Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Is a civilised friendly divorce possible?(23 Posts)
I really never thought I'd be posting this, but DH and I have decided to divorce.
We've been married for 18 years, together 21. 2 kids, 12 & 14. Things haven't been great for a while - but I've hung on in because he was changing jobs last year, meaning a 6 month gardening leave and then far less pressured role and I'd convinced myself that once he had time and space he would start to be more involved in our relationship and family life. But I've realised it's not that he was too busy with work, it's that he really is emotionally iliterate. We've been having counselling and it's just served to show that he can't be the sort of emotional partner I want, and that I will no longer be the sexual partner that he wants without that emotional connection and intimacy
So we've decided to split. We are both sad about it (not that he's capable of showing that). Will be calling lawyers tomorrow.
He's planning on buying a flat nearby which will be convenient both for his new commute, and the kids school. Money should not be in issue, he said he intends to be fair, and he's not really in a position not to be as I've been running the family finances and so know exactly what we have and where. I'm not really sure what fair is though, he is suggesting a straight 50-50 split of assets and child maintenance. I'm thinking that as I gave up a decent career of my own to support his (and as I previously worked in same industry and did lots of client entertaining with him I really did and he acknowledges that) I should be entitled to some spousal maintenance as well, given he still has 6 figure earning potential and I frankly don't. I will obv ask lawyer, but what sort of thing is normal?
And are we really going to be able to get through this entire process without hating each other? We've been talking about still being friends, him potentially staying here to look after kids when I go away twice a year for my charity work (he will get 3 bed flat to accommodate kids but I think they'll still prefer to be in there more comfortable home with pets and stuff for longer periods). And even still coming back to walk the dogs sometimes. Are we completely kidding ourselves that we can do this without any rancour?
No, in my experience it's not possible. Inevitably what seems fair to one will not seem so to the other. However, it is possible to come through with dignity and not run each other Down to the kids, and be reasonably amicable in the future , once the dust has settled...
It's hard but possible. I think the downside of divorcing 'amicably' is that at times the stress of it does make you wonder 'is it worth it?'
It is, if both parties grasp that
a) it's hard work, and you both have to do the work, and
b) it doesn't mean "I will get everything I think I'm due, will suffer no consequences, and no one will ever say anything remotely critical of me".
You both have to make your minds up to not let yourselves respond to the triggers. It's tough, much tougher than screaming at each other.
pwyneth you sound in a very similar position to me and my nearly Exh. Yes we have had an amicable divorce as no one else was involved for either of us. However the financial order wasn't granted as judge said it wasn't fair to me even though we had agreed this between us. Now he's got a new partner and I'm hurt and jealous that he's moved on and I cant get anyone and part of me wants to start creating a financial stink for him. I won't but can now see how easily other people being involved can turn an amicable split to a bitter one. All I would advise is agree what you two want between you and present it to your solicitors and say- make this happen! Then keep talking to each other as once your wishes are put into legal speak they sound horrendous!! Xx
I think 50-50 is fair here. Your children are teens if you wanted to go back to work you could have.
If you've given up work, or prioritised his career over yours to raise a family, then 50:50 split of assets is not equitable. The law is pretty clear about that, especially after a 20 year marriage.
Get a good solicitor and get advice about a settlement that compensates you for loss of earnings due to your role as primary carer.
Aim for a civilised divorce. That is an achievement.
Fortunately for you, it doesn't matter what Blink 1982 thinks
The other thing about divorce is everyone has an opinion and everyone is an expert because they're sister in kaw's brother got a divorce and blah blah blah! Get a solicitor. Be calm but assertive. Good luck
Spousal maintenance is unusual these days but you should expect more than 50% of the assets because of your lower earning potential through sacrificing your career.
The fact that he thinks 50-50 is reasonable suggests that you haven't got a cat in hell's chance of this being amicable. Sorry
It is possible, if you both work from the principle of what is best for the children. It sounds as if maintenance for you would be reasonable but you need a good lawyer really. I know a few people who have friendly divorces so it can be done.
A financial clean break rather than spousal maintenance will make it easier to remain amicable long term. Honestly, you don't want to be dependent on anyone for spousal maintenance long term. It's money that makes divorces that could be amicable acrimonious. Get out, hold your head high and forge a new INDEPENDENT life for yourself.
And in every situation or future interaction look at the whole of it and ask yourself... if I was a child caught up in this how would I want my parents to behave?
