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My marriage just ended - need practical advice

(41 Posts)
ChangingStates Thu 26-Oct-17 23:19:38

My (13 year) marriage ended this evening. It's been a long time coming, not horribly acrimonious or abusive, no affair, just dead. The words ending it were his but could've been mine - I have it in me to work at it but he has no interest. I know I am going to feel a whole heap of things but right now I need to get practical! Sorry this may be long...

I just don't know what to do right now. Because there's no one shit thing or horrible argument no one neither of us is kicking the other out. We both believe shared care is the best way forward for the kids and us . He is proposing we buy a second property, the kids stay in the family home and we swap in and out of the second property and the family home so we each live half the week with them and half the week in the other property. I can see this is probably the easiest transition for the kids, has anyone tried it? We do ok financially but this is going to put huge strain and is also not a quick thing - it takes ages to buy a property, are we meant to live together until then? Have any of you continued to live in the house together after breaking up - was it manageable....?

Both of us earn ok salaries, not by any means rich but enough as a couple not to have to worry about day to day things and to have a nice holiday a year. He takes home more - same as me plus a quarter/third on top, we have some savings.

I am really worried about the kids, eldest dd is 10 and all over the place with hormones, starting to be quite defiant etc but under it all is a real softie, i am scared about how much impact this will have on her, and dd2 who is 7. I don't want to break their hearts.

Don't know what I am asking really , just blurting out random thoughts- do we see a mediator? a financial advisor? should I ask him to move out, should I, do we rent somewhere and start shared care straight away - should we keep on living together for a while while we sort things out?

Don't expect anyone to have any answers just need to vent as won't speak to friends/family until tomorrow. I am not feeling as strong and ok as I am being.

Myheartbelongsto Thu 26-Oct-17 23:43:23

Hugs to you op x

My best advice to you is to protect yourself. Get your financials in order. It will give you something to focus on and you'll be glad you did it.

Your loyalties now are you and your children.

TheOriginalFactoryMum Thu 26-Oct-17 23:44:37

Sorry you are facing this - my own situation five years ago with children about the same ages. I don’t think the shared care solution in the way proposed is a good option at all. You are two individuals who have been together and made a family but now you think it’s time to be apart; that means developing your own lives, spaces etc and this would be impossible if you were shuttling between the former marital home and a rented ‘other space’. When my husband left he rented a small house and the kids started staying there from the off - we just said at the time that we weren’t getting on and would be having our own houses, we both loved them and that wouldn’t change, we would both spend time with them. It was different from you in that my ex had an affair but tbh all that had killed the relationship so it was a relief when he left. We have managed to be (mostly) amicable and the kids spend one night in the week and one at weekends with him, all fairly flexible though as he only lives a few miles away. I stayed in the marital home but have completely restored-decorated and moved stuff around so it feels like mine and when he comes round he knocks at the door and waits!

The kids have been mostly fine - the most important thing has been that we can be amicable, go to parents evening together etc but now have completely different and separate adult lives. I have a new partner who is adorable (we don’t live together) and life is so much better than in a dead marriage. I honestly believe it’s better for my girls too as I am happier and they have the security of their childhood home and plenty of time with their dad, bedrooms at his house and so on.

You need to think about what you want - before you know it your kids will be teenagers, independent and ready for their own adult lives. They can cope now with a bit of upheaval as long as it’s made clear to them what’s happening and that they are loved by both of you.

Myheartbelongsto Thu 26-Oct-17 23:50:01

Absolutely do not buy a second house with him. He wants out so is selling this rose tinted version of separation, possibly to soften the blow.

I have also have a 10 year old daughter who has recently become quite defiant. Do you get time on your own with your daughter? I found this really helpful. She is cheeky less and when she is she will come to me to apologise when she has calmed down. I've asked her why she has become cheeky and defiant and she says I don't know, I can't help myself. I imagine its hormones too. I also have a 9 year old dd and 2 boys 11 and 12. Lord help me!

