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I have a query about my divorce(10 Posts)
My husband and I separated 3 and a half years ago. I kicked him out after discovering his affair but things weren't right, I was going through a very difficult time with ill health and bereavement in my family and didn't pursue a divorce immediately.
I also knew that he would 'kick off' if divorced him on the grounds of adultery, and didn't have any concrete proof. He told me that if I tried to divorce him on those grounds, he would counter it on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour on my behalf.
So instead, we left it for the 2 years. And he has filed for it and paid the cost.
We don't have any assets together; he refused to buy a house with me and, although we were together for 12 years, were only married for 4 before we split.
Every decision that has been made about everything so far has been decided by him. He decided how much maintenance he would pay and what contact he would be prepared to have. It was ok to begin with and more than the CSA would have said.
But over the past few years, he has changed maintenance payments twice (reduced) and contact has changed again at his request. The contact changes haven't affected me, they're just different and I have no reason to say no. On contact he's 'reasonable' and although he doesn't have them over the school holidays, he is flexible with weekends so if I want to go away with my friends or whatever, he will have the children. So whilst the basic contact is 'little' it's not set in stone or rigid. The flexibility suits both of us.
The thing that's bothering me is the financial situation. He's pushing me to sign the papers and say that we don't want to pursue a financial settlement/agreement through court. Now I don't want to pay a fortune (because I can't afford it) to solicitors, but I am also aware that I don't even know what he earns, he is just telling me what he is prepared to pay and expects me to go along with it.
He is now getting unpleasant and is accusing me of deliberately delaying the divorce and forcing him to stay married to me because I haven't yet signed the initial papers. I admit, it has been a while but I need to speak with him about it, and I'm delaying because I know he'll get loud and cross about it.
He said the courts now prefer divorcing couples to sort out their financial arrangements together rather than waste court time on sorting it.
But I don't trust him.
I want to go through mediation. I want us to both have to state our incomings and outgoings and present a starting point and have someone who he can't midlead state what is fair and what is not, rather than him just be able to change things on a whim.
He is saying now that he is going to change the grounds for the divorce and cite unreasonable behaviour on my behalf and i'll have to pay the cost of the change. I don't think he actually will, it's more a threat to intimidate me and worry me into a quick response.
I know that he will accuse me of trying to control him if I suggest a mediator and say that I'm only interested in his money (because it was a big issue in our relationship, I never knew how much he earned, keeping me away from his money was his reason for not buying a house with me and he refused to sort life insurance on the grounds that if he died, I should be more upset that I'd lost him than be thinking about how much money I'd get). So I admit, that I am stalling about it.
He is also saying taht I should take his attitude towards flexible contact and not having to pursue him through the CSA as proof that he will not renege on his financial obligations to the children.
But he still lives with his parents, he earns a lot more than me. His money goes on knick knacks, blu-rays, film memorabilia and expensive clothes, whilst I'm struggling to keep a roof over our heads because my full time salary only just covers essential outgoings. I can't afford a solicitor.
He's not even doing the disney dad thing because he priorities spending his money on himself and his girlfriend.
I don't really know what the position is or what I can come back to him and say.
I'd appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks.
Oh also, one child (17) isn't biologically his. But he still pays maintenance because he regards them as father and son. But I think that he is using the fact a solicitor will try and talk him out of this as a way of scaring me into not rocking the boat.
So financially, I think he thinks that paying maintenance for a child that isn't his until he is 18 or leaves 6th form, is financially better for him than me pursuing something through court.
He doesn't contribute to childcare costs for the younger one because he says that childcare is only necessary because I work. In his eyes, him going to work or not has no bearing on whether child care is needed or not. It's needed for me to go to work so I should pay it. He's never offered and when I suggested it/asked, he flatly refused to consider it on those grounds.
If you don't know what he earns, how do you know what he paid volunarily was more than the CSA would have ordered?
How many children are there?
