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Unsure as to what can happen

  • 19-07-2022 2:12pm
    Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 13,449 ✭✭✭✭

    (I wish we could post anonymously!)

    Basic background. Married nearly 10 years, living apart 3. Two kids (one is older than 18, less than 23). House in her name. She is no longer working "due to mental health reasons". Was working until a few months ago. We also have a separate property, which generates €1000 per month. She refused mediation 2 year ago. I suggested a separation and she agreed (until I got notification from my solicitor that it was actually a divorce).

    Currently im renting at 50% of my income (joys of Dublin!) . I take 50% of the second property income (€500). I use this to cover off all the bills in the family house. The other half, she uses to pay off the mortgage (it is less than €500 pm as a very low amount). She gets only social welfare since she quit her job. So basically I gain nothing but equally dont pay anything (the €500 income is cancelled out through monthly bills). Equally, she doesnt gain anything (€500 income cancelled out through paying the mortgage).

    Had a settlement (?) meeting recently, to discuss terms of the mortgage. She has instructed her solicitors to not negotiate and wants 50% of everything I own in spousal maintenance (this includes assets, savings, and pensions). Can she potentially get this? I think its absolutely crazy that in reality, she could. So she would get the family home (my name is on the mortgage, not the deeds), half of everything I have, and have the kids? Reading up on what I can online, it seems the law is not defined as to what the amounts can be.

    I dont want anything from her. All I asked for was a 20% interest in the house, to be given to the kids, and for her to take all the secondary income. Obviously she can still look for child maintenance from me.

    Im totally lost on this. The potential right now, is that she could get half my salary, plus her social welfare, plus the secondary property income. This would give her close to 5k a month. Over double than what I would end up with. And she gets the house, and my pension. Am i over stressing about this, as likelihood not happen, or do I really need to accept this as a potential reality?

    Sorry for the long post.

    Post edited by antodeco on


  • Registered Users Posts: 340 ✭✭Senature

    You need to go through all this with your solicitor, and tread carefully. Her not working could make things much more difficult for you.

    However, it might be easier on your mind to count up all assets as both of yours, including the house for example e.g. she is entitled to half the savings and you are entitled to half of the house. Obviously post divorce you don't want to jointly own things so you need to work out a practical split. For e.g. if the equity in the house is worth a similar amount to your other assets she can take the house and you get the other assets.

    Equally, all the expenses need to be taken into consideration, not just child maintenance and the household bills, mortgage etc, but also your rent, bills, car etc too.

    If your children are over 18 and have left school you should be paying towards college fees, their transport, food, utilities, healthcare and not much else. At that age they usually work and pay for their own clothes, hobbies, social life etc

    Remember you are entitled to rent/buy your own home that has a spare bedroom or two for your children as a minimum. There is not only 1 parent in the family.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Yes, I'd pay for the legal advice of a family law specialist. I'd have all my questions written up, and email the family solicitor/barrister with them beforehand. You are blessed that one of your children is over 18; you're almost out of the woods. Count those blessings. Spousal maintenance is much less common, if not rare, in 2022.

    In the meantime, this 2019 article from the Law Society is especially informative, and it put my mind at ease on a number of issues. Do a 'ctrl' and 'f' simultaneously and type in "spousal m" into the pop-up box and you'll get a summary of the state of spousal maintainance in court judgements.

    Also, I'd very strongly recommend that you go to some of the separation/divorce meetups which are on every week in Dublin. There's one on in Clarke's Phibsboro each Monday night (but it finishes next Monday for August, as the courts are also closed for that month), and in the Clayton Hotel in Leopardstown every Thursday night. At the very least, you should get solace from hearing other cases and what happened. I found it particularly helpful to talk to people who have gone through the system and the advice they have.

    1. Northside support group: [I'd give Paddy, Christy or Deirdre a ring there beforehand]
    2. Southside support group:

    Take care of yourself. Really prioritise that. Get out for that routine walk or run. Eat healthily and protect your energy. Develop skills to stop thinking about it (I know it's hard!)

