Divorce Advice

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spend_or_save
spend_or_save Posts: 62 Forumite
edited 17 November 2015 at 12:21PM in Marriage, relationships & families
Hi,

Im looking for some advice, the quick version of the story is as follows, my mate split from his Wife about 3 years ago and they have 2 young kids, they are still not divorced.

He works shifts but pretty much takes the kids anytime he is not working and changes shifts etc to suit the mother, he travels to the Mothers house and then drops back off at the mothers house (this is about a 60mile round trip), He works in the emergency services so doesnt earn a great deal of money, and from the outside looking in, he is being taken for a bit of a mug.

From day one the wife has been trying to get as much money from my mate as possible, and wanted to introduce a seperation agreement, which aswell as a ridiculous amount for child maintenance included an "alimony" amount aswell as a claim on his pension that was to be confirmed.

When my mate refused this, she withheld access to his kids for about 3 months, before changing her mind and letting him see the kids again, the reason for this was she cant actually cope with the kids herself and takes any opportunity to dump them when she can, so although she would have loved to have held out till my mate caved in she couldnt actually do it.

The affect this has had is my mate is even more a doormat than he was before (presumably as he is worried that if he upsets her she will withhold access), he is basically either working or looking after his kids,he doesnt have one minute to himself and he doesnt have 2 pence to rub together, and i suspect he is giving over every penny he earns to the wife.

My advice to him has been to get divorced ASAP, but he says he cant do this as he needs a seperation agreement in place and she wont sign it off as they cant agree on the money.

Is this true? do they have to be in perfect agreement, surely you are due what you are due (legally) whether its what you want or not? i have heard of people getting divorced by doing it themselves in a few months, never seems to take 3 years!!

I have told him he should issue her with the divorce papers.

He should send her a lawyers letter detailing his shift patterns and his proposed days for taking the kids, deatiling that he will pick them up and she will pick them up from his. (rather than the current arrangment which see him at his wifes beck and call)

She keeps going on about his pension and property he owns and rents out, he is fine with paying what he is due on this, but fact is she has a pension and property she rents, so i have told him he should go after what he is due from her aswell. My mates flat is probably in negative equity and as i say he wont have more the £8 in the bank (probably worth pointing out she earns at least 50% more than my mate)

I know my view will be slightly biased, but my mate is a decent guy who has no interest in money, fighting, pensions etc he just wants to do the best by his kids, his wife has treated him shockingly and is only interested in herself and what she can get, she knows my mates nature and is totally taking advantage of it. I just want to try and help him move on, have everything set out so that he knows where he stands, can make plans and have time for himself now and again.
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  • VfM4meplse
    VfM4meplse Posts: 34,269 Forumite
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    This post makes me so sad. There is always more than one side to a story.

    Presumably if he is divorcing your friend will have access to professional legal advice? Or a free short consultation if proceedings haven't yet been instigated?
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

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    Hope is not a strategy :D...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
  • benjus
    benjus Posts: 5,433 Forumite
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    edited 17 November 2015 at 12:47PM
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    Nothing stopping him starting the divorce process now. After 3 years' separation he could use that as a reason for divorce if she cooperates. As that sounds unlikely, he's probably best off citing her Unreasonable Behaviour as grounds for divorce (usually not hard to come up with a few examples and proof is not usually required).

    I don't know where he gets this stuff about needing a "seperation agreement in place" - sounds like he should get legal advice or at least read a good book on the subject ASAP. The financial side is normally sorted out alongside the divorce process and completed slightly before the divorce itself, although technically they are separate processes and it's possible to complete the divorce without completing a financial agreement (but not a good idea as it would leave him exposed to future claims).

    In a nutshell, the amount a court will award for child maintenance is usually the same that the Child Maintenance Service calculator gives. For spousal maintenance it's more complex and more down to the court's discretion - it depends on factors such as the length of the marriage, any sacrifices made by both parties (e.g. giving up a career to have children) and the financial contributions made to the joint finances.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
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  • spend_or_save
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    VfM4meplse wrote: »
    This post makes me so sad. There is always more than one side to a story.

    Presumably if he is divorcing your friend will have access to professional legal advice? Or a free short consultation if proceedings haven't yet been instigated?

    VfM i agree there are 2 sides to every story, well 3 if you count the truth, but i can assure you my mate has been treated terribly.

    Due to his financialy position, his family had paid for a lawyer, but he seems reluctant to see it through as he is worried she will withdraw access to the kids.

    But my opinion is he has to bring it to a conclusion even if it means a bit of pain
  • FBaby
    FBaby Posts: 18,367 Forumite
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    Leave him to be. Sometimes being taken advantage of is what you indeed do for the benefit of your kids. I am in the same situation but the other way. Nrp pays no maintenance despite working, will never travel to pick them up/drop them up and now they travel independently I pay for it all.