I understand why you would want to live a week in week out but at some point that will having to end so better to pull the plaster off and start how you mean to go on.

Saffronwblue Fri 27-Oct-17 00:00:35

I know a couple who did this. Took turns to stay in family home with dc or in a little flat nearby. I think it prolonged the agony for everyone and really stopped both parents from getting into the next stage of their lives. It somehow kept the intimacy of marriage a bit alive as they left food for each other in the fridge, brought in washing etc. I would gently suggest a more formal separation into mum's house and dad's house.

ChangingStates Fri 27-Oct-17 04:35:11

Thank you so much for replying, I am up with head going round & round. Factorymum it was really reassuring to read your story and how positive you feel, and that your kids survived. We both want to be amicable and to co-parent, he wants full shared care though so I think probable a 3-4 split each week.

Myheartbelongs- do you have any specific advice on the financials? Apart from shared big things like the house money is separate, own bank accounts with a shared one we both put into & bills. I do not really have a clear idea of what he has, openness around money was one of our issues!

I can see how his suggestion is more stable for the kids than them spending half a week in one house, half a week in the other, I can see it prolonging the agony as you say Saffron. I have already said it stops us moving on and is messy & tangled for us, he tells me I’ve already made my mind up what I want (he is worried about ending up “in a bedsit seeing kids once a week because this is what happens to dads”). Asked him to go away for the weekend so I have some space but he doesn’t want to because it’s ‘symbolic’ hmm

Can I ask how quickly you and your ex’s actually physically separated, so him moving out or you?
Another looooong post, sorry,

Ilovetolurk Fri 27-Oct-17 06:55:44

Don't agree to anything yet OP re shared care or housing - it's all too soon

You may find financially to maintain the house as your children's home you need a bigger share of assets. With 50:50 shared care you may not get maintenance

Take your time, obtain all your financial info, ask to see his, see a solicitor when you're ready

Based on some of your comments he may already have done so

HipToBeSquare Fri 27-Oct-17 07:13:06

What happens when either of you meet someone? I have a friend who does 50% shared care but his ds goes to his house during this time so shared care can work but sharing that space with your ex is a very bad idea.

As pp said with this set up you'll get very little if any maintenance so you'll need to make sure you can survive financially on your wage.

PastaOfMuppets Fri 27-Oct-17 07:27:14

He's doing this to have minimal affect on his own lifestyle and to pay no maintenance or child support.

Yes he might want a smooth split for the sake of the children however this will prolong it, be expensive and you'll never feel as if you have your own home.

If he doesn't want to live in a bedsit then he just needs to find something bigger so he doesn't end up in a bloody bedsit! Men get small places because they cry broke when providing maintenance/cs (showing he thinks it'll be cheaper on him if you both are equally paying for two houses rather than him paying for the family residence plus his place), and to minimise demands for lots of contact (if he wants equal contact he can just find a larger place).

I'd be worried for you that it's officially ended and he is refusing to even give you a weekend without him there to allow you to process it all. He knows not to leave and make it easier to show he doesn't really want equal access to children and family home.

You sound a bit in shock but he sounds like he's thought it through for a while, come up with a solid plan, and now wants a show of 'fair family man doing his best by his kids' when he's trying to force what he wants on a vulnerable woman.

Good luck flowers

ChangingStates Fri 27-Oct-17 07:48:02

I think I am in shock, even though it’s been heading this way for ages. I am very much a ‘focus on the practical’ type of person as a way of trying to keep control but to be honest I slept badly and am tired and messy this morning.

Thanks for the warnings, interesting that you think he has already seen a solicitor. He is bullish and will try to push me into what he wants and I am uber-reasonable about everything usually- going to have to change that I guess!

