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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


Free Consultation and Guilt in Leaving

  • runriarun
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02 May 12 #327999 by runriarun
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Background - I am planning to leave my husband. I have been the subject of domestic abuse in the past although he has been a lot calmer of late. In order to feel safe I want to leave the home and live in a flat which I can fund. I have two fears. 1) that he will lose his temper when I tell him I am going. 2) That he may walk out on me, leaving me in a run down house and then refuse to co-operate with the sale of the house. We have grown up children and no mortgage.

In an ideal world I would leave him with a letter explaining. I am wrestling with my conscience on this. It seems heartless. Calculating. How have others on the site felt when put in this position? Could they understand the reasons behind the partners decision, how devastated did they feel? I feel guilty about all of it for some reason. My husband is not aware that I want to separate, divorce. He knows I am unhappy.

I have arranged to see two solicitors for free consultations. So trying to make sure I make the most of these opportunities. I am unsure of what are "the most important questions" - how does this sound?

Q If I leave the marital home - what are the pitfalls?
Q If I leave I am concerned about what he may do financially, how can I secure ‘our ‘joint bank account, savings accounts etc. We have no credit cards. No Loans.
Q If I tell my husband, give him notice and he walks out on me - how difficult could it be to sell the house, if he refuses to co-operate? How long could this option take to sort out?
Q - anything else I should prioritise to ask?

Ria

  • LittleMrMike
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02 May 12 #328046 by LittleMrMike
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Well, now.
There is an article in the wiki library under FAQ''s followed by " sorting out the finances ". It''s entitled " A guide to what to do before starting divorce divorce. " Well, I was the author, but one of the reasons I wrote it was to try and give you some advance indication of what you need to think about at this stage.
What are the implications if you leave ? You are right to take legal advice but I suspect the answer is that a great deal depends on the circumstances. The fact is both of you must have somewhere to live. If your husband is over-housed, that might suggest a sale is appropriate.
But as the property is in joint names, both of you must concur in a sale. And then you must decide how the net proceeds are to be split. If he won''t sell, or if you can''t agree the division, you will need a Court order.
I have dealt with bank accounts, etc in my article. You need to make sure he can''t drain the account or run up an overdraft for which you could be responsible.
Now I know this sounds like blowing my own trumpet, and I''m sorry about that. When I was born the doctors were concerned I might due at birth because my head was too big. It still is, unfortunately !! But I wrote another article called " Housing options following separation " and there is a thread with that title where you will find a link to the article.
Honest, scout''s honour, I didn''t write these articles for fun. I hoped that they would help people in your position to uinderstand the general picture.
LMM

  • runriarun
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03 May 12 #328103 by runriarun
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Thank you for signposting Mike, I will take a look and digest. I forgive your big head I am sure it has come in handy many times.

.... For the record, we have no mortgage but we do have grown up children still at home, although fortunately both in full time work. I think what will throw the spanner in the works is my husband is retired and living off his pension and income from a flat we have, also no mortgage. Me forcing him to sell up will obviously impact greatly on his lifestyle.

thanks again Mike.
ria

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03 May 12 #328121 by Cornfield
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I would just like to state that I was in the same position as runriarun. I was in a 40 year old marriage to my spouse who was like Jekyll & Hide, he would explode at random which left me feeling as if I was walking on egg shells. I had no social life outside of my marriage apart my working hours spent at the office. In the latter years he worked abroad for long spells which is the reason why our marriage lasted so long until I resented the time he spent at home, my friends noticed the difference in my personality and behaviour when he was home. Eventually I gained enough courage to leave which I had to do without his prior knowledge. It would have been impossible to negotiate. I made a decision as to where I would go,secretly packed some belongings and left our matrimonial home. I later sent my spouse a text message explaining. Some people might think this is unacceptable or callous however anyone who finds themselves in this situation will understand the fear, the inability to be able to discuss issues like adults with their spouse, the feeling of being a like a prisoner.
I left a matrimonial home worth 180k mortgage free plus substantial savings but nothing compensates me more than feeling the freedom and happiness I felt as soon as I walked out the door and still feel after 9 months.
I cannot comment with regards to the consequences of my actions - all I can say is that money does not buy happiness
I admit I did go through times feeling guilty and feeling sorry for him about the way I left but these were only short lived when I imagined I was back living in the matrimonial home!
Good luck and be happy

  • TBagpuss
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03 May 12 #328141 by TBagpuss
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In the circumstnaces which you describe, I think your firsr consideration has to be your own safety. If you are fearful as to how he ay react, then leavign a letter may well be the safest thing to do.

Make sure, before you leave, that you take final meter readings, notify all utilities (if they are in your name or joint names) to get final bills and get your name off the bills. Consider what things you feel are essntial and take them with you as you may not be able to get back into the house.

Consider taking photographs of each room to show the condition it is in (may be relevent if he damages it or lets it got to rack & ruin, bringing down the house price)

IF you would feel better about telling him face-to-face then plan way of doing so whih you feel is safe for you. This might mean moving your thigs out when he is notthere, then havign a friend or relative with you when you tell him. You could write a letter to habd to him so if he beomes agressive you can leave it with him and go.

Another alternativ might be to arrange to meet up with him somewhere public, such as a cafe. He may be less likely to get agressive in public, plus it is easier for you to leave if he does. (make sure you pay when you order, or hand enough to cover your order to a member of staff on the way out!) Again, you can arrange to havea friend with you (or at the next table) for moral support.

Joint accounts. You normally need for you both to sign in order to close an account. You have a number of options.

1. For savings accounts and accounts which have no overdraft facilty or option, withdrawn 50% of the money (and get or keep a statement/copy bank book as proof of the ''before and after'' balances) ASk for a form to take your name off the accoutn, fill this in and sign it and give it to him, with the bank book, when you leave.

2.For accounts which do have an overdraft facility, get forms to take your name off, fuill these in and sign them and ask him to sign them. Return the forms to the bank yourself.
If he won''t sign, and you are worried that he may run up an overraft, then you can freeze the account by speaking to the bank. Be aware that this will cause any DD and outstanding cheques to bounce, so you may want to make sure you have taken your name off all joint bils first. Ideally, you would give him a period in which to sign the fors to get the account into his sole name, and only freeze it if he doesn''t.


The biggest problem leaving the hosue is that you then have no knowledge or control over the state the houe is in - if he lets it get dirty, untidy etc then it will be harder to sell, althouhg in those circumstances you would ultimately be able to apply to the court to (in effect) have him evicted so that you can manage the sale.

Whaever you do, be prepared for the fact that he will almost certianly try to twist things and guilt-trip you into beliveing it is your fault, or that you ''owe'' him. don''t be taken in. People who are abusive are typicallyvery manipulative. Make sure you get a solkcitor who you are comfortable with and who will stand up for you, and stand betwen you and him, and DON''T agree to proposals from your ex without giving yourself time to go through them and (if need be) take advice.

  • runriarun
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03 May 12 #328191 by runriarun
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You have given me some really good advice and things to think about. thank you. I am making notes.

I have such a big guilt trip and I am not sure why. Anyway I will consider all the options, weigh up the pros and cons as scientifically as I can. I can do no more. Whatever I chose to do, will be the wrong outcome for him anyway. But there is one thing for sure I am going and I am gaining for the first time in my life a feeling of some control, entitlement. Ria

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03 May 12 #328192 by runriarun
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It does help to know that others have been through similar situations AND knowing you feel stronger, healthier, happier now .... is a huge bonus. Its all I dream of. My life is just one BIG stress ball and I just cant do it any longer, I am living his life NOT mine. Thank you again for responding. Ria

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