I have a read a number of posts on here, some pertinent to my situation and some not and I can see that what I thought was a relatively straight forward decision to leave my partner and start again is going to be anything but.
I feel some background to our situation would be useful but be warned this will be a long post!
We currently run our own business employing her sister and best friend who also live with us. I say “we” but the reality is my wife runs the business while I stay at home with our young (15 months old) daughter.
My situation is somewhat unusual in that one of the main problems with our marriage is that we have had various relatives or friends of my wife’s living with us for 8 out of the 9 years we’ve been married. This issue is compounded by the fact that my wife is not British and culturally, having other family members living with us is not considered by her as a problem. It has not helped what I would imagine are the normal lines of communication, leaving me feeling isolated and alone.
I have tried on numerous occasions to speak to my wife about these problems, emphasising the need for us to spend more time together as a family, using the one day a week she is not working to go out on day trips etc but all to no avail. By way of an example I suggested we take our daughter to the seaside for a day trip and possibly stay over in an hotel for the night. My wife agreed this would be a good thing but on the day her sister and best friend decided they wanted to come as well. I was furious but my wife just said they wanted to come and she couldn’t tell them no.
I have decided, after much soul searching, that I want to leave and get a divorce. If I’m honest I have only stayed on for the sake of our daughter.
I can stay at my sister’s house until I sort out my own place and as she has a daughter a few months older than mine it would seem an ideal interim solution as my wife would find it difficult to look after our baby girl as she is needed at the business
I suppose the dilemma is this – even though I am her main carer is it fair to take my daughter out of her normal home environment and is it fair to my niece to have her cousin intrude on her home space? They have met on several occasions but this would be something very different.
There are of course numerous other issues to sort out and I would hope for my daughter’s sake that we would end up sharing residency but there is a very good chance my wife will fight me tooth and nail to have full custody with the inherent danger that she would take her to her country of origin and therefore “out of the jurisdiction”.
My head is spinning with the all of this. I have tried to be objective but I know there are two sides to every story and anyone reading this is only getting my side. Any advice/thoughts would be gratefully received.
I know how you feel, my ex and I were both very independent and past each other like ships in the night. The trouble is divorce tends to replace one set of problems with another set and it really is worth trying to resolve matters if at all possible, especially for your daughter.
You and your wife could try counselling together with a view to improving communication and hopefully getting back on track or, if it didn't work out, separating in a non confrontational way. Perhaps you both need to assert your needs more and listen to each other. Is there no way the sister and best friend could live somewhere else?
I have drafted several replies to this, mainly detailing all the efforts I've made in the past to try and improve communications, using self improvement theories to try and stop myself getting so upset etc but in the end it boils down to this.
I want to leave and start a new life for all sorts of reasons.
I understand that the best thing for our child (but not for me or my mental health) is to stay, but what about the second best? If I go and take her with me am I risking any future (shared) residency claims?
If I go without her ditto.
Also what about the effects on her? Is she going to be really stressed to be taken out of her home environment?
As I mentioned I am her main carer so atm I'm thinking it would be least stressful for her to come with me but is that correct?.
My sister insits her daughter would have no problem adjusting to another child coming in to her home, however temporarily.
And no there's no chance of her sister or friend moving out, in fact it's the reverse as she's now talking about at least one other person moving in the near future.
The usual legal advice is to stay put until a settlement has been reached. In my experience it's better to be up front and try to negotiate arrangements no matter how tough. Also it's useful to think what it would be like being in the other party's shoes, or better still imagine how you would want your child to be treated if they are ever unfortunate enough to be in the position of your partner. Moving children around at a stressful time isn't ideal, but neither is remaining in a bad atmosphere for months on end.
I can see no reason why residency can't be shared or why fathers can't be the main carer, but for developmental reasons it's important your D's primary attachment is maintained. To this end it is usual for very young children to stay with one parent and see the other frequently for short periods.
I rang them when I first split up and they gave me some valauble advice regarding where I stood in relationship to contact etc.
Another good website is www.oneparentfamilies.org.uk they have lots of fact sheets on seperation and divorce and all the things you may face, eg benefits; what to do etc.
It seems you have made the decision to end the marriage but are trying to find the best way to do that for the sake of your daughter.
I presume that you do not work as you are the main carer for your daughter; in which case you may be entitled to Legal Assistance (although bear in mind that this does have to be paid back eventually in most cases). A good start would be to find a solicitor who takes Legal Assistance and get an initial appointment (many firms offer a free 30 minute initial consultation).
In your situation, I would suggest that it would be better to play the long game for the sake of your daughter to ensure you are doing what is in her best interests; not those of yours or your wife's.
I hope you find some useful information on the above mentioned websites.
Thanks both for the replies and advice. I'll check out those links and see where I stand.
We had another row on Thursday and she dared me to leave, which I very nearly did, but for now I'm hanging on in there and trying to keep my chin up.
As you both mention it is my D who is the important one in all of this so for her sake I'm going to wait until my W can focus on the long term issues we need to discuss because atm she cannot see past the immediate problems we face with our business.