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Husband left her

(58 Posts)
Houseseller Sat 05-Jan-19 11:26:52

Good morning all, I wonder if anyone can give my step granddaughter any practical advice. Her husband of 6 years has just informed her he is leaving her. They have 3 small children under 7 years and live in a privately rented house costing £800 per month. They are in debt and husband has run up her credit card buying hobby items. She works at Amazon to help out the finances but relies on Mother in law for childcare. Her husband is moving in with his mother and is suggesting he has joint parenting to avoid paying maintenance. She is at her wits end as doesn’t earn much and won’t be able to keep up with the rent. As her mother in law looks after the children she doesn’t want to fall out with her. Any practical advice will be welcomed

trisher Sat 05-Jan-19 11:43:38

She needs a good solicitor. Tell her to ask around if she knows anyone who has had a good divorce settlement or go on line and do some research. She shouldn't just pick one out the phone book. They will need to go to mediation anyway where they will discuss financial matters and he won't get everything wants. He will have to keep a roof over his children's heads. She should talk to the mother in law but try not to discuss his behaviour as it's something they will probably never agree on.

Iam64 Sat 05-Jan-19 11:46:52

Yes, she needs to see a solicitor who specialises in separation/divorce issues. An internet search will help her find a specialist. Most good firms will also have a mediator who can assist in discussion about contact, residence and financial contributions.
As trisher said, it will help if she sets a boundary around the things she discusses with her mother in law, to avoid a fall out. What a tough time - legal advice essential but legal aid no longer available shockingly.

Luckygirl Sat 05-Jan-19 12:11:49

Need a solicitor and also look at Housing Benefit.

Houseseller Sat 05-Jan-19 12:14:08

Thank you, unfortunately she is so much in debt she can’t afford solicitor

MissAdventure Sat 05-Jan-19 12:17:55

I think gingerbread have a helpline, and there is the citizens advice bureau.
Is she aware of the benefits system, and how it works?

Elegran Sat 05-Jan-19 12:29:36

I believe most solicicitors will give a half-hour free consultation where they will advise you. Obviously they won't act for you without getting paid for their work, but they might tell you what your legal position is, and what your best plan of action might be.

trisher Sat 05-Jan-19 12:35:05

She should look for a local Law Centre and /or find out if a local solicitor offers free advice. Some will give half an hour.

MissAdventure Sat 05-Jan-19 12:38:47

I think some of the helplines have solicitors who will advise, too.

FlexibleFriend Sat 05-Jan-19 12:39:28

It's lovely isn't it they way they just up and leave their responsibilities on the wife. She needs to contact National debtline who will help for free to sort her finances out. I did this for one of my Sons ex girlfriends and the help is great.
Even if she can't afford a solicitor she still needs to contact one for advice. So find someone like this, I found this with a quick google.
Most importantly don't panic .

starbird Sat 05-Jan-19 12:39:48

Definitely go to Citizen’s Advice. It might even be worth her declaring bankruptcy. Husband sounds like a complete irresponsible coward trying to avoid any responsibility for the mess they are in. The poor woman has all my sympathies.

Newmom101 Sat 05-Jan-19 12:42:02

Citizens advice beaurea for immediate help.

Is her husband intending on a 50/50 custody arrangement? If so she needs it in writing who will pay for children's clothing/school trips/school uniform etc. Suggest he maybe pays a lump sum towards children's clothing every month if she's happy to be the one buying it.

Is he on the tenancy agreement? If so he's still liable to pay rent until his name is removed (if she contacts the landlord they may agree to take him off of her housing benefit will cover this).

Check what benefits she's eligable for. There's calculators you can get online which will work it out, or citizens advice can help with it.

Debts occurred throughout the marriage will be the responsibility of both of them, so even if he's not paying maintenance due to the custody split, he needs to be paying for those. If not on a 0% credit card get it switched over to one ASAP. If possible, get him to do this in his name or if he can't then ask him to see if a family member will for him. If she can get some of the debt out of her name it will help. Also, if the hobby items are still at the house, sell them to pay some money off the credit card.

Craicon Sat 05-Jan-19 12:47:58

Isn’t he a prize!
If he’s living with his mother then he’s got no major housing costs unlike his ex wife, so suggesting he doesn’t pay maintenance is clearly ridiculous. Rent/mortgage payments is usually the single biggest expense in your budget, when you’re young.
She needs to visit somewhere like Citizens Advice to review the debt situation and see how it can be better managed and ensure she applies for all the benefits she’s entitled to.
However, she really needs to prioritise finding a good solicitor who can help ensure he pays a regular amount towards his children’s living costs. Look upon the expense as a long term investment for her and her children’s future!
Don’t let him call the shots.

notanan2 Sat 05-Jan-19 13:27:42

She needs to have legal advise but courts at the mo ARE favouring joint rather than resident&non resident.

