Mu husband recently walked out on our 20 year marriage. I haven't worked for a few years so relied on his income. He currently pays the joint mortgage and i still have use of the joint credit card. What are the first steps I should now be taking rather than sitting crying all day and waiting for him to make the next move as he is in control of everything? He is being so defensive since he left and is not willing to discuss our relationship, only practical stuff?
Hello Flic and welcome to wiki, although I'm sorry to read what's happened. I'd say you need to work on the financial issues was soon as possible. Yes, it's distressing and crying is a natural response, but when you feel up to it, it's important to think about your financial survival.
Make a plan:
Assess your situation financially, look at your resources to see what your options are in terms of housing and getting a job. Is there a reason why you haven't worked for some time?
Book a free consultation with a high street lawyer and get an overview of where you stand. Enlist the help of a relative or friend to go with you as it can be a lot to take in.
It doesn't matter who contributed what to the purchase, the former matrimonial home is usually considered a joint asset. Do you have dependent children? The priority when sharing assets would be their welfare, in particular for a roof over their heads.
20 years is a long marriage and there is a duty for spouses to maintain one another. If you are left suffering undue hardship and your husband has disposable income after meeting his own living costs you may be able to claim spouse maintenance or at least maintenance to tide you over until the finances are settled.
A solicitor is the best person to advise you where you stand and what your options are, but take some time to read posts in the Forum and in the guides.
Ask for help. You need a small support group of people who will provide you with support. Friends don't often know how to help, but will respond if you ask.
Do read Runaway Husbands by Vikki Stark. She explains a lot of the feelings you will be experiencing. I felt as though she had written it just for me, and you will recognise yourself on the pages.
Lastly, be brave. Lean on others at home and on us wikis who will be happy to support you.