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Told the children we're separating - what now?

(90 Posts)
Whathappensnowthen Sat 20-May-17 22:43:40

My husband and I have been separated for months but still living together. The children have witnessed a lot of arguments but didn't know we were splitting up till we told them today.

Due to it being a joint mortgage and us agreeing that one of us should live here and take the mortgage on as it's the only house the children have known,we both looked into buying the other out. However, as I will be the primary carer for the children,they counted 'against' my earnings and the mortgage company wouldn't lend me enough to buy my husband out. So he is in the process of buying me out and the children and I will be moving in with my parents in 2 weeks time.

We have tried to explain to the children that we both love them all and that, whilst we no longer love each other we still 'like' each other and so will still be doing birthdays, Christmas etc as a family. We will also try to be frequent visitors to each others places (at least to start with) to soften the blow for the children.

However, they have been crying this evening saying they don't want to leave the house. They said they just want us to stop arguing. It's about more than arguments of course - my husband has an alcohol problem that he refuses to acknowledge and I've had enough. The children rarely saw him drunk though, thankfully, but most nights it's the same old routine of children in bed then start drinking. I feel like I have been single for years as his drinking has been very isolating.

I am unsure what to do next. We want to reassure the children that everything will be ok, but there will undoubtedly be more tears and I want to make sure we say/do the right things. Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom they would care to share?

Enough101 Sat 20-May-17 23:28:32

How old are your DC?

Whathappensnowthen Sat 20-May-17 23:30:40

They're 9, 6, 4 & 2

wonderingsoul Sat 20-May-17 23:33:58

How old are they? Younger kids tend to deal with it better imo but ethier way i think you need to spin it as an adventure youll get a new house to live at. Take them shopping for new bedding and paint tondexorate their rooms.

Im assuming your renting if you cant get a mortage? Could they veiw house with you?

Children are way more recilient then we give them credit for. They will be ok.
Let them cry and ask questions. Deff tell the sxhool whats going they may be able to set some one upnto talk to for them.

Enough101 Sat 20-May-17 23:41:19

Ok. I haven't been through this myself, am currently in the living together and children don't know yet stage and no idea what will happen with the home. Is there any possibility of your H renting for a while and letting you stay in the house with the kids until they get their heads around the situation? Is there enough room at your parents house for you all?

I think all you can keep telling them is that everything is going to be alright. I wish I had the right words for you, its something I am really worried about when the time comes. I think after the initial shock, if you can treat it as a bit of an adventure for them, how exciting going to stay with the grandparents where they will no doubt be spoilt, etc. Maybe a good idea to also make sure their school are fully on board and ask them to keep an eye on them. Were you and your H able to tell them together in a united way? If so, you should be really proud of yourselves for doing that. That will make or break their long-term reaction to this. I know it must have been really hard, but you have told them now and with enough time to get used to it before you move, but not too much for them to worry. There are also some books that might help. They are the big book of families, two homes and also the big book of feelings. Might help in the coming weeks for the smaller ones. Good luck op. flowers

MadamePomfrey Sat 20-May-17 23:46:12

You love them and your honest with them in an appropriate way for their age flowers. There is no right way there are no magic words i was older than your dc when my parents split but the only thing I would warn against Is promising to much. We can't know what the the future holds and I can only speak personally but my parents promised to be friends, promised to do Christmas and birthdays but over the years it all fell by the wayside. Every case is different and you and you exdh may be able to keep going for the dc but my parents couldn't and every broken promise was new upset and new hurt! Just listen to them and keep reassuring them of your love for them! Also and from what you have written I'm sure you won't but no competition they will accept things in the long run but it all takes time, and letting them feel what they feel on that day in the meantime lots of flowerscakewine for you

FeedMeAndTellMeImPretty Sat 20-May-17 23:46:31

It seems really unfair that you and the DCs have to move out to live with your parents and your H gets to keep the house as he is the higher earner. Have you spoken to a solicitor?

