Secret escape plans...financial position?

I'm in a very bad situation, been with my partner 11 years and things have deteriorated in the last 4. We have 2 young children and it's starting to affect them (or I should say, it's becoming obvious that it's affecting them, as I'm sure it has been all along) and it's heartbreaking. I'm a shadow of my former self and don't feel I have the strength or resilience to leave (I set up this username a year ago to post this, but am only able to do it now when I feel I'm hitting something like rock bottom).

I'm starting to try and work out how I would manage if I leave, as finance is the biggest barrier (alongside bravery...). So here's the information:

-He earns 2.5x my salary. I'm relatively well paid (in the 40-50k bracket) but doesn't go far with our expenses.
-We bought a house together 4 years ago (too expensive/big and has caused a lot of stress). Deposit came from his flat sale so he insisted I sign to say he owns 75% and I own 25%. We had a very young baby at the time and I felt coerced into signing it, but sign it I did, so I guess that's now the situation. Based on remaining mortgage and potential equity this would leave me with about 170k.
- We had planned to get married 5 years ago, bought rings, got marriage licence, but had to cancel as his family lawyers insisted we needed to get married in his home country to protect future family inheritance. I was pregnant so we couldn't plan for the year that followed, then covid happened, so we are not married. But does the original marriage plan offer me any protection?
- Household finance wise, I pay 30% of the value of the mortgage into our joint account each month, he plays in 100%. My share essentially pays bills, and we then also each contribute a weekly amount, he pays double what I do for that. I pay for most of our after school/holiday childcare, and then we also have school fees - he paid for our oldest child while I paid for nursery, but now both are at school I'm having to pay half the school fees. Have only paid one term so far but am afraid it will wipe my savings quickly!
- My secret weapon (not actually a secret!!) is that I have a buy to let property - purchased when I sold my own flat that I owned when we met. It's 100% mine :smiley: I have a small mortgage on it and about £250k equity in this but I don't want to sell it as it gives me about 11k a year income which I think would be useful if I'm a single parent.
- I have about 13k in savings and I overpay my BTL mortgage as much as I can, but am also trying to save regular amounts every month

My biggest worry is how can I afford to leave? We would need to stay in the area we're in as the school is a specialist (language) school but rents are very expensive (2.5k a month). I don't see how I could buy a property around here even if I sold my BTL as minimum for even a small flat would be about 7-800k and I wouldn't be able to afford the mortgage on a property of that value (also partner wouldn't be able to keep this house as although he complains about my low contribution, he can't do it alone either). I know he would need to contribute if the children live mainly with me (which I expect they would, as he's a workaholic, though I know it would be very painful for everybody).

But how can I find out where would I stand financially in the event of a split? As I say it's taken a year for me to build up to writing this, so the idea of seeking professional help seems way too hard.
(Also given the bullying/EA dynamic relationship counselling isn't advised, even if I thought he would go for it, which I know he wouldn't - I don't think the relationship can change, it's just whether I can stand it any longer or not). In my head I think I can only tell him it's over once I've got my ducks in a row, as in bad arguments he tells me I should go and we both know that money is the reason I don't.
Please be gentle with me!

Comments

  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,636
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    Contact Women's Aid   https://www.womensaid.org.uk/
  • thegreenone
    thegreenone Posts: 956
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    Is your BTL nearby?  Is it doable on a short term basis to give you and the children a roof over your heads?  Are both children already in the favoured school? If so, you could look to move further out.  

    Start making copies of everything and post them to a PO box or if a family member would take them in.

    Sorry, just throwing out thoughts.   
  • Auti
    Auti Posts: 353
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    If you have a buy to let you will need to seriously consider using it as your home even though it would mean asking tenant to leave. Could you ask the school if they do bursaries/ scholarships as that may help. You can apply for child maintenance but can take time/ not paid regularly etc. You can ask to have your share of the house but depending on how the child residency is decided you may not get it until they are grown up. Your best bet is to be as self sufficient as you can and sort out your buy to let viewing it as now your home. 

