I have not yet informed my wife that I intend to leave her. We have been married for 21 years and it will come as a shock to her. My problem is that following the Tini Owens case earlier this year, I feel that in legal terms I do not have grounds for a divorce or even a separation. My wife has not been unfaithful to me, she has not deserted me and whilst her behavior has seriously affected my mental health and general wellbeing I do not think the courts would interpret this as 'unreasonable behavior.'
I have made contact with a solicitor recommended to me by a divorced friend but I was genuinely shocked by his costs. I was quoted 330 pounds +VAT for a 90 minute Skype call, then an 800 pound deposit and then 200 pounds a month. This is way out of my league and is making me feel that it can simply never happen and that I will be trapped in this way for good.
I will be leaving my wife in just a few weeks time which gives her grounds to divorce me but she is a devout catholic and so this is highly unlikely. I am completely in the dark with regard to money issues and I am desperate for some advice. Preferably free advice or at least not too expensive. Please help if you can
Hello and welcome to wikivorce, although I'm sorry you need to be here. You can get a divorce on the basis that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with her. However, your petition must contain sufficient allegations of unreasonable behaviour by your spouse to persuade the court that you are entitled to a divorce on that basis.
Usually, about five or six fairly mild allegations should be sufficient to convince the court. If it is likely that your petition will be defended by your wife on the grounds of her religious faith, then it would need to include all possible allegations of unreasonable behaviour to maximise the chance of it being successful.
If she is concerned that others may read your allegations you can reassure her that only the two of you and the judge will read the petition. To divorce without her agreement you would have to wait 5 years.
It seems your wife's behaviour has affected your health and wellbeing so the events causing that would probably constitute 'unreasonable behaviour'. A lot depends on how you word the petition.
Were you married in the UK?
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Thanks for responding so quickly. We were married in the UK although we now live in Dubai. I hope that this will help the separation process as my expectation is that she will return permanently to the UK.
My problem with the unreasonable behavior issue is that I'm sure it would appear very weak to any judge. For many years I didn't realize the extent to which this woman was controlling and manipulating me. It really has only been in the last 4-5 years I have fully understood what she has been doing. Like all manipulators she has been subtle, but persistent. There have been very few 'events' that can be clearly defined. It's more about the atmosphere of repression she has created and the effect this has had on me. I just don't think a judge will buy it. If I read it in the papers I'd just think "what a whimp! Why didn't he just leave her?" but when you are in the middle of it and you have 4 kids too, it's not so easy.
Your other options would be two years separation with consent or five years separation without consent assuming you divorce in England or Wales.
You could offer to allow her to divorce you.
If you do go ahead with the divorce on unreasonable behaviour grounds, you should take advice on the wording. Bear in mind she can disagree with the reasons but agree the marriage is over.
Also bear in mind that this is something you have been thinking about for a while. It may come as a big shock to her and she may be scared about finances etc.I would have a good think about how your assets will be divided and how she will be supported.
She may also be completely unaware of how you are feeling. There could also be reasons for her "behaviour" that you have not considered. You won't know unless you talk.
If you were in the UK I would suggest going to Relate. It may be that the marriage could be saved or if it cannot be, they can help you through the process of separation.
With four children to support and provide for depending on their ages, their needs will take priority.
I note you say you will be leaving in just a few weeks time, so I sense there is some urgency to have that conversation and talk things through with your wife about how best she can manage financially and how she can support the children in your absence.
The children will need support and to know that they are loved and in no way to blame for what has happened.