Help, massive change in circumstances

in Debt-free wannabe
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RhiBiRhiBi Forumite
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Hi, I'm going to apologise in advance as this is likely to be a very long post, which I hope makes sense as there's a number of issues going on... I hope I'm posting this in the correct board as well, apologies if not!

So, but if background, I've been a poster and lurker on here for many years, and have had a lot of helpful advice that has helped me cut debt and change my spending and saving habits. However in the last few months, my husband and I have separated after 21 years of marriage, and whilst I feel emotionally free and much happier, financially I am worried, and also need practical advice too.

My husband was the main wage earner, with a net monthly pay of around £3000 a month... mine is £984, we have 4 children 2 of which are classed as dependents, although all 4 live with me (one is in university term time though, the eldest has finished uni and is living back home, having got a job fairly local).

So, whilst we had a good monthly income, we did also have debt including credit card and loan debt, this was all coming down nicely before the split happened. My husband has left the family home and is currently living with his mother, and I am in the process of separating our accounts to that my pay doesn't go into a joint account. I am also awaiting the result of a claim for universal credit. I am unable to claim single person council tax reduction because of my eldest daughter living here.

So, my dilemmas...

Firstly, all utility bills are in his name... how do I change this? Does he need to phone the companies and cancel his accounts and I take out new ones, or can they simply swap the name? We obviously have gas, electric, broadband, sky tv (not sure about keeping that).

Back in the summer we had an issue with our car, that led to the balance of the loan £4000 being added to one of my credit cards in order for it to be sold for scrap for £350... this was a huge mistake on my part to agree to this, but I've now got to just deal with it somehow... current credit card debt is £12.000 and on a wage of £900 I can't see how I'll ever pay it back. Bankruptcy has crossed my mind but that could jeopardise my house I presume. I applied for a new credit card last week in the hope of doing balance transfer, but was turned down.

The family home is in joint names, and I presume will have to stay that way as on my wage I will not get a mortgage, it's a low mortgage of £270 a month with 7 years left to run. The husband currently says that we will sell the house then as our youngest will be 19 by that time. I gave up a career as a midwife and didn't work for 13 years of our marriage whilst my husband bettered his career (and pension pot) so at the moment I feel I'm going to use that as bargaining for keeping the house.

I know I need to do a statement of affairs, but I really don't know what to put in as I really do think know how to manage the swap over if utility bills etc.

I hope someone can just give me advice on where to go from here, as I feel like I'm drowning in worry at the moment and it feels there's no way out...

There is probably a lot more I need to add, but I can't think for now!

Thanks in advance for any advice and support xxxx
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Replies

  • maggiesmummymaggiesmummy Forumite
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    Hi Rhi
    Sounds like there is an awful lot going on at the moment.
    First things first your husband should be paying towards the children - the younger two anyway - have a look at the CMS calculator.
    Second is that he will need to speak to the utility companies as he is the account holder.
    It sounds like you could also ask your daughter to contribute to the house if she doesn't already.
    Can I ask if you are planning to divorce? A lot of the financials are discussed then - certainly there is an argument you should take a bigger chunk of the house and are entitled to some of your ex's pension.

    All of these things will take a bit of time - remember to breathe and do one thing at a time. It gets a bit overwhelming otherwise.
    Oh and one last thought - would you get child benefit on your own?
  • DE_612183DE_612183 Forumite
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    In things like this ( I've been through something similar ) I like to have a list / plan for each piece, as otherwise as Maggie says it can get overwhelming.

    And for each item on the the list - break it down so you can deal with one things at a time:

    1. - Utility Bills
    1.1 - Gas
    1.1.2 - Phone NPower
    1.1.2 - Get Ex to phone NPower if required
    1.1.3 - Check Bill Now in my name
    1.1.4 - Set up Direct Debit
    1.1.5 - Advice NPower of reduction in usage so to lower DD as one less adult in family

    The list doesn't have to be numbered, just structured with tasks and sub-tasks.

