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Possible sale of our home bringing up unresolved financial/relationship issues - long

(84 Posts)
feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 07:12:58


H and I have been together for 19 years - married 13 of those. We have 3 dc - 2 at primary school, 1 at secondary.

I have posted about our relationship over the years, but in a way my question is not about the past but about what to do now.

The house we live in is in h's name only. When we got together I was much younger (obviously!) - but h is 12 years older than me. Looking back I would not have agreed to go ahead with things set up as they are (even if it meant the relationship ending), but I was naive! I moved in to h's flat. He then bought a house that we moved in to together. The house we currently live in was bought 2 years after we met so we have lived here for 17 years. At the time of the first house purchase, I asked him if he would wait (we were not married at that point and didn't have the dc) until I was in a position to get a joint mortgage with him. He said absolutely not and went ahead with the purchase.

So for 17 years we have lived in the second house he bought (after meeting me). In the time we have been together he has also bought and sold various other properties. He currently owns our family home as well as a retail property, a house in another town which he rents out intermittently, a property on the coast (actually a type of tower) which he would like to do up one day so that it can be rented out, and half a house (owned with a family member) which he is currently renovating to sell. I own half of the flat my sister lives in (this is part inheritance, part gift from my Dad).

The way that things are set up financially is that h pays me a wage through his business and I get child benefit and child tax credit into my account. I have recently started working again (after being a SAHM for a long time) so that goes in to my account as well (and will probably reduce the tax credits though I haven't sorted that out yet as have only just started working - it is contract work as a teaching assistant and there won't be any work in the holidays and am not sure where I will be working in September). I pay for food and anything child related - clothes / shoes / school trips / christmas and birthday gifts / any activities etc.. I also get occasional gifts from my Dad. This money allows me to pay for some activities for the kids and cheap holidays (this year I have paid for a 7 days in a holiday park in Wales and our overnight train tickets abroad this summer - we are going to stay with my Dad).

H pays for the mortgage and covers all bills (I used to pay for things like the MOT and car service but had more savings at that point). He is going for broke trying to do this latest property up and in a sense has less access to cash than me (but is obviously well off asset wise). There is still a mortgage but I don't know how big this is.

What bothers me is the fact that I am living like a child. H is a bit of a gambler in a way and juggles his financial commitments. He is living on the overdraft - he does renovation work for other people but is doing that less at the moment as he is concentrating on finishing the property he owns with a relative. I don't have access to any of his accounts and don't know what he does financially at all (apart from what he occasionally might tell me). He is now 58 (I am 46) and has had enough of working as physically hard as he has over the past 10 years. So I think the sale of this property and possibly of the house that we live in, would allow him to pay the mortgage off.

So about a month ago he got an estate agent over to value our house. He now talks about what he hopes it will sell for and we are doing up (or rather fixing as parts of it are a in need of tlc) some rooms. The agent asked us where we were planning to move to and of course we couldn't really say anything as we have different ideas about that. Our whole relationship h has talked about wanting to live in a particular mediterranean country and he is now saying that he wants to live there and he will go there on his own if necessary (shock). However he is prone to making statements like that and also says "shall we move there?" when any interesting country appears on the TV. I would favour moving closer to the outside of the town we already live in as I am scared of losing the cosmopolitan element of our life. DC1 also really likes his secondary school and so I suppose that I vaguely think we could move somewhere greener and cheaper from where he (and the others when they start there) could commute to school. H and I have not really talked about this - but I suppose we are not the only couple who disagrees about where to go and live.

But the crux of the matter (as far as this post is concerned) is that the possible sale of our home opens a whole can of worms for me that I don't really want opened. Over the years I have asked h if I can be on the deeds a few times. He is very defensive about this. We also have no will and no life insurance. I know that if we were to get divorced 50% of any assets would be mine (though I am not sure if h realises this as in a counselling session 2 years ago he said that he bought the house before we got married - ie. it does not count as mine hmm), but if h were to die or become incapacitated, it becomes more complicated than that. Also he could have made a will to anybody he pleases. I suppose I feel a degree of insecurity which could easily be got rid of if things were set up differently between us and if h were a different, more trusting kind of person.

I also feel slightly humiliated that in the end, despite having been together for so long and having 3 children, the big financial decisions are up to him as of course he owns everything.