On the changing grounds point, (and frankly, everything else you say he says) he is talking utter and complete bollocks.
I doubt a court would give him permission to amend his petition, if you have already agreed the 2 years petition, and it in I think inconceivable he would get a costs order against you.
Make a mediation referral now.
It's a difficult one. Why not find out exactly what you're entitled to and say you'll sign a document agreeing to that. I did go through court, and the agreement says 20% of his earnings. (Not that I get anything like that as he's self employed and simply lies about his earnings. But I just think more fool him for not wanting to support his children. )
Could you just try to be cool about it and say (in writing so he can't accuse you of being unreasonable) that you're ok not to pursue this through the court and will sign to accept 20% of his earnings. (I expect that even without factoring your oldest child that would be more than he gives you.) In your letter mention that you are only seeking maintenance (you would also be able to claim part of his pension and spousal maintenance, but I think if you mention you will not be claiming these he can't argue that you are after his money).
It's a start anyway (a letter). Don't sign anything without a third party checking it through with you. Don't be too worried by his threat of unreasonable behaviour divorce either. He's left it a bit late for that, and even if he goes for it you can counter it with your own unreasonable divorce claim I think. And it still wouldn't mean he can get out of what he owes for maintenance.
Oh yes, I agree with MrsBertBibby, as he's already filed the 2 year divorce he can't change it now. They would know exactly what he's up to!
It's more than the CSA would ask him to pay based on what he has told me he earns. Which is about £30k. But that was when we first split up. I don't know what it is now.
How do I make a mediation referral?
Is he talking about a clean break order?
A clean break order is an order drawn up between the two of you and ensures that neither of you have a claim on the other in the future ie if he wins the lottery or you inherit millions. Claims can be made decades after the divorce and some are successful.
These need to be approved by a judge (though it is done without a hearing - the signed papers go in, the judge reads and decides). The judge will expect you to have agreed it between you, as your ex says. The judge will also expect both of you to have taken independent legal advice and I have heard of orders being rejected because they do not show evidence of that independent legal advice.
On a separate note, the 17 year old was a child of the marriage and maintenance should be paid.
I suggest that you try and find the money to get advice about how to start financial disclosure or post on legal as there are some lovely and knowledgeable people on there. Good luck.
Oh love, well done for not having agreed to this!
You absolutely cannot trust a man who has an affair.
His comment about not reneging on agreements is laughable - he has already, twice.
Do not go writing anything to him - please, don't.
You must talk to a solicitor. You can't trust this man as far as you can throw him.
But can I first advise you to talk to Woman's Aid? It sounds like he was a bully when you were together and he's definitely a bully now. I think you need so real life support to get you to accept that your children are entitled to far more support than this.
He is right that courts expect you to try to work things out yourselves.
Did you know that when an ex is a bully, the courts accept that mediation can be ignored altogether? Or that you can have mediation where you sit in different rooms and the mediator goes between you?
Get angry that he's still trying to bully you!
Find the money for a solicitor, beg borrow steal. At least talk to Women's Aid first.
If you search a poster called HeddaGarbled you'll see a link to latest court guidelines on asset split. You are entitled to far more than he's offering - for the children! - and he knows it.
Google Family Mediation Council, they have a search for someone local. Legal Aid is available for mediation, if you are financially eligible (not all mediators go legal aid)
Incidentally, although the CSA has exclusive jurisdiction for child maintenance, because it doesn't cover step kids, the Court still has power to order stepchild maintenance.
Do see a solicitor for advice on the finances, preferably once the mediator has sorted financial disclosure, so the advice is based on hard info.
Thanks for this.
Also, thanks, Cabrinha. You and I have 'met' under a previous name and I know you speak a lot of sense.
I think it's time for me to get my head out of the sand and take the bull by the horns.
Yes, he was a bully when we were together and very much of the, "it's not DA, I've never hit you" variety. But then there is absolutely no evidence and I have very little in the way of a support network.
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