    If you have a smart phone there are loads of Apps that let you do this - or get ONE book with the lists in.
  • EssexHebrideanEssexHebridean Forumite
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    Have you seen a solicitor? if not then you absolutely MUST - if nothing else the financials and access arrangements around the children need to be agreed and made formal. As said above, he does have a duty to pay maintenance for the younger children. The court will also make a ruling on what happens with things like the house.

    Your oldest daughter who is now working definitely needs to pay keep now - perhaps check with friends who have working kids of a similar age living at home what the reasonable going rate is?
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  • Suseka97Suseka97 Forumite
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    I don't have much to add, but didn't want to read and run. You have much to sort out, but don't overwhelm yourself with too much. As has been said, deal with one thing at a time. That's quite a change to come to terms with, after 21 years of marriage. You definitely do need to get some sort of legal advice about the house, child maintenance and your rights in terms of your husband's pension.

    Above all, you need to try and keep things relatively harmonious between you and your ex - especially as you have children together and I guess they will be dealing with the split in their own way. Unfortunately money matters do tend to create tensions.

    If you are currently unable to keep up with the credit card payments, it wouldn't hurt to contact the company and let them know the situation.. At least you may then get a little breathing space - and when you've sorted out the financials, you'll know where you stand and can consider how best to tackle this debt.

    Don't go down the bankruptcy route, not for a £12k debt - there are many other options available to you. But first you need know exactly where you stand and there's plenty of time for that.

    So....one step at a time.
  • RhiBiRhiBi Forumite
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    Thank you for your replies. I am trying to sort through things a bit at a time.

    Yesterday he took himself off the electoral roll for the house and removed himself from the council tax too. He couldn't give me the account number though but I've managed to get that today and I've spoken to someone at the council tax department and they're aware of the circumstances. I've requested a PIN so that I can sort the payments to come out of my account,
    He has now agreed to a maintenance plan. I did an online calculator which said £768, for 3 children, as the one in uni still costs a fortune.... I suggested £500, and he agreed so that's a big help. I should know on Monday the result of my universal claim too. Then I need to get all the bill account numbers to swap them over!

    Thank you for your kind posts, they really have helped me xxxx
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  • MallyGirlMallyGirl Forumite, Senior Ambassador
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    If you looked after the kids while he worked and built up a large pension then you will probably have the rights to some of it as part of a financial settlement.
    I’m a Senior Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Pensions, Annuities & Retirement Planning, Loans
    & Credit Cards boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected].
    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • mirkomirko Forumite
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    You sound as if you're more "together" than you actually think. There's certainly a lot to do but you certainly sound like you're on the right track!
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  • RhiBiRhiBi Forumite
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    mirko wrote: »
    You sound as if you're more "together" than you actually think. There's certainly a lot to do but you certainly sound like you're on the right track!

    Thank you! I am determined to sort this out and will be more secure for it I hope... once I know on Monday where I stand with the universal credit claim, then I'll definitely feel far more settled.
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  • badmemorybadmemory Forumite
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    If it is at all possible try to sort out an emergency fund for yourself. When you are used to having a family income which covers all sorts of "washing machine breakdown" type emergencies it can be a shock to know that that washing machine breakdown can cause you real issues. The peace of mind from knowing that you can cover that sort of issue is worth its weight in gold. Been there & it took me almost 3 years to get to that point - no MSE then or the story may have been different!


    You are doing so well already, but remember the pension sharing. It wasn't a thing when I was divorcing unfortunately.
  • RhiBiRhiBi Forumite
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    badmemory wrote: »
    If it is at all possible try to sort out an emergency fund for yourself. When you are used to having a family income which covers all sorts of "washing machine breakdown" type emergencies it can be a shock to know that that washing machine breakdown can cause you real issues. The peace of mind from knowing that you can cover that sort of issue is worth its weight in gold. Been there & it took me almost 3 years to get to that point - no MSE then or the story may have been different!


    You are doing so well already, but remember the pension sharing. It wasn't a thing when I was divorcing unfortunately.

    Yes, that is definitely something I need to sort out. Before all this happened, I was doing some of the challenges in here, so I have about £350 in my virtual sealed pot... and in January, I'll definitely be signing up for those again. Xxx
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