    I am sorry life is not good - I had to leave with what we stood up in and 3 small children - it is difficult but the children’s welfare comes first - a hug
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,816
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    Is the BTL property accessible for the school? Yes, I'm sure it would be small but that's worth considering. 

    You say it's a specialist language school: and a private school? In many areas there are Saturday Schools - sometimes in quite surprising languages! So not necessarily disastrous if they change schools. 

    Even if he won't go for relationship counselling, you can go on your own, and you might find that gives you strength. 
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  • Thanks so much for the replies - 
    I should have said, BTL property is where I come from but 2 hours from where we are now so not doable as a home - would mean a huge drop in income as I would have to change jobs as well as new schools for the children (plus no support network there).
    The school is a non negotiable for my partner (I was against it originally but had no say…). I know they do some kind of financial aid for those with changes to circumstances but not sure if this would apply to us (presumably I wouldn’t be obligated to pay for it if partner is the one who registered them?!). 
    I know that many people do this (@Auti that must have been horrendous) and with much less behind them than we have, but it just feels so daunting and impossible.  Just keep buying lottery tickets and going for magical thinking but I know really that’s not the solution we need 🥲
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,461
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    Please contact Women's Aid as they will have links to people who can provide the specialist advice you need. For example, what the status of your relationship and children is in your partner's country of origin, the rules there on break-ups? Whether Prohibited Steps Orders etc might be wise.

    With an uncertain relationship, a financial imbalance and the international complications, this is not a time to DIY.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,280
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    edited 9 January at 5:28PM
    Auti said:
    If you have a buy to let you will need to seriously consider using it as your home even though it would mean asking tenant to leave. Could you ask the school if they do bursaries/ scholarships as that may help. You can apply for child maintenance but can take time/ not paid regularly etc. You can ask to have your share of the house but depending on how the child residency is decided you may not get it until they are grown up. Your best bet is to be as self sufficient as you can and sort out your buy to let viewing it as now your home. 

    I am sorry life is not good - I had to leave with what we stood up in and 3 small children - it is difficult but the children’s welfare comes first - a hug
    Pretty sure that’s not accurate. 
    I agree with RAS that this is something you need proper legal advice for, but if he’s so keen on the children staying at that school is also keen to pay for it. Because if you can’t afford it then there isn’t really an option for them to say there is there? 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Auti
    Auti Posts: 353
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    @elsien - if he has residency or shared residency the argument is that the children need somewhere to stay - especially if it is near school - and it can be argued he needs the home. It all depends on residency and how much/well the person argues. (Just think of when the mother stays in the home and house not sold til youngest child becomes adult). 
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,280
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    edited 10 January at 10:02AM
    Auti said:
    @elsien - if he has residency or shared residency the argument is that the children need somewhere to stay - especially if it is near school - and it can be argued he needs the home. It all depends on residency and how much/well the person argues. (Just think of when the mother stays in the home and house not sold til youngest child becomes adult). 
    That happens much less often than people think. When people are married (and I appreciate this is a different situation) the court would look at meeting everyone's needs rather than their preferences. If that means a property has to be sold and both parents downsize then that is what happens. 
    In this case, firstly it seems unlikely that the father would want or would get residency. And secondly the OP is still entitled to their share of the property in order to adequately house themselves. So the house being sold and smaller properties being acquired that still meet the children's needs is a reasonable proposition. Children move houses and schools all the time, in relationship breakups but also for many other reasons.  Unless there are reasons such as special needs, them staying at the same school is not essential. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,816
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    I have been reminded that there's a niche law firm in my area who specialise in advising unmarried couples. You may find one near you.

    This firm has set up a podcast: Journey through Separation. https://roskillyandmills.co.uk/a-journey-through-separation-ep1/

    Might be worth a listen.
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