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separation? What do I need to know?

(14 Posts)
Biscuitsneeded Sun 15-May-16 21:24:13

DP and I are not on good terms at all. We probably should never have been together in the first place. However, we've been together 13 years and have 2 DC. For the past couple of years we have had separate rooms and no sex except on very rare occasions. I don't care, I don't want it, I don't want him. I don't hate him but he is often lazy and selfish and I can't feel amorous towards a manchild. We seem to have this tacit agreement to rub along in the same house leading separate lives. I'm not interested in anyone else and I really doubt he is. Without having discussed it I guess I thought that was what we had decided to settle for.

We had at one point discussed converting our loft into another bedroom so that DC (same sex) don't have to share, and had had an architect come and have a look etc. Today DP was helping a friend empty his loft in preparation for a similar exercise, so when he got in I asked whether we needed to have a conversation about what we needed to do next. DP said, you know what, I pay the mortgage, I've decided I'm not shelling out any more so that you can continue not to share my room. I pointed out that yes, technically the mortgage comes out of his account, but that means that all my salary (which goes into our joint account) is used for food, clothes, leisure activities, holidays etc. His response was that 50% of this house is his already as it was the money from the sale of his old house, 25% is mine because I had money from the sale of my flat, and he has been paying the remaining 25% back in mortgage contributions since we bought the house nearly 10 years ago. I suddenly felt very scared that he is planning to sell the house as soon as the DC are gone and he thinks it is mostly his. He is correct about what we each brought as capital to the purchase, but it can't be right that all the mortgage payments can be deemed to have been made by him alone just because they came out of his account, while I was using my earnings for our children? I was on maternity leave after DC2 when we bought this house, couldn't have made monthly repayments even if I'd wanted to. We just never readjusted after I went back to work as the way things were set up seemed to work. I earn half what he does - I'm public sector, he's not, although he doesn't earn a fortune. But I think he honestly thinks that at some point we'll sell this house and he'll give me 25% of the price and I'll disappear. Who do I contact to protect myself? The mortgage is in both our names (I wasn't that naive) and somewhere we have a document that we both signed that details how much we each brought to the purchase.

I'm not desperate to leave. If I avoid thinking about the sadness of my situation, I like my life, my home, my friends and neighbours, my kids' schools etc. I think DP also knows that things would actually be impossible without me picking up the slack. He's very chaotic and I always solve everything and make sure all is OK for the DC. I suspect he's decided to stick it out until the DC are grown up. In the long run I wouldn't be distraught if we separated officially, but I'm suddenly scared that he's planning to shaft me financially. Is there anything I should be doing now to protect myself and also my children's interests? He loves his DC, he wouldn't want to hurt them in any way, but he is extremely careful with money and won't want me to end up with a penny more than he has to part with. I've juggled work with raising his kids and doing the lion's share of the domestic work, have held back in my career for the sake of my children - can he walk away and leave me with not enough to buy even a one bed flat where we currently live?

TessDurbeyfield Sun 15-May-16 21:39:24

I am sorry to hear about your situation and it sounds as if you are right to look at your position now. I'm assuming you're not married?

Do you have the paper work from when you bought the house, particularly the document that you signed that said what you both brought to the purchase? Do you know whether you made a declaration of trust? This would say how you intended the ownership of the property to be split between you (which wouldn't have to be the same as what you brought to the purchase). If I were you I would gather as much paperwork and information as you can and have a meeting with a lawyer to advise you on your position and what you can do to protect yourself. I know it is an expense but if could save you a huge amount in the long term. These situations can be very complicated, especially if you haven't already written everything down. I wouldn't rely on what you can find out on the internet because you need advice tailored to you.

Also, have you thought about other aspects of the finances esp pensions?

Minime85 Sun 15-May-16 21:50:51

You have said towards the end he wouldn't want to hurt his kids in anyway, however if he is going to do his best to get all assets from the house and make you feel like that, then he is hurting them.

Go and see a solicitor. Take all in for on finances with you. Is mortgage in both names? Are both names on deeds?

From my experience and what solicitor said to me what you put into house that long agai isn't relevant. Solicitor told me 10 yrs classed as good marriage these days and that judge wouldn't be interested in who put what in that long ago.

Biscuitsneeded Sun 15-May-16 21:52:22

Gosh, no, I haven't. I have a (tiny ) private pension left over from when I was in my twenties and earned a pittance. I pay almost nothing into that. I also have a pension through my current employment but again, there isn't a whole load in that. My head is in the sand about the parlous state of our relationship as it is, let alone about the financial implications of not finishing our lives together. I realise that sounds pathetic, and as a grown woman I should have more of a grip on our finances, but we have always earned just enough for what we needed, we're not huge spenders and not very materialistic, and so with DP paying mortgage and bills and then sharing other expenses it's just sort of worked out OK. Because we're not married I don't think I ever thought that I would be entitled to anything from his pension but I guess I thought we'd carry on rubbing along together somehow, we'd own our house outright and wouldn't need too much. I've been pretty stupid, haven't I?