So I don't think I could now move into a house which again only he signs for. In fantasy moments I think that he might, when it comes to it, ask me to be on the deeds of wherever we move to, but in all honesty, I don't think this will happen. In the past he has said things like if I want a house I have to work for it (just like he did when he started out - he is very big on this and how much effort he put into it). He has also said (in an argument) that I will not have more decision making power - or words to that effect - when I was saying that I wanted to be on an equal footing.

What I find upsetting is that, although I have undoubtedly not sweated as much as him (and have not been great at housekeeping either), I have contributed over the years. In the six years before we got married, my earnings went towards food. I then looked after the kids for a long time. I got a small inheritance when my Mum died and some of this went towards furniture, appliances and holidays.

So I am waiting to see what he actually plans to do deeds wise when and if we move somewhere else. But if it transpires (as I think it will) that he plans to keep things on the same footing, I will be pushed into taking my head out of the sand and doing something about it.

I am also worried about the future finance wise. I am planning on doing various things to get my working life back on track so it is not that I don't want to work - I absolutely do. But what is going to happen when h and I have both retired (not that I plan to for a good long time)? Is he going to have access to all the assets and money they may or may not generate while I ask him for money?

Basically, in an ideal world, I would want our entire financial set up re-drawn. With both of us owning more or less everything, and everything being out in the open. Pigs will fly before this happens with h however. Apart from anything else he is bitter about losing his family home to his first wife in their divorce and is very defended against this kind of thing happening again.

So I suppose I am asking how I can bring this issue up again with h and have an adult conversation with him about it. How can I get my point across without him misinterpreting my motivations?

Thanks for reading this far smile.

popalot Mon 22-Jun-15 07:31:12

Improving your work situation is a good thing - you need to get yourself more financially independent so that if you are left in the lurch you have something to fall back on. This might involve some training, which you can do online if you are going down the teaching assistant route. Or you might consider something that pays more.

Secondly, I think you need some sound financial advice about your situation. You could start with citizens advice bureau (free advice) and they will point you in the right direction if they can't answer some of your questions such as:
1. if you separate/he passes away will you be entitled to at least half of his assets, including the house he bought before you married (my instinct is yes, but this might happen after costly court battle)
2. How can you get help if you decide to leave financially as you would not be able to afford rent etc.

Frankly, his attitude is very old fashioned and controlling - he has retained total control over assets that as a married couple should be shared. He is trying to control your future moves without allowing you to have an input. Your input as sahm has been totally undervalued by him. I would not move to the med with him as your situation will get worse - you will be isolated and financially even less secure.

I think you are on the brink of making yourself more independent and that should be your main focus from now on in.

Offred Mon 22-Jun-15 07:58:35

You can register a beneficial interest in the current property with land registry that will prevent the sale of the current home without your permission for it. I would be severely tempted to do this if I were you, just to make a point. I think also that I would also rather live in poverty than be married to a man like this and actually that is what I am currently doing - left xh's home to move into rented property on benefits recently...

Hidingmyidentity Mon 22-Jun-15 08:38:33

I remember your previous posts, you & your children are going to end up homeless unless you register an interest in the property you live in. You were given this advice on previous threads & now need to take some control for the sake of your DCs.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 09:28:00

Frankly, his attitude is very old fashioned and controlling - he has retained total control over assets that as a married couple should be shared. He is trying to control your future moves without allowing you to have an input. Your input as sahm has been totally undervalued by him. I would not move to the med with him as your situation will get worse - you will be isolated and financially even less secure.

I agree with this popalot. I have no intention of moving to the med with him. There was a time when we used to talk about it together, but at the time my Mum was ill and I didn't want to move further away from her. She is not with us any more and lots of time has passed since then, but it seems that h kind of blames me for not having made the move then. I don't think it would have happened in any case as he has always been very tied up with work and various businesses.

I do feel however that if it is something he has always wanted that he should be able to do it - he wants the peace and the heat after many years of slogging away in a large busy town. So if he were to say that he was going I would not be averse to the idea that I remain here (with the dc - that's the other thing, he would try and convince them to go - the elder two have both said no categorically) as long as things were set up so that I actually had some control over something - a property of some kind ideally. A divorce basically I suppose but one that had happened because we both naturally moved on to something that the other one didn't want to share. After all staying together for 19 years to have dc is maybe the point at which our relationship naturally comes to an end?