    PS: Divorce makes more sense nowadays than separation (at least for most of us). Wait the two years that our Papist taliban legislators specify (as if we, grown adults, don't know our own marriage is over!) and apply for it as it costs the same pretty much as a judicial separation.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 13,449 ✭✭✭✭antodeco

    Thank you both for the replies.

    My mind is all over the place. I've worked hard my whole life to support my kids and family. I've given them what they wanted and have paid for everything (as is right I was the higher earner).

    It just hurts to have someone treat someone like that after everything. As far as I was concerned, we were (are) very amicable so I'm absolutely blindsided by this.

    Really good idea about the support groups. I think it's really what I need.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,488 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Sorry, but it's not "right" that the higher earner pays for everything. If both partners are working then both should contribute proportionately to their income.

    That mindset might explain why your wife now feels so entitled, so shake it off, and pronto.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Felicitously enough as per Dial Hard's comment I went to a Men's Aid peer support meeting recently and again and again men had the same story. They kept facilitating and dancing around the eggshells for years to keep the peace and for "crumbs of affection" and then when they couldn't take it anymore, all hell broke loose on them.

    The control levers upped many notches, the nastiness, spitefulness and vindictiveness got more intense because, for the first time in the relationship, their spouse was not in control. Every thing, every single thing, was about control. We reap what we sow - we have created an entitled monster and at heart a huge bully in all our years of keeping the head down. We are doubly screwing ourselves in all those years of not wanting to rock the boat (in fairness to the reality, practically everybody was also threatened that if they rocked the boat, they would lose their kids and home). The initial relief all the guys felt at ending it was, in every single case, replaced by more threats and allegations and more fear on their part.

    If you've always been facilitating their control, it gets even worse when you end it, not better, as they are completely disorientated and, as they see it, fighting for their lives in this new world you've initiated. If you are with somebody with control issues, do not leave the family home but document everything, have the record button ready on your phone anytime they approach.... Legally try and get as separate as you can from her and definitely do not agree to share the family home in any "final" settlement because it's a stalling tactic: false allegations and court orders will follow from this sort of control freak as sure as night follows day. This sort of thing does not just happen "other people".

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Get out there and talk to select people. There's often dignity in silence, but there's comfort in hearing other stories and how people dealt with similar issues. It's clichéd that no two cases are the same, but there are certainly huge commonalities when you talk with people who are at various points in the divorce process. Especially at the start, I found advice from people who had gone through the divorce process hugely helpful and spot-on in hindsight.

    But I had to look hard to find them in our society and its backward, ignorant hangups devoid of compassion about marital breakdown. They were all strangers, and I think everybody was more open in that context. So, get out there and meet people who have been on a similar journey.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 13,449 ✭✭✭✭antodeco

    Thanks for the replies.

    I moved out the day she asked me to move out. She asked me not to come home, so unfortunately that's where the house is at the moment.

    There have been allegations put towards me already which are very much untrue. I think that's what actually hurts the most (especially after the emotional abuse/damage I have had). I have suffered with panic attacks and severe anxiety for a few years due to her ongoing behaviour.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The allegations are ten a penny, Anto. Hugely disturbing and designed to attack your honour. Historically, honour has held an enormous role in male identity and psychology, most dramatically symbolised by duelling.

    I mean, you really, really need to contact Men's Aid or some such organisation and you'll realise by listening to other guys in the same room that false allegations are par for the course. Again and again you'll hear variations on the sentence "All the things you think will never happen to you, will happen to you." And they get worse coming up to court decisions on the family home and kids. Indeed, many guys are dealing with it until their kids are old enough to counter the lies and only then she loses the control. Often, by that stage the parental alienation of the child from her/his dad has been in place for years, and those years aren't coming back. That's a bitter pill. But the sooner the kids grow up, the sooner the wives lose control over their ex. Many kids realise later what was done and become much closer to their father, which is the ultimate karma for the mother. There is hope.

    In short, this could be a long road ahead for you and you're going to need to tap into a support network. Men's Aid don't have much funding from the Irish government so their support groups are limited (I had to wait about 4 weeks to get into one). Their helpline is only open 9am to 5pm, Monday - Friday so ring today (Women's Aid helpline is 24/7 with infinitely more funded support groups, God bless the equality agenda!).