So next step- a solicitor? A financial advisor so I understand what I can and can’t afford? I expect both of these are expensive too

SandyY2K Fri 27-Oct-17 07:54:24

It's not good for both of you moving in and out of the house and the second property. It means you don't have your own 100% space. Would you use the same bedroom at the second place?

A formal separation is better and provides clarity .... but I guess I can see it from his POV too.

If you bought him out avdvhe used the money for a new place that would be an option.

I'm just curious ... you say you have it in you to work at it? Had anything been done to work at it all this time? Did you both ever discuss the state of the marriage and consider professional help like counselling?

ChangingStates Fri 27-Oct-17 10:14:26

Thanks for the reply Sandy, yes we have had direct conversations in the last couple of years but I find him defensive & closed and he finds me attacking! We found a couples therapist and went weekly for about six months but to be honest I feel like he already knew he didn’t want the relationship to go anywhere so continued to be defensive and snippy in the sessions and we ended them because he said he felt like the therapist was taking my side. That was 3 months ago, downhill since that really.

ChangingStates Fri 27-Oct-17 10:15:58

I don’t mean physically attacking btw, just persistent with the questions and talk!

Bluebell878275 Fri 27-Oct-17 10:54:30

I've heard the second house scenario working for some, I think it depends on the personalities and the reasons for the break-up. I couldn't do it personally. Even if the break is amicable I would need my own space and would want to feel free about potentially meeting someone new later down the line.

As for the comments about not allowing 50/50 as you'll miss out on maintenance and the implication that he is not genuine in his want for living with his own children - quite disgusting really. Perhaps he has already sort advice, many women on here are advised to do so before having the separation conversation with their partners. It's different because he's a man?

Anyway, you know him better than us OP. You'll probably go through a grieving process after the shock. Perhaps not because of the loss of 'him' but because sometimes endings are just a sad thing. You'll be fine - you sound like you have a good head on your shoulders.

SandyY2K Fri 27-Oct-17 12:40:12

Sometimes people do therapy as a tick box exercise really.... their mind is made up and they just want to show 'they tried '.

With separation I'd want my own space. Not my Ex also being a resident. Especially when you both wabt to meet new partners. Doubt need to see the new GFs stuff hanging around or get tied to another mortgage when you may wish to buy a place with a new partner.

Make it a clean break.

The children will get used to going between homes.

StormTreader Fri 27-Oct-17 12:46:11

Maybe Im being too cynical, but I suspect he is imagining a lovely situation for him where he leaves you with a pigsty and piles of dirty washing twice a week, and then moves back into the clean tidy other house where youve spent half the week sorting it all out...

Tearsofthemushroom Fri 27-Oct-17 12:55:45

Two days after my STBXH told me he was leaving me we went to see a Relate counsellor. She was really helpful in that it gave us a bit of time to talk through what had gone wrong, but also about how we would move forward with the relationship and what we needed to think about. She was not afraid to voice when she had a concern. I think that it made a huge difference in the way we were then able to approach telling the kids and starting to move on with our lives.

PhilODox Fri 27-Oct-17 13:01:25

Do not share two homes with him- you will have double the work!
Find a permanent second home, so each of you have somewhere of your own and the children have two homes, even if that means selling the marital home and both moving.

Desmondo2016 Fri 27-Oct-17 13:01:31

Definitely do not buy the second house. A resounding theme in all the answers. The kids will adjust to two homes. Do not let him paint the rosy picture of perfect shared care. It will not work out like that. Work out what YOU think is best and fight for it. Do not be so strung up on the guilt that you forget to ensure your own stability. This may be the end of the marriage but it is the start of the next phase of your lives so you need to ensure you are free to live it as you wish, not be tied to him.