She needs to be careful that it is a 50:50 split because if he gets 4 days out of 5 (by default of the children going there anyway for childcare) then SHE will have to pay HIM maintenance. And he will get the child benefit and tax credits etc

Happychops Sat 05-Jan-19 14:21:35

Get her to go online Use the calculator and apply for Universal Credit. Housing benefit comes into this. She can apply online.Whoever gets the child tax credits will be the person paid for the children, hopefully it is her. This claim will start from the day she makes it,so the sooner the better. All she does is complete an online application,she will then get an appointment to attend ger local jobcentre. There are things in place to help people in her situation. She just needs to ask when she attends her meeting.

Telly Sat 05-Jan-19 14:25:38

She needs professional advice, start with the CAB. Although you say she can't afford a solicitor, spending some money now will surely pay off in the long run. Can family help out initially with this cost? He seems to have a clear idea about what he wants??

Happychops Sat 05-Jan-19 14:38:55

I agree that she does need professional advise. Sometimes it’s best to phone cab as there can be a wait for appointments. Debts do need to be dealt with,and getting some professional help is always best.In the meantime,if she needs financial help ,do it sooner rather than later, the bills keep coming , and this is a way of keeping her head above water, until she can manage again in the future.

Houseseller Sat 05-Jan-19 14:50:10

Hi thanks for the advice. I need to be clear here, the woman is not really part of my family, her blood father lived with my daughter for several years, they have been split up for at least 12 years. The woman is half sister to my granddaughter. Her mother and father are not interested. I feel very sorry for her but don’t really want to get financially involved, however would like to help steer her in the right direction for help.

notanan2 Sat 05-Jan-19 14:53:51

Get her to go online Use the calculator and apply for Universal Credit. Housing benefit comes into this. She can apply online.

Thats all moot if he can claim that the children are at his DMs (now his) house 4 times a week as HE can claim all of the child related credits/benefits it or get them frozen

FlexibleFriend Sat 05-Jan-19 15:00:59

You don't have to get financially involved you can sit down with her and get her to list all her income from every source and all her outgoings. Go on the Nationaldebtline website and download all the forms and letters you need to send off to her debtors. If she can only afford £1 a month then that's what she offers.
You can offer support by holding her hand throughout it all. As others have already said how to apply for universal credit, she needs to do it asap. He needs to accept he can't just walk away and she can apply to the courts for a financial settlement so she needs to see a solicitor. You can help to keep her focused in finding a way out of this mess.He may have run back to Mummy but he has responsibility for the chidren and his share of the debts.

EllanVannin Sat 05-Jan-19 15:05:33

This is complicated and complex in many ways particularly from a financial point of view.
Depending what the debts are they need sorting in order of priority, i.e rent and utilities, council tax first above anything else.

If the woman gives up working, as nobody can work when under such a strain, then make an appointment with the DWP asap and tell them of your plight. The last thing you want to happen would be to lose your home. I gather £800 a month is London somewhere ? I understand that the DWP would meet 3/4 of the rent ? Also council tax would be funded by them too ?

However as others have suggested, advice from the CAB would be a start.

It's at times like this that I don't think my GD realises how fortunate she is when financial or other help is sought from her mother or myself to avoid landing herself in a mess when I read things like this.

Devorgilla Sat 05-Jan-19 15:51:38

I am sorry to hear about your friend's predicament. She really does need to take advice and the sooner the better. If the credit card was solely in her name and she allowed him access to it I think she is responsible for the entire debt. If you are left with children under a certain age aren't you entitled to remain in the family home and have contributions paid by the other partner? Does his mother get a care allowance for looking after the children? I gather, as a parent, you can't get payment for looking after your own children as that is a basic responsibility but you can get help financially in such a situation as this. As another poster has said there are implications as to how long his mother has the children. I think this could be a case where the mother of the children would be better off not working until all children were in school so that she gets her full rights under any settlement/divorce. I think this guy needs to be shown how much he is expected to contribute and that he can't wriggle out of it. Plenty do though. This is a clear case of the woman needing to look to her, and her children's, interests first. It is easy to be persuaded to take the simple way out which leaves someone like her considerably worse off. Persuade her to get advice. Can she, or the children, get legal aid?

Buffybee Sat 05-Jan-19 16:11:17

As others have already said, she needs to claim Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Coucil Tax Benefit immediately.
The priority is keeping a roof over their heads, the debts can be dealt with by contacting either Citizen's Advice or National Debtline .Gov
She doesn't need to comply with his request to share the children between them immediately, he has walked out of the family home, so can hardly start demanding how he wants things to be.
Contact a Family Law solicitor for a free half hour consultation.
Tell her to stay calm and that everything can be sorted out, one way or another.

Houseseller Sat 05-Jan-19 16:53:55

Thank you all for your advice I shall pass it over to the poor soul. It beggars belief that someone can so easily walk away from his responsibilities.

PECS Sat 05-Jan-19 16:56:29

Get proper legal advice. I believe that father is still responsible for ensuring children have a home to live in. He cannot opt out of financial responsibility for his children even if he wants to!