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Can someone please talk me through the divorce/mediation process, my head feels like mush...

18 replies

Oddsox2 · 30/01/2013 11:34

Hi everyone

After finally deciding that my marriage is well and truly over and my husband is not going to change, I saw a solicitor yesterday for an hour to try and get my head around the next step.

I must admit though I feel more confused than when I went in. She was very adamamant that I shouldn't be bullied by my husband into anything finanacially. Which I do agree with, he is controlling and bullyish so I know she is right there.

However, it's the next steps I don't really understand. She feels that Formal Separation is pointless in our instance as the marriage is well and truly dead in the water and because we have a DS aged 5, Divorce would give me a more secure "financial settlement".

At the moment we are all still living in the same house, she has advised that I stay there, my husband won't move out which I understand, but obviously it's not the best of atmospheres...

She used the word "mediation" a lot, and thinks this would be helpful, particulalry to me so that I don't get rail roaded into accepting less than I deserve.

It's the next bit that I really don't understand.... Do I petition for divorce now and then ask for mediation? Do I warn my husband that I am going to, or just let him receive a divorce petition in the post (at our joint address!!!) - the thought of his reaction absolutely terrifies me...!

Will mediators help us to decide what we are both entitled to? And do I need to petition for divorce before we can see a mediator????

I am ever so confused...

Financially, it's pretty straight forward:

We have a joint mortgage with some equity in the house.
We have a company whereby he owns 60%, I own 40%.
We have a family car which I use but is in his name.
I have no savings or ISAS etc, I do have a small pension.
He has a small amount of savings and a Pension.

That's it really.

If anyone has been down this road and could shed a little light for me I'd be ever so grateful as I just feel sick about it all at the moment, and that in itself is making me have a wobble...!!!

Thank you

OP posts:
Oddsox2 · 30/01/2013 11:36

This is my previous message for a little background...

Thank you xxx

OP posts:
CogitoErgoSometimes · 30/01/2013 11:43

I think if you're with someone who you describe as a controlling bully you need to be careful. Is he likely to get aggressive, for example? Is he likely to be cooperative?

Ideally what you'd do is advise him that you'll be starting the divorce, get the papers going, then go to mediation where you will both agree a fair division of assets, access to children, timescales for actions.... etc. That's in an ideal world. The more you can decide between you, the less that has to be argued between lawyers, the cheaper and quicker it tends to be. That's how I divorced and it was relatively painless.


If you fear any kind of aggression you need to put safety first and if you think he's likely to be obstructive or uncooperative then mediation may be a waste of time or you could end up agreeing to something that is not strictly in your favour simply to get it over with. In which case, even though it takes longer and is more expensive, putting more things in the hands of your solicitors can save you a lot of anxiety.

feelokaboutit · 30/01/2013 11:49

Oddsox2, sorry you are going through this Sad. I wonder about this as well as my h and I really have so many problems that I have almost got to the point where I think the only thing I can do is call it a day. He too can be verbally aggressive and I cannot imagine, in a million years, staying in the same house as him while telling him I want to divorce and trying to reach some kind of agreement with him. He will just tell me to f* off and get on with it. This however leaves me in the position of having to leave the family home and rent somewhere but it will then look to my children (even if I take them with me for 50% of the time let's say) that I am abandoning them and may even look like this to the courts???

Sorry to hijack, but I do understand and am looking forward to the answers which you will get.

Oddsox2 · 30/01/2013 11:51

Thank you.

Yes he can be all of those things.... that's why my stomach is in knots to be honest.

I'm hoping that I can do what you said first, let him know that this is it and this is the next step and hope that he will be sensible and co-operative...

I will soon know if he's not willing to do this.

It's just the thought of it getting nasty and messy whilst we both have to live together with DS is really worrying me, communicating through lawyers whilst living under the same roof????


OP posts:
Oddsox2 · 30/01/2013 11:53

Hi feelokaboutit - feel free to hijack, it's comforting to know I'm not the only one. (although I really wouldn't wish this on you hun).

My solicitor told me yesterday that it is to my advantage to stay in the family home until a Financial Package is agreed upon, this may be because ultimately I may be able to keep the house I think...

But like you, I know that it's going to be hellish. She did say from start to finish we are talking 10 months. I keep telling myself 10 months of hell for a lifetime of happiness.....that's got to be worth fighting for....


OP posts:
CogitoErgoSometimes · 30/01/2013 13:00

Your solicitor may be advising what is your best advantage legally/financially/materially but, if you're looking at 10 months of 'hell', then you are quite entitled to reject her advice in the interests of making a clean break and also having peace of mind. Divorce is nasty enough even when everyone's amicable. Don't make yourself ill just to please your lawyer.

CogitoErgoSometimes · 30/01/2013 13:01

"This however leaves me in the position of having to leave the family home and rent somewhere but it will then look to my children (even if I take them with me for 50% of the time let's say) that I am abandoning them and may even look like this to the courts???"

That's not at all how it would look. How old are your children?

Diarydilemmas · 30/01/2013 13:21

You are in a difficult position for sure. After a quick glance at your other thread, are you divorcing him on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour? One thing I was not prepared for (naive) was the fact I had to provide a written statement of what his unreasonable behaviour was before the divorce papers could be served and he got a copy of what I had written.

I didn't live with him at the time, but it didn't go down well. I'm not trying to scare you. Just a little heads up. I don't know if you should tell him beforehand. If there is any threat to yourself or violence, call the police immediately. I made the mistake of not doing this and it has come back to bite me on the bum!