Biscuitsneeded Sun 15-May-16 21:57:46

Thanks both for replying. Minime, I'm not married (perhaps I should have listened to the tiny voice that made me say I didn't want to get married ages ago) so I don't know whether I would have rights after 13 years of 'relationship'.

pocketsaviour Sun 15-May-16 21:58:13

As you aren't married you have put yourself in a vulnerable position if you've taken a hit on your earnings power to raise his children. Unfortunately that loss of earnings won't be protected or compensated in law in the same way it would if you were married.

I'd suggest seeking legal advice asap. Your relationship doesn't sound secure and you need to know where you stand.

TessDurbeyfield Mon 16-May-16 09:57:06

* I don't know whether I would have rights after 13 years of 'relationship'.*

No there aren't any special rights that you earn after a certain time in a relationship. You have put yourself in bait of a vulnerable position but you've kept working and the house is in joint names so you are a lot less vulnerable than many people are. Most importantly, you are doing something about it now rather than waiting.

On the house, I think Minime is talking about separation after marriage and that is different. Essentially, if the paper work is clear on who owns what through a declaration of trust then the position will be clear. IF it is not then the main concern will be to find out how you 'intended' the house to be owned but that can be complicated if you never actually worked it out together. The mere fact that the mortgage payments came from his bank account is not enough to say that he owns that portion of the house. I would get together all of the paperwork on the house, see a lawyer for advice on your current position and start thinking about your pension. You don't say how old you are but I'm guessing you have 20+ years before retirement so quite a bit of time to address all of this.

You might think about putting this on legal too but no-one will be able to give you a straight answer without all of the information.

MrsBertBibby Mon 16-May-16 10:31:34

Do you know how you own the house? Does joint tenants or tenants in common sound familiar?

Biscuitsneeded Mon 16-May-16 16:23:34

I will need to get out all the mortgage docs and look. My DP would not have set anything up to deliberately exclude me. He isn't a shit. But he now that he's licking his wounds he perhaps has a skewed view of things. He has always placed huge importance on the fact that he is the 'breadwinner' - it seems that's how he gets his self-worth - so consequently he feels that it's mainly 'his' house. He talks in terms of how he 'supported' me while the kids were small and I wasn't working (and he did actually support me while I re-trained to do something more family-friendly, to be fair), but doesn't seem to grasp that I was actually raising his children!

Jan45 Mon 16-May-16 17:39:44

He knows full well OP that you have been raising HIS children, he sounds bloody awful, I don't understand why you are co habitating, are you prepared to have no sex for the rest of your life, no partner, no company?

Eventually one of you will get shafted, you don't have his back and he sure as hell don't have yours, what's the point, so you can still live in a shiny nice house - why not start again without having to suffer him?

He's a total wanker lording over you the fact he works, big fucken deal, so do you!

fryingtoday Mon 16-May-16 19:47:34

Find out how the house is owned. Then see a lawyer - first meeting will be free. But as unmarried, you will not have any claim other than for child maintenance. Hope you are on those house deeds!

MrsBertBibby Mon 16-May-16 21:01:59

That really isn't correct, frying. First meetings are very often not free, (and free meetings are pretty useless for a case like this as they are often only 20 or 30 minutes which is hopeless for a case like this. Also, unmarried couples with kids have the possibility of financial claims under Schedule 1 Children Act. And if the house were in his sole name, then an unmarried partner who had contributed like OP can still claim.

Furthermore, the Court can permit n unmarried parent to stay in the home, making the other parent wait for their share until the kids are grown.

Lots of options OP but you need proper advice.

Biscuitsneeded Tue 17-May-16 17:35:43

House/mortgage etc definitely in both of our names. I haven't got the docs yet but I remember that much. Jan45, it's absolutely not about trying to hang onto a 'shiny' house. It needs a lot of work actually. But property prices where we live are such that if I came away with even half the value of our 3 bed semi I wouldn't be able to afford anything suitable for me and 2 kids to live in. Local school, local friends, local community etc are hugely important. DC1 has a particular passion/talent which means we do a lot of ferrying around. DP is reliable and willing with specific instructions but just wouldn't cope with the DC on his own and they would suffer. I'm not prepared to do that to them. It sounds like I'm making excuses, maybe I am. I am here through fear/inertia/head in sand syndrome I suspect. At the moment I can't imagine wanting a relationship. I don't want sex, and I have a lot of companionship from some great friends and my DC who are blossoming into fun and interesting people to be around. I know they'll grow up and move on, and I hope they do, but if I ended up on my own in a tiny house it wouldn't be the end of the world. It actually sounds quite appealing.

Helennn Tue 17-May-16 17:54:08

Just to disagree with Mrs Bert Bibby, my initial free half hour appointment with the solicitor ended up being one hour and was extremely useful. Do not disregard it because it is free, it was extremely valuable for me and gave me a lot if confidence. What I would highly recommend is asking a switched on friend to go with you that you can talk to afterwards.

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