I don't think it would be this easy anyhow, but if h did up and leave for Spain (and he is prone to making comments like these which does not mean that he would actually disappear - he has been responsible about keeping everything afloat for so many years) I suppose I could then ask for a divorce if that is how things looked iyswim. I have no doubt that it would be unpleasant as there have been a couple of times that I have stared divorce in the face after major arguments, and it has not been pretty.

The thing about h is that he doesn't see his control of all things asset wise is strange. He sees me having an easier day to day life than him in some ways. He doesn't want to be put in the situation where someone has control over him (is how he sees it - doesn't matter that it is me who is in that situation now hmm).

I do feel hurt that my contribution over the years, in his eyes, has not amounted to anything concrete. Kind of the status of a lodger / employee.

Have considered registering my interest in the property offred but that would be a major deal in h's eyes and be seen as an aggressive move. I am really interested to see what he proposes to do deeds wise if we do move, but that leaves me in the position of maybe having to say exactly how I feel and what I want, which may in turn lead to the end of the relationship.

I don't think the dc and I will end up homeless hiding in the sense that h is old fashioned and controlling yes, but not irresponsible to that extent. We are getting on ok at the moment (by our standards) and he has probably forgotten how much of an issue all of this is to me. It would be interesting to know what he really, in his heart of hearts, thinks is going to happen.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 09:30:30

doesn't see his control of all things asset wise as strange

NorahDentressangle Mon 22-Jun-15 09:38:28

SEe a solicitor, visit CAB

It seems pointless to discuss this without knowing what the outcomes of separating/ divorce might be. Because that influences how you approach him. Also you need to know roughly the worth of everything then you can say 'I am entitled to THIS so that is ownership/ shared ownership of x and y'.

Also your pension situation needs sorted. Expert advice needed again.

Mellifera Mon 22-Jun-15 09:40:32

It sounds horrendous, OP. Do you have any sort of pension? Savings?

He pays you a wage like some housekeeper, you are not on the deeds, he has not made a will in your favour. I could not live with someone so controlling. You are in a very vulnerable position if he decides to get rid of his assets and to hide the money.

A partnership is where both parties look out for each other. I have been a sahm for quite some years when each of the dc were little, roughly 6 years combined. When they were 2ish I went back to work part time. When DH was studying, I was working full time supporting us.
Money has always been pooled, I'm on the deeds, we have wills and life insurance.

No other set up would ever have worked for me, and I would not have become a sahm. DH wanted the dc at home with me when they were little, and so did I.

PoppyField Mon 22-Jun-15 09:48:57

doesn't see his control of all things asset wise as strange

Doesn't matter whether he sees himself as Mother Theresa OP, the fact his his control of things is not just strange, it is totally outrageous and demeaning and leaves you incredibly vulnerable.

You seem to be endlessly weighing up your options without knowing where you stand, and wondering why he does things or speculating and worrying without actually doing anything!

Do something! You have to do something for yourself, even in the midst of a financial fog that he has deliberately created around you. Don't stand for it. It is not too late.

You've started divorce proceedings before... have you actually seen a solicitor? What did they say about your financial situation? Your situation is one of 'not knowing'. You can't go round in a blur like this. You must demand honesty from him. What are you risking if you do that? What, really, have you got to lose here?

Sounds like your relationship is pretty empty. Is there anything you want to salvage? Do you actually want to be with this man? It is not clear from your post what life you would like to have for yourself? Rather than wondering what on earth is going on in his head, why don't you decide what you want and go about, bit by bit, trying to make that happen.

Offred is right. Get your interest in your home registered with the Land Registry. Worth a trip to a solicitor just for that. Given your lack of knowledge of what he is up to, you would be mad not to do this. How do you know he is not mortgaging your home from underneath you? The way things are now he could do this and you would not know a thing about it.

Jesus, you have tried to get him to talk like a grown-up about financial issues, he has refused to be reasonable over a number of years and you are worried that registering your interest (after 19 years together) would be seen as an aggressive move!

Forget how it looks - any sensible person would do this to secure their future - he is certainly not interested in doing it for you. Really OP, do it this week. It is a basic first move. Any lawyer would insist/strongly advise you did it urgently. Anything else is ridiculous.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 10:57:14

You are in a very vulnerable position if he decides to get rid of his assets and to hide the money.