XH and I split 6 years ago and in order to cause the minimum disruption, he has kept his name on the mortgage, although I make all the payments, which means that he can't get himself a mortgage but is happy to rent, especially as his needs are less than myself and the DCs.

Kids are resilient and will adapt to all sorts of changes, but if you both have the DCs' best interests at heart I'm sure you can find a way for them to stay in their home, at least until they are used to the new situation, rather than losing their home and family unit at the same time.

No doubt you will all be happier in time, but this is a crucial time for them to come to terms with the change and your H should really be doing all he can to help smooth the way.

Whathappensnowthen Sat 20-May-17 23:58:51

We have tried to find another way of doing things re accommodation, but the problem is that my childcare costs are £1,300 per month and I only work part time. That is more than half my salary and I can't afford to rent anywhere without claiming tax credits. I did apply, but got turned down because I still live with my husband. We can't afford to pay the mortgage on this house and rent somewhere as well, and with me being refused a mortgage the only thing I could do was move to my parents. Luckily they have a bigger house, but it will still mean 3 children in one room and me & toddler in another. It's not ideal, but the only way I can claim any assistance apparently.

I will definitely let the school/nursery/childminder know and we've said to the children that they can ask any questions, not to bottle things up etc. My eldest has Tourette's and is quite an emotional child - he seems totally floored 😞

SuiteHarmony Sun 21-May-17 00:52:50

Um. I can't believe your ExH is such a prick to witness you and the children having to up sticks TO YOUR PARENTS while he remains in the house. Have I read this correctly??

I really hope the financial value of him buying you out has been reviewed by your solicitor. This sounds like a rush job to me.

Whathappensnowthen Sun 21-May-17 06:50:57

But I've already explained why we have to do it this way Suite - it's hardly his fault I can't get a mortgage!

The only alternative would have been to sell the property and split the proceeds 50:50, but then neither of us would be able to afford to stay in the local area and the children would completely lose the only house they've ever known. If I can't afford to take the house on myself, surely him staying put is the next best thing?

Either way, I am really looking for practical advice regarding helping young children through the breakdown of their parents' marriage. Slagging my husband off does not really fall into that category.

RueDeDay Sun 21-May-17 07:04:01

You and the kids should be staying in the marital home. He should be moving out and helping pay the mortgage.

Believeitornot Sun 21-May-17 07:08:48

Speak to a solicitor first before you do anything like move. My dcs were upset aboutmoving house and we weren't splitting up.
Living with your parents will be a temp solution anyway. You'll have to move again...?

If you go through a solicitor then you can get financial assistance from your ex H?

You sound like you've got a good job if your salary is twice childcare. So what about upping hours to keep the house just until the childcare costs come down?

Whathappensnowthen Sun 21-May-17 07:45:25

Thank you for your input, but I'm really not looking for housing advice. I spent a long period of time looking into and researching options and this was he only way. I earn too much to be considered the poor hard-done-by woman, it's just that, with 4 dependents, the sums are a little tricky.

I can't up my hours at work as I have an hour's commute each way to work and there is an 18 month waiting list with my childminder to increase my hours with her.

peoplepleaser70 Sun 21-May-17 07:56:55

Me and my 2 dc moved to my parents house last Friday, very similar circumstances. Funnily enough the kids have been excited! And seen it as an adventure... we got new bedding and I did stress that it is temporary and we will be looking for a new house and they are excited about that and how we can decorate it as we want etc. My xdp will I having them 50/50 so I think that has helped as our house will still very much be there home. I just keep trying to be positive and making lots of exciting future plans. It is very hard and mine are 7 and 10 and seem to have taken it very matter of fact- the split has been very amicable and no arguing beforehand etc, we have just grown apart. When we told them, I made sure they knew the plan straight away - when we would move, what days they would see daddy etc. It's very early days of course but I am taking one day at a time. You will be ok and the dc will top 💐

HipsterRaccoon Sun 21-May-17 07:58:03

Um, I know this isn't what you're asking but have you seen a solicitor who has told you this is the only option? You shouldn't be solely responsible for childcare, housing the children, etc - this continues to be a shared expense. If your husband moved out you would still qualify for tax credits.