Mediation is started after the divorce papers are served, in order to agree on a financial settlement. Generally it's you and him in a room with 1 or 2 mediators. Full disclosure of all monies/pensions/house valuations, etc are required. You are both charged a fee based on your earnings for going through the mediation process. It took us about 3 sessions to agree on a settlement. I think I paid about £100+ per session.

Good luck and it will be worth it in the end. Stand firm, take advice, ask questions and do not move out of that house.

feelokaboutit · 30/01/2013 13:47

Cogito, they are 6, 8 and 11 Sad.

Oddsox2 · 30/01/2013 17:03

Diary dilemmas thankyou for the advice.

The biggest the problem I have is that he won't leave the house and I am desperate to keep the house for my son, we are in a village, his school is down the road, his friends are the village kids.

I am pretty sure that by the time we've sat down and worked out what my husband would have to give me, it would be more than enough to buy him out of the house.

But this is so emotive, I don't know how to broach the subject with him, and he is point blankly refusing to leave...

So do I just dive in and go straight for divorce nod mediation in the hope they reach the same conclusion as me.....?

Thankyou x

OP posts:
Lovingfreedom · 30/01/2013 17:13

Get a good solicitor and take their advice.

Diarydilemmas · 30/01/2013 17:57

Don't try to negotiate with him. Leave it to your respective solicitors.

In your opening post you say your finances are fairly straight forward. That may not be the case. My ex-h part owns a family business (different from your scenario as I had no shares in it) but after mediation he agreed I could have the house if I didn't push to get his family business valued and try to make a claim on it. We did a transfer of equity on the house so that meant basically his name is no longer on the deeds and the mortgage is in my sole name. His business is worth a lot of money but I wasn't interested in that, I just wanted a home for me and the DCs.

My old Co-op pension turned out to be worth more than his private pension. That surprised me.

Start the divorce. That's the first step.

Diarydilemmas · 30/01/2013 18:00

Meant to say his refusing to leave issue will be addressed during mediation. For now, you'll have to stick it out.

Do not leave the house. Really, don't.

Any threat of violence, fears for your safety, report, report, report.

You can do this. x

LittleEdie · 30/01/2013 18:22

My advice would be to see more than one solicitor before you make a decision.

madgered · 30/01/2013 19:37

I'm in the same situation as you re the house. we've both been advised to stay in the house and it's HELL.

I've asked him to respect my peace and to leave me alone to get over the marriage and get myself used to being a single mother. He's left the marriage. he's respected that and keeps out of the way. I put it down in an email and forwarded it to our respective solicitors. I don't prepare meals for him only for myself and DCs. I don't do anything for him anymore.

the only problem, until recently, is that he's started sending me angry emails accusing me of turning the DCs against him etc. so I've blocked him.

we only communicate when necessary. the DC seem unaffected because the house is calm.

I wonder how I'm going to cope with this situation. but everyday seems a little better and I'm starting to get into a new rhythm. weekends can be tricky.

we haven't reached the mediation point yet. still getting all our financial bits together. good luck xx

Oddsox2 · 30/01/2013 19:42

Madgered that sounds very similar to us...

And how you've described your home life is pretty much mine at the moment!

Have you started divorce proceedings yet? If so, how did your H take it?


OP posts:
feelokaboutit · 30/01/2013 22:01

Am going to sound naive, but why do so many solicitors advise to stay in the house? I suppose it makes division of assets easier etc... because a new status quo hasn't been established, same with mother or father staying in the house with kids because they are used to this.

However, I am sure there must be lots of mothers (in this instance since I am one) who have left with the kids so to speak (not abducting them) and then what happens to the house (ie. it is sold) happens later?

Because, not in a month of Sundays am I going to be able to mentally stand living with h if we are getting divorced. I have been through lots of periods when, after an argument, he has stopped talking (for weeks and weeks) and am going through this at the moment. Just that is awful and I feel ill. Getting divorced and me staking a claim on what he sees as his would be a hundred times worse Sad.

Oddsox2, 10 months of hell does sound hard. Why isn't there a better system??
Still, you sound as if you have got your head round the fact that this needs to happen rather than me who is languishing in a sea of doubt, which is worse in a way. Do you have family and friends nearby who you can rely on for support?

madgered · 30/01/2013 22:39

it is a cruel situation for both parties. I agree there should be a more gentle system.

Oddsox2 I started divorce proceedings in September when he told me that he wanted out of the marriage. I don't think he expected me to. I went to a solicitor recommended to me and he sent off the petition to DHs solicitors.

then we got back together again and it was on/off until just before Christmas, when he told me that he wanted a divorce again, after we had an argument over a New Years Eve party.

So I started the proceedings again £2500.00 later. I really tried to make the marriage work because the reasons he was giving me for wanting to leave really didn't make any sense at all. it seemed a bit pathetic.

But on Boxing Day I got my hands on his phone and saw some texts he sent to another woman and discovered that he had given her an expensive bracelet for Christmas. Everything made sense. He had been seeing her since September at least, I'm sure it's longer. I saw the bigger picture and all sorts of things started to fall into place. I decided there and then that I had to get rid of this man. I don't speak to him at all about the divorce, because it gets nasty. I will only do it through the process.

It seems to be taking forever! we've handed in our financial details, I've filled in what I could of my personal expenses and children's expenses and now I'm waiting to hear what will happen next.

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