I agree and this has already happened in the past. The retail property h currently owns was kept a secret for roughly 10 months (until I found out hmm). We were going through a very bad patch then. During the same period (though h didn't know for about 4 or 5 months rather than 10) I also did not tell h about the transfer of my Dad's half of my sister's flat to me - so that shows the level of silence between us (and maybe I am not better than him confused. In my case I did not want to open a can of worms (relating to other past disagreements) though knew that my half of the flat would be disclosed if we were to get divorced.

Anyway both those things are out in the open now but the difference is that h has the power to buy and sell whatever he pleases - and yes remortgage etc... whereas I don't (though if my sister were to want to sell the flat, I would have some money at my disposal that I could do something with).

I have a small amount of savings (think 5K at the moment) and will have a state pension. H has a small pension or annuity that he is planning to cash in as soon as the rules change or whatever deadline is reached, and which will apparently amount to 30K.

I have been to see a solicitor twice. Once about a year and a half ago, and once in April of this year. April of this year is when the whole issue of the secret retail shop and related things (a property which h had sold but not told me he had sold (if you look at the land registry it appears in somebody else's name from 2013 onwards) but apparently the sale only recently went through? is that possible? that the money from a house sale takes more than a year to come through?) really came to the fore.

Basically I was told that there is no way that I would leave the marriage with nothing and I know that.

It was at that point however that, having faced the desolation of what life would be like if we did separate, I decided to try and repair things and things have got better. I would rather approach the whole shared property issue from the standpoint of mutual agreement rather than telling h I have made a claim against our home because usually this happens when people are about to get divorced?

In any case I have recently read that properties can be sold even if a third party has registered their interest.

What do I want? Either h and I to share things more equally and have a more affectionate and open relationship or, us to go our separate ways with me left with somewhere I can live in - operate from, that is mine.

We do get on on one level and of course there is the shared interest in the dc and just the fact that we have known each other for a long time. I don't feel like destroying all of that. It is not really a relationship relationship however as h is defensive and not affectionate really, and I crave a more adult open type of communication. I think he finds me too demanding as he does not communicate in the way that I do.

I agree that being excluded from the financial ins and outs of things is demeaning poppy.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 11:03:59

The dc now know that there is a possibility the house will be sold and this feels strange as well because it looks on the surface as if everything is a joint decision but in reality it isn't because, as you said poppy, I don't actually know any of the details, but what h has told me.

I guess for the moment I am proceeding with sorting things out at home because I need to this for myself as well and I guess cleared decks will make future decisions easier. If I start telling h what I really want at this point however, he might go back to being all closed and doing things in secret which is kind of what happened when he bought the retail property.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 11:08:38

Apologies for dodgy bracketing and punctuation.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 11:11:50

AND - I think I am too old to move to a house which I do not actually own - too old to be living in somebody else's house despite my contribution. For example the car we have h bought on gumtree without really telling me. It is the same car we had had in the past and it does suit us, but in my world we would both have chosen it together. Things like that are annoying. I guess also that I have never really lived alone and so I crave silly things like doing up a whole house and garden JUST AS I WANT TO AND NO COMPROMISING, which surely is not the point of being married confused.

PoppyField Mon 22-Jun-15 12:28:37

Ok OP, what if I said:

'You want things to change, but your DH will not change. He will carry on being secretive, dodgy, disrespectful, financially abusive etc etc etc, whatever you call it. So, given that he will not change - what will you do?'

Yes it's unfair, yes he's mean and secretive and does dodgy deals, yes it's upsetting, yes he keeps doing it....but what are you going to do? Nothing will change unless you change something.

You sound very passive.

You read somewhere that properties can be sold even if someone has declared an interest. Does that mean you may as well not bother trying to secure your interests? Ah well, no worries.

Basically I was told that there is no way that I would leave the marriage with nothing and I know that. Is that it? Is that all you need to know? I think not!

OP, sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but you are fiddling while Rome burns.

Joysmum Mon 22-Jun-15 13:10:46

Have you posted on here before about him? Your situation sounds very similar to a few threads I've read before.

mummytime Mon 22-Jun-15 14:01:38

You need to see a solicitor ASAP. Presuming you are in the UK, then I think you are in a stronger position than you think - but that is a guess, and I'm not an expert. Go and get some proper legal advice. And at least you are married.

PoppyField Mon 22-Jun-15 15:08:28

Yep OP. I want you to come out of this with the best possible deal for you and your children. Not 10p.