    I am being taken for a mug but my kids are happy and well balanced and I've made the decision that their welfare comes before winning any battle with their dad.
  • spend_or_save
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    benjus wrote: »
    Nothing stopping him starting the divorce process now. After 3 years' separation he could use that as a reason for divorce if she cooperates. As that sounds unlikely, he's probably best off citing her Unreasonable Behaviour as grounds for divorce (usually not hard to come up with a few examples and proof is not usually required).

    I don't know where he gets this stuff about needing a "seperation agreement in place" - sounds like he should get legal advice or at least read a good book on the subject ASAP. The financial side is normally sorted out alongside the divorce process and completed slightly before the divorce itself, although technically they are separate processes and it's possible to complete the divorce without completing a financial agreement (but not a good idea as it would leave him exposed to future claims).

    In a nutshell, the amount a court will award for child maintenance is usually the same that the Child Maintenance Service calculator gives. For spousal maintenance it's more complex and more down to the court's discretion - it depends on factors such as the length of the marriage, any sacrifices made by both parties (e.g. giving up a career to have children) and the financial contributions made to the joint finances.

    thanks Benjus,

    i am the same with the seperation agreement he seems caught up with the fact this needs agreed before he can divorced, its frustrating to say the least. as i say i think he is reluctant to proceed and upset his wife for fear of her withdrawing the access to the kids (he wants the seperation to agree the access arrangements aswell)

    I have told him that the child maintanence should be as per the calcultaor but as i say i think he gives her more, which would be fine if he could afford it but he cant. In terms of spousal maintenance i dont think he need worry, as i say she has always earned more than him and he the one that has sacraficed things in his career to allow the children to be looked after and so his wife need not give up work.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    My advice to him has been to get divorced ASAP, but he says he cant do this as he needs a seperation agreement in place and she wont sign it off as they cant agree on the money.
    Due to his financialy position, his family had paid for a lawyer, but he seems reluctant to see it through as he is worried she will withdraw access to the kids.

    Is this what the solicitor is telling him?
  • spend_or_save
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    FBaby wrote: »
    Leave him to be. Sometimes being taken advantage of is what you indeed do for the benefit of your kids. I am in the same situation but the other way. Nrp pays no maintenance despite working, will never travel to pick them up/drop them up and now they travel independently I pay for it all.

    I am being taken for a mug but my kids are happy and well balanced and I've made the decision that their welfare comes before winning any battle with their dad.

    totally disagree FBaby, it doesnt have to be like it is and i think if he just pulled his head out the sand and tackled things with a bit more purpose he could get things on a much more level playing field.

    I agree the kids being happy is a priority, but my mate is suffering financially and if he keeps going the way he is, coming off a nightshift, travelling 30 miles to pick the kids up, travelling 30 miles back, having the kids all day, driving 30 miles to drop them off and then going 45 miles to his work for another nightshift (doing this 3/4 times a week) then he is going to run himself into the ground which is not good for him or the kids.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    I agree the kids being happy is a priority, but my mate is suffering financially and if he keeps going the way he is, coming off a nightshift, travelling 30 miles to pick the kids up, travelling 30 miles back, having the kids all day, driving 30 miles to drop them off and then going 45 miles to his work for another nightshift (doing this 3/4 times a week) then he is going to run himself into the ground which is not good for him or the kids.

    As a worker in the emergency services, he must know that driving while tired is as bad as driving while drunk. It's not going to do his kids any good if he (and they) are involved in a serious accident through his exhaustion.

    Another thought - as he and his ex are still married, if he died without a will, his ex will be first in line to inherit from him. Has he made a will leaving his estate to the children?
  • spend_or_save
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    Is this what the solicitor is telling him?

    As i say, im not sure how economical with the truth my mate is being when it comes to this.

    He has said the lawyer has advised it would be best to have the seperation agreement, agreed and in place as part of the divorce.
  • spend_or_save
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    As a worker in the emergency services, he must know that driving while tired is as bad as driving while drunk. It's not going to do his kids any good if he (and they) are involved in a serious accident through his exhaustion.

    Another thought - as he and his ex are still married, if he died without a will, his ex will be first in line to inherit from him. Has he made a will leaving his estate to the children?

    exactly right Mojisola, he knows this but i think kids himself on its not affecting him and he isnt excessively tired.

    I spoke to him about making a will, and his response was theres no point as all she would inherit is a poperty in -ve equity and a car worth £500 quid. I pointed out his pension and life insurance policy but would go to her but he has never done anything about it.
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