Hi and a question to the forum in case anyone else has been in the same situation and can advise on this...
I have been divorced "on paper" after Finance Consent Order after the third court hearing where the judge ruled how assets are split and how much maintenance I have to pay. Yes the ex dragged it through to that stage not accepting the "hints" given at the previous court hearings. My ex got the lion’s share of the equity and spousal maintenance “until death” plus whatever the official child maintenance amounts are. I got some of the equity but as half of it was debts from the marriage (household bills, private school fees etc) I was left with insufficient money to put as a deposit on a house. My ex lost a significant proportion of her share of the equity as her legal fees were more than £100,000.
Since then she has treated me the same as during the marriage, that money has no limits and she can keep asking for more.
Very stressful to be continually reminding her that I am paying the full child maintenance as per the official calculations and spousal maintenance as per the court order which is indexed by inflation and some items on top for things to help the kids with school trips and contributions towards medical expenses. Since that time one of the kids has started university and the shortfall in the student finances I have to make up so that she has a roof over her head.
Yet continually the ex refuses to accept that there can be limits on what she can spend and ask of me. As was a problem during the marriage she seems to think she is entitled to spend regardless of income, ie she is unable to live within her means.
She has resorted to accusations that I have hidden money from the judge and that I must have a big inheritance coming, both of which are not true. Hearing on the grapevine through others it is clear she is telling people I do not pay "enough".
Also stressful are the various attempts on her part to use emotional blackmail to get me to pay for things and often using the kids to do the dirty work for her. For example, I will pick them up on a Saturday and as they get in the car it is "Dad, I need stationery for school and new school shoes". Previous attempts at saying NO to such requests have resulted in withdrawal being allowed to pick up the kids to take them out. Yes this makes me look weak but with all the stress of it all sometimes it is easier to say YES to the kids and keep note for future records of how her behaviour has been.
She has also attempted to get me to buy her out of the monthly spousal maintenance commitment by paying her a lump-sum. Apart from the fact I don't have that kind of money lying around, my solicitor advised me the normal buyout rate for this type of arrangement for people of our age would be 10 years worth of spousal maintenance payments. My ex has already said that is not enough for her to buy a house or put enough of a deposit on for her to get a mortgage. So her next attempt if to get me to guarantee a bigger mortgage, for me that is fine as long as that mortgage doesn't exceed all the maintenance payments. What she fails to accept in this scenario is that it is not for me to bear the costs and risk of the mortgage becoming higher than the maintenance payments, particularly as interest rates may go up and also that the child maintenance is only for a limited amount of time. “So you will throw the kids and me out of the house when they reach 18 then will you?” she says, implying that she is expecting me to gift a long term roof over her head and the kids without compensation. Her counter argument to this is that her way is cheaper for me than me having to fork out for housing costs for 3 kids once they are thrown out of the house.
Yes I can see the challenges she has with managing her finances. She does live in an expensive part of the country and has considered moving 100s of miles away to reduce her living costs, however she and the 3 kids did not want to leave their very good schools nor did the kids want to be so far away from me. They are already 3 kids and my ex in a 2 bed flat. On the other hand she has made very bad decisions that have drastically depleted the funds she had when the FMH was sold so she is unable to put a good enough deposit down to secure a home and mortgage companies are refusing to count spousal maintenance as income saying "your ex may choose to stop paying it".
She was told in court multiple times that she needs to work to get income. She failed to do so for a few years then managed to get some work. Unfortunately, she is unable to hold down the jobs for very long, for various reasons some due to her own "problems" but also due to our son continually getting sick and being off school.
So the key question is... How do I get her to understand that at the end of the day I do NOT have to pay more than what is in the court order for spousal maintenance and that the child maintenance WILL stop when the kids are old enough. That the kids might have to work whilst studying at University if both of us as the parents can't make up the shortfall on the student finances. That it is upto the kids to find work after university and pay for their living arrangements. That if I am able to pay more to her than required it is upto her to compensate me for that as I am not in a position to give anything away a as gift otherwise I will NEVER be able to retire.
Until she can accept these things my stress doesn't seem to go away and it’s the same stress I had during the marriage, which is why I don’t really feel like I am divorced.
That is pretty much what I do. Very hard for my mental health to keep saying it again and again and again and again and again.
It's not just about her or me.
Painful to watch her continue down this path and to see the kid's roof over their head disappear. Not whilst they are about to hit GCSEs. Yes they will survive, physically. Mentally without the educational success they will struggle. Being from ethnic minority in this country it is already a challenge to do well, they don't need this on top.
no I am unable to provide a home for the children myself
yes it is upto her to do something to ensure she is living within her means... it is painful to watch the kids suffer as she fails to do that particularly as she refuses to admit responsibility and tells the kids that it is my fault etc etc. And they are caught in the middle of it, my boy is getting so stressed out about it he is getting physically sick. Paedatrician is doing a referral to social services.
have you thought about having a chat with your gp to see if there are possibly other services to refer to that may help varies from area to area. as a GP myself children and their welfare is priority and this does not sound good at all. see if you can see local GP and see if there is any help.some schools have school nurse etc that may help.good luck