Oly5 Fri 27-Oct-17 13:08:29

I rhink you’d be better selling the family home and having two homes where the kids can stay. I’m disgusted that anyone should think he shouldn’t get 50/50 shared care. He obviously loves his kids and wants to be in their lives for 50% of the time. He should be applauded for that, it’s wonderful. And he’s right that many dads end up in bedsits seeing their kids once a week. It’s wrong.
I think you should split the assets and get a smaller home each. The kids will survive. And stay friendly over these arrangements. Like you said, the marriage was just dead, nobody has tried to be horrible to the other

HouseworkIsAPain Fri 27-Oct-17 13:20:51

I agree with others - do not agree to the two home situation.

When I split from ex, he moved into a one bed flat. The DC stayed with him in bunk beds and he had a sofa bed in living room. He moved on to a 2bed which made things easier again.

At first, DC stayed with him twice a week - one weekday (wed) and either the Fri night/all day Saturday, or Saturday night/all day Sunday. We did try 50/50 case but it didn’t suit the DC, they felt they were moving between houses too much. So ex used to come and put the DC to bed on a Monday night so he could see them a bit more - he has stopped this since finding a girlfriend/getting remarried.

It really helped the DC staying in the family home with me but it’s not essential - I think they would have settled elsewhere. What has worked is that they see us as two seperate households but both homes belonging to them. If they stay in one place and you and ex move in and out, this could be confusing for them - I think they’ll still see you as a family unit and hoping to go back to how it was. Whereas mum and dad clearly having seperate homes would be more definite. And what happens when either of you find someone else - how will you feel going to stay in a house where ex has been having sex with someone else? If she starts leaving bits in the bathroom etc? This will happen at some point and one of you will want to move on - so you just end up delaying the inevitable and risking more hurt for the DC in future.

The one thing I have learnt from divorcing is that it’s imperative to look after yourself so you can look after the children. Get legal advice and full financial disclosure from him as part of the divorce.

I know 50/50 is seen as the ideal for DC, but ime my DC have been better with a settled main home to sleep in (mine) with very regular contact with the other parent. We also try to be very flexible so that we can do things with DC at weekends, e.g. swapping for family events, ex takes DC to birthday parties, they have play dates at both homes etc.

ChangingStates Fri 27-Oct-17 17:46:07

Wow lots of replies since I last checked, it’s really helpful to read all your different stories and I guess the best bit is how you all give the impression that life is better out the other side- something to look forward to... have reached the same conclusion about the sharing 2 homes, good to have it affirmed by so many.

Today I have decided a few things but plan to let them sit in my head over the weekend.

1. See a mediator together, full financial disclosure
2. See a financial advisor together to look at options- do we need to sell, can one buy the other out? How much could each borrow to finance a new home.
3. I do not want to do the sharing 2 properties and moving in and out of the family home however may consider this for the very short term with a rented property while we buy/sell whatever
4. Do want share care, best for children I think, at least initially and as I work full time with some long hours will also be helpful for me.
5. My dream scenario is both to own properties that are both decent homes for the children, however live in London so extremely unlikely!

Anyone know if mediators have a finance background so could kill 2 birds with one stone? And any advice on how to find a decent (cheap) one?

Desmondo2016 Fri 27-Oct-17 20:24:56

I wouldn't be paying for financial advice at this stage. Your own bank amd the solicitors should be able to give sufficient advice between them as to what you will be able to borrow etc and it's just a case of playing with numbers.. selling up and splitting the equity or one buying the other out. Unless you have massive financial investments I can't see why you need yo pay for financial advice at this stage.

ChangingStates Fri 27-Oct-17 21:02:19

Thanks Desmondo, hadn’t really thought about a solicitor yet- thought at this point the aim was to reach an agreement together and go for mediation if need help with that. I obviously have stuff to learn!

HeddaGarbled Fri 27-Oct-17 21:22:23

The point of seeing the solicitor is to understand what is legally reasonable/standard before going into mediation. They will think about things that you may not have thought of e.g. pension division. Once you know what your position is in law, you can go into mediation fully informed and confident that you aren't going to be duped or bullied into an agreement which leaves you at a disadvantage.

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