Sorry I got stroppy, but I want to jolt you into action!

Offred Mon 22-Jun-15 15:30:52

What do I want? Either h and I to share things more equally and have a more affectionate and open relationship or, us to go our separate ways with me left with somewhere I can live in - operate from, that is mine.

Then don't you think it is well past time to challenge him?

So what if he sees registering an interest as an aggressive move? I mean really, so what? You want to keep kowtowing to his total control which is based on projection onto you about his feelings about being badly done to by an ex he had in ancient history?

Offred Mon 22-Jun-15 15:33:21

And if he has said you won't leave the marriage with nothing but during the marriage he gives you nothing and has in fact eaten up all your savings and the money you have been given by your family he's basically implying that even if he 'gave' you 10p in a divorce you would be better off than now.

QuiteLikely5 Mon 22-Jun-15 15:41:57

It really doesn't matter if your name is on any deeds or not.

What I would say is if you are contemplating divorce do not let your dh know in advance because he seems sneaky and I think would try to hide or get rid of his assets in preparation.

itwillgetbettersoon Mon 22-Jun-15 15:53:48

I don't think you can rely on him to do anything to change your financial situation positively. You are being very passive. You need to take control. Firstly register your interest on the deeds. As others have said he might have no equity on your house as he may have remortgaged many times. Secondly get to understand your financial situation. Then you have knowledge. Knowledge equals power.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 16:04:59

I think I am quite passive poppy. I don't really like that side to me.

With regard to registering my interest, the reason I am not going to do it now is because things are better between h and I and I suppose part of me is hoping that when and if we sell this house and buy another one, he himself suggests that I go on the deeds.

I think as far as h is concerned he thinks things are better and would see me bringing up the whole deeds thing again as an indication that I was thinking about separation.

It wasn't h who said I wouldn't leave the marriage with nothing offred, it was the solicitor. It is difficult to know anything in terms of figures because those would only come out in a divorce.

I think that when we get closer to deciding what to do re. the house etc. will be the time that I can a. see whether h has changed his stance on the whole deeds thing (unlikely but you never know) and b. ask h for what I really want and see how he responds.

That's when I might have to actually demand what I would like and separate if necessary.

Seems strange coldly deciding in this way and you would think that if I loved him I would not be this "calculating", but I think I would feel a whole lot better about him if he took how I feel into account and went some way to alleviating a feeling of insecurity. When I mentioned this to him once (when I was talking about either being on the deeds or their being a will - and about life insurance), he said that in any case I had my Dad hmm. He considers himself very much a one man band (h does that is), and yes I think he does project his feelings about his first marriage on to me.

I also think that if I co-owned everything with him, or just our family home, he would not be in the position to juggle finances and things as he does now and this would be unbearable for him. Not only is he older than me (12 years but somehow feels like a different generation) but also from a different more patriarchal culture (though sounds English and came here when he was 10 - that kind of thing).

The other big issue is lack of affection which I think either means that we have reached some kind of companionship phase (though this is not really what I want at 46) or that actually he has moved on in mind but just not in body. He never touches me or rarely, unless we sleep together.

I have posted about this before and mostly get told to ltb. When it looked like this was going to happen earlier on this year it was actually unbearable. I would rather sort things out from within and maybe the house sale will give me the chance to see what the lay of the land is? What do I do however if I find that I don't get what I would like and have to then take the next step and separate?

I don't know, do I sound mercenary? I would like to be on an equal footing with h and do things differently but don't know if he is capable of this.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 16:08:20

I agree with you quitelikely, that it is better for me not to talk in confrontational terms at the moment. I think part of my problem is that h literally does not understand where the problem is.

antimatter Mon 22-Jun-15 16:15:12

You are affraid to change the status quo. Yet you don't even know your legal standing.
Writing here may help you in some way but it won't make much difference to your situation. Spend some of your savings on a good lawyer sooner han later.

feelinganxious192 Mon 22-Jun-15 16:23:30

I do know my legal standing in a divorce - that due to the length of time we have been together I would get half or whatever division of assets. I have seen a solicitor twice. I don't know how much the mortgage is or the equity it is true but this would only come out in a financial disclosure.

It is true that I am afraid of changing the status quo.

One of my problems is that I don't know how to explain to h how important my being on an equal footing to him is. He just views it suspiciously, gets defensive and talks about how hard he has worked.

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