MrsBertBibby Sun 21-May-17 08:02:38

Please see a solicitor. How can you say you have researched all options if you haven't done that?

thethoughtfox Sun 21-May-17 08:05:20

Don't physically move out and get advice now. Please. Once you are out I believe he will have more of a claim on the house. You shouldn't be paying all the childcare costs either. It should be split. This doesn't make sense.

dodgydonkeysdoodah Sun 21-May-17 08:08:27

They're his dependents too! The sums need to work for everyone and he priority should be a decent roof over his kids' heads. I too am a little hmm at the idea of him in a largish house on his own while you and four kids move in to your parents' modest home.
Surely it would make more sense for you to stay in the house even if he takes on paying the mortgage? Could he not rent a room somewhere else, and as it sounds like you're on reasonable terms, perhaps he could "move back in" when it's "his" weekend while you go to your parents' house and leave him and the kids to it. If you walk away from the house and let him put it in his name, you have nothing for five of you, while he has a comfortable house for one. It just doesn't make sense to me.

BeepBeepMOVE Sun 21-May-17 08:12:22

Sell the house.

barrygetamoveonplease Sun 21-May-17 08:17:57

Backtrack on your promise of 'still doing birthdays and Christmas as a family'. It won't happen - or it won't happen consistently. Or it's unlikely. Or I'm a cynic. Or I've been around long enough to know these good intentions rarely last.

See a solicitor for proper advice. In my day, you'd have been entitled to stay in the marital home until the youngest was 18, and the father would have had to contribute. Goodness knows what the situation is nowadays.

flibberdee Sun 21-May-17 08:17:59

OP, please could you confirm that you've seen a solicitor and this is what they've advised. Then maybe posters will move on and go back to your original request - support to aid transition for your Dc

If you haven't seen a solicitor, then it's a different story

KarmaNoMore Sun 21-May-17 08:18:01

OP, stop the sell and go to see a solicitor. Your childcare costs should not be used only for your mortgage application even if the children live with you as they are also your husband's responsibility and he should contribute to the expenses.

Call tax credits again, as long as you are not doing things for each other as if you were together (like cooking for him, etc) you count as living apart of each other. There are thousands of people in the same situation that you are and they still get tax credits.

Try to talk to an independent mortgage advisor as well, as there are some lenders who will be happy to consider your earnings, tax credits, maintenance, etc as income for mortgage affordability calculations.

I really finding bewildering how many people are taking advantage of by their ex partners/spouse, just because they wanted to do things cheaply or not get into an argument.

Fight your corner OP, if this guy is happy t see you disadvantaged because having the children work against your finances, you are already with a crap individual who wouldn't care for the welfare of his children at all, whichever way you want to see it. You are the only one who can protect the interests of your kids, STOP his nonsense, don't sign or agree to anything until you have talked to a solicitor.

IF you don't have much money for a solicitor, get the Which? Guide to Divorce from Amazon. A few hours spent reading it can save you £1000s in solicitors fees and prevent you from doing a lot of stupid mistakes and assumptions.

flibberdee Sun 21-May-17 08:19:07

Also, the whole keeping the house as it's the only house the kids have known thing is a moot point. Kids don't give a shit about bricks and mortar, it's thr parents who are sentimental about things like that. Kids would get over it pretty quickly imo.

EezerGoode Sun 21-May-17 08:22:21

Your husband is a fucking twat..a decent man moves out and pays the mortgage while you live there with the kids...they still loose their home if they move out to yr parents...how can you support that...refuse to move out..get all the help you can and make him pay the mortgage till the youngest turns 18...

Sofabitch Sun 21-May-17 08:24:29

You absolutly shpuld not be moving out.

You don't need to buy him out. Please get leagal advice. Yoy can get all sorts of agreements where you get to stay. A friend of mine stays but has to buy out or sell when the last child leaves home or she gets remarried.
Her ex still has to pay half the mortgage.

Kids are resilient. But your ex should be the adult here ans be the one to move out.

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