I am about to start proceedngs against my wife who is addicted to gambling. £150,000 in the last two years and £20,000 in the last two months. In June this year I took control of her bank account and credit cards and paid off £18,000 from my savings. This was with her consent and supposedly to try and get her help. The situation has deteriorated and we have no dialogue or relationship.
We have children of 13 and 1 and I wish to protect them from the financial fallout of our divorce. The house is mortgaged in my name and I hve £20,000 in savings. My concern naturally is that any judicial settlement will remove this from me and fuel her gambling finances, leaving me and the children with nothing.
I wish to support my children as I do now and will seek joint custody as I have more time availabe than her in he week and at weekends.
Although my wife has a good job, she currently has loan debts exceeding £30,000 that I know about.
I have put this off for far too long and despair is now setting in.
Someone out there must have experienced something similar. Any advice or glimmr of hope would be appreciated.
Firstly, the welfare of the children is always the Court’s first priority. Far more important than your wife’s needs for cash.
Secondly, I have a feeling that your case may be one of the very rare cases where your wife’s conduct could tell against her. Such cases are rare these days, but this might be the exception that proves the rule. Where the conduct is such that it has had a bad effect on t he parties’ finances, then it can matter, and there is some case law to support this. Any cash she gets will probably only disappear down a black hole anyway.
If the house in in your name, and you have dependent children, then if you divorce you will probably have the right to remain there while the children are still dependent and the sale would be deferred till the youngest child reaches 18.
It is obvious to me that your wife needs help but unless she can break her gambling addiction you both have a massive problem and you may have no alternative but to cut you self free and distance yourself from it.. I think you need legal advice, and maybe collaborative law might be suitable in your case, although of course it requires your wife to co-operate. There is a good article about the subject on this website.
Also, don't underestimate the gambling organisations willingness to do a deal. They do not want negative publicity and in genuine cases of hardship, they will definitely cut a deal. If you use one of the help organisations above then the gambling companies will take more notice than if you approach them on your own.
It may not be as bad as it appears. Yes, your wife owes money but it may not be as large an amount as you see on paper. Use the organisations above to find out where you stand.
The Responsible Gambling regulations in the UK require that the gambling organisation allows the customer to "self exclude". This is a process for problem gamblers where they can instruct the gambling organisation to not allow them to gamble. Once the gambler has done that, I believe any further debts (or in fact, winings) are no longer valid. But please check this with one of the organisations listed.
I a in a similar situation to yours only it is my husband with the problem. although he is no longer living at the marital home he is constantly taking out new credit cards at this address. He is now trying to make me either sell the property or buy him out (which i can not afford to do ) in order for him to have what he sees as his share of the equity. i will be having a look on the websites posted below, thanks for that, and keep your chin up thunderroad as gambling makes people irrational and your kids need you to be stable, i know this from bitter experience.