortgage costs and renovations, but don't quote me on that. He will, however, certainly have to pay her maintenance for his child, which would be 15% of his net income, I believe. And no obligation to see solicitor to get the contact arranged, but that would depend on whether he's prepared to play nicely.

Facelikeafriendlyapple Fri 28-Feb-14 09:17:07

Thank you. But where can she get proper advice? Who does she need to speak to?

Bumping again for morning people. Please MN!

barking123 Fri 28-Feb-14 09:21:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 28-Feb-14 09:29:26

Her partner is financially responsible for his child but not for her own self. Her ignorance on financial matters i.e paying towards his house in terms of mortgage (she's not on this unsurprisingly but why did she pay at all; I can only assume she was coerced by him to do so) and renovations (can she directly prove that she paid for these?) will cost her dearly; she is unlikely to see a penny from that, that money has well and truly gone.

She needs to call Womens Aid urgently on 0808 2000 247 as they can and will help her here. She can escape this man. Encourage her to talk to them, the fact that she is not a UK national is irrelevant. Staying within this is not an option because her child will be damaged by his dad as well as seeing his mum get abused daily. She and her son would be safer in a refuge.

bibliomania Fri 28-Feb-14 10:59:39

There are some good aspects - an an EU national with a work history here, I can't see any any problem with being able to stay in the UK, continuing to work, claiming tax credits, housing benefit etc. There is no reason why she should feel financially trapped.

I would agree with talking to Women's Aid. She might also ring around solicitors to see if they do a free 30-min consultation.

anklebitersmum Fri 28-Feb-14 11:07:47

At the very least look up a Family Law Solicitor in the local area and book a consult.

Most will do an hour or so for either a fixed £50/£60 or even free in some cases.

You'll be amazed what you can glean in that short time and if they think that she may need representaion down the line they'll tell her up front.

Facelikeafriendlyapple Fri 28-Feb-14 13:20:11

Thank you all so much. She has been to CAB, one 30 minute chat but the adviser basically told her not to leave her DP over Christmas as it would be "sad for him not to see his DC on Christmas morning"! Massively unhelpful and really knocked her resolve to leave then. Think she's worried all advice she gets will say the same.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 28-Feb-14 13:24:23

CAB are clearly not and have never been the best people to deal with the complexities of abusive relationships.

Please get your friend to call Womens Aid; they certainly won't give her the frankly terrible advice that she was given by the CAB.

bibliomania Fri 28-Feb-14 13:43:25

That was an utterly ridiculous thing for the adviser to say. If you've represented the situation accurately, I feel pretty confident in saying that other advice is likely to be quite different. But Women's Aid is an excellent starting point for specialised advice.

Facelikeafriendlyapple Fri 28-Feb-14 14:12:04

Thanks again. I've been trying for weeks to get her to call Women's Aid. I think she feels it is almost too serious, I.e. only for domestic violence. I've tried to explain it isn't and that they will help... But its hard. Lead a horse to water and all that...

bibliomania Fri 28-Feb-14 14:31:12

I had the same anxieties about contacting WA when in a similiar situation - that I was taking up resources that another woman needed more. Tell her that it's not taking up too much of their time just to have a phone call. And when she does (hopefully) do that, they can reassure her on that very point. I think it's a common thing.

Chunderella Fri 28-Feb-14 17:46:24

If she is an EEA national and has been self-employed in the UK for at least the past five years, she's likely to have acquired permanent residence. Even if she hasn't, as an EEA national she will be able to remain and work unless she commits a pretty serious crime. I can't see any problem there, her immigration status isn't likely to be an issue. Assuming she isn't Croatian, she can access the usual benefits including housing benefit. CAB were obviously useless re the relationship breakdown, but they're usually pretty good for benefit checks so might be worth booking one of those. Otherwise, try the entitled to site.

If he's been emotionally abusive and controlling, this is DV and within the women's aid remit. If there's a possibility he will turn nasty if she leaves, they would try and assist her in getting out safely.

As they weren't married, she isn't going to be able to get spousal maintenance off him. That's a dead end. Regarding the house, if she has paid towards the mortgage and renovation, she is entitled to a share in the value of the property that reflects her contributions. But she is going to need to be able to prove it. If she can't, as her name isn't on the deeds then she's going to have a problem.

They don't have to see a solicitor to arrange contact, the parents can sort it out among themselves. She will be the resident parent, as she's provided the bulk of the care previously. She can offer whatever she wants. If XDP isn't happy, the onus is on him to go to court to apply for further contact, which may or may not involve a solicitor.

Chunderella Fri 28-Feb-14 17:47:09

Sorry, correct link to the benefit checker:

Facelikeafriendlyapple Fri 28-Feb-14 18:36:09

Brilliant, thank you. Will pass all of this on.

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