Yes it is. My friend split up from her husband about 10 years ago. He's remarried and has another child to whom she's 'auntie' to. They go out as a family for her sons birthday and other events. They've always spent part of Christmas Day together so her son saw them.both then who evers 'turn' it was would take him home late morning. They had 50/50 custody from the start and have handled it brilliantly. There's been ups and downs but ultimately they put their own feelings aside and always did what was best for their son.
They've come out of it as good friends
It's unusual it's been hard work but it IS possible
Thank you all - I think his 50:50 is naive rather than evil- he genuinely is an honourable man. And TBH even 50% would leave me the house and enough investments to live on once kids have left home- I just want to be able to do as we always said and support them in the future as well and whilst he says he would, i'd feel more comfortable with that being legally watertight in case of circumstances changing.
And yes I could go back to work, but I actually do a lot of voluntary work already. And don't see why I should have to give that up to get a low paid local job, which is all I could do whilst still doing all the parenting in the way that we both want me to. He won't be picking up slack of ferrying kids to sporting fixtures etc if I decided to go back to high powered career with commute. I made decisions and sacrifices for our family, and see nothing unfeminist ir not independent in expecting to be compensated for those.
I think it could still be amicable, even if you disagree on the split, if he is generally honourable. Mine started amicably since I fell for the honourable split facade, but discovered later he had lied through his teeth about what assets there were and also tried to skew the 50/50 split by undervaluing the half he wanted and overvaluing mine. And trying to hide tens of thousands of pounds of cash. That is what led to my split becoming extremely bitter, when if he had been honest in the first place we might have a worthwhile post divorce relationship, but as things are, I would cross the street to avoid him if he was on fire.
50:50 of a hell of a lot of money may be fine. 50:50 of not quite enough to run two homes will cause you both inevitable stresses. In my experience, it's rarely friendly once the lawyers get involved.
Ask your lawyer about a collaborative divorce process. This process supports an amicable divorce when both parties have a good idea of how the split will work without anyone having to work it out. Saying that my solicitor tried to chuck fire on it and challenged me constantly about why I wasn't going for spousal maintenance, pension etc, but in my head the deal I had was fair already. I think it's easier to be amicable when there are enough assets to split for both parties to be ok financially- I'm sure things would have been very different otherwise for me, and I sympathise massively for those in less strong positions.
What I find difficult now is maintaining the appropriate level of contact to be amicable but not friendly. I get a constant barrage of messages about all kinds of shit as if we were still married.
Just to be very clear. I'm not saying you don't deserve to be compensated as a result of the career sacrifices you have made. What j am saying is that in my experience money makes things acrimonious so it's better, if you can afford it, to go for a clean break (excepting child maintenance of course).
I agree with the poster who says that collaborative law is the way forward.
I also think (from experience) that it's hugely satisfying to be able to forge your own path after divorce with the only thing keeping you and your ex linked is the children that you both love and want the best for.
Yes but it takes both people wanting that and constantly working for that.
(I would have liked a grown up divorce but my ex has made that impossible so many times. Refusing to return the children etc etc etc)
And yes, hunt for a solicitor that takes that approach too. Some take relish in inflaming a situation; others are great at focussing your mind on a sensible compromise. Get a personal recommendation if you can
Yes because we did it. A long time ago but we split before we hated each other and did any damage to the children.
We filled in a form between us to formally divorce. We split all or assets 50/50 including furniture, car and house as I decided to sell up and buy somewhere smaller as I didn't want any financial ties....apart from maintenance of course.
He saw the children each weekend and they often stayed with him overnight as he lived for a while with his parents.
The shit hit the fan when he met someone clearly unhinged who resented his children, the money he paid towards their keep, and me and the fact we were civil. She asked for his children to stop sending Christmas and birthday things to their dad and had huge rows about them being in their house in front of them. She stepped it right up when they bought a house together and had her territory marked out. The rest of the story is messy and showed me what a weak man I had married.
Definitely agree with those that have said clean financial break apart from child maintenance. I had always worked so had paid plenty into a good pension scheme, not as much as him - but I consider I got a good deal on him buying me out of the house. Pension declarations will be part of the calculation for any court order approval of your divorce though. Do make sure you're sorted on this front, but go for lump sum rather than a future entitlement if at all possible. As others have said, everything can seem amicable at the time of the split but new partners can make a huge difference longer term.
Join the discussion
Please login first.