    Time for men to start talking and to wise up to the reality that most domestic abuse is psychological and emotional where threats to take their children and home, along with laying false allegations, play the central role in controlling them. In Irish law in 2022, there are no name and shame consequences for anybody who makes false allegations in a family law case. None whatsoever, so false allegations are levelled liberally.

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭asdfg87

    Go to a Doctor get a medical cert and take a Month off. When she and her solicitor realize that their actions are contributing to the problem they may re-think their strategy.

    I expect things would change dramatically if you were both on social welfare, i expect she and the legal people are well aware of this.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    "Go to a Doctor get a medical cert and take a Month off. When she and her solicitor realize that their actions are contributing to the problem they may re-think their strategy."

    On this, ensure it is very clear that the medical cert will not be used to undermine him in a custody battle: "This shows he's not mentally fit to look after the children, Judge".

    My ex suggested I speak with my gp about mental health issues. So, I did. The gp told me to never mind her and to read Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life for a bit of perspective. So, I did. In that book, Peterson advised not to underestimate how much satisfaction many women get from playing the martyr and victim. We make a mistake by judging them by our own standards.

    The gp said there's no need to go further and he wouldn't write me a referral letter. It's called gaslighting, by the way, when they try to imply you're mentally unstable. And be pretty certain they are telling others to undermine your character and portray themselves as victims. But get whatever assessment so you'll have it in the event of court. That's important. Be legally minded about everything until you're out of the woods. In the event you're not the best mentally at that time, then you're much better off getting help. It will destroy you, and be clear about it. So, fight back and mobilise the support networks. But watch her use that against you to attempt to deny you access to your children. Oh, and have something on her mental health, too. Start writing down/recording everything, because you can be sure she is. Oh, and stay alive - especially if you have mortgage protection as she gets everything (including playing the bereaved widow!).

    For some weekend, eh, "entertainment", War of the Roses is now on Disney+ by the way and it's far from the comedy it was in my teenage years!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,488 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Just for a bit of balance, false allegations are, unfortunately, common from both sides. When my ex and I split - and like the OP, I was asked to move out of the house and complied - I was pretty floored to read accusations of abuse and violence in his application for our judicial separation. There had literally never been anything of the sort, we split up because he wanted kids and I didn't. I was so, so upset when I read them and terrified the court would believe them and hold them against me somehow (even though all Irish divorces are no fault). My solicitor assured me that throwing that kind of mud is pretty much par for the course and the courts pay it little to no attention.

    It still (11 years later) puzzles and hurts me that my ex felt the need to go there in what was otherwise a really amicable split. We're still on good terms when we do run into eachother but I've never been brave enough to ask him why he did it. I can only assume it was on the advice of his solicitor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭asdfg87

    Why would an alligagation not be tested in court, this is the weakness and the solicitor in your case said the court takes no heed. If the courts take on a case its their job to take heed and take charge of what they have sighed up for.

    If there is an alligation proved there is a punishment, if it is a false alligation a punishment. The LEGAL PROFESSION including thre JUDGES are a joke in family law in Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭asdfg87

    This arguement doesn't wash as i think he said she is off work because of mental illness so the children will have go into care if what you say is correct.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27 handtight

    Just working my way through these posts and came across this very helpful discussion. I'm intrigued by your comment "you're entitled to half the house.....". I was hoping to proceed with a quickie divorce until I got into discussion with spouse who proceeded to notify me she'd be looking for half the house. Fortunately our kids are adults and there's to debt. I'm wondering if there's any possibility she'd be successful with this claim?

  • Registered Users Posts: 27 handtight

    Apologies for typo! That should have read spouse would be seeking 60% of house.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If she gave money to the house she might be, but there is a thing in Irish law called "presumption of advancement" where such money is considered part of marital assets. (Although, as a family law solicitor pointed out to me, it's one of the few actual laws which are clearly sexist, giving the right to shared assets only to women rather than to men. Despite this, it would lead to a constitutional challenge on equality grounds if a judge were to rule in such a sexist way.)

    So, no, 50/50 is the normal split. If she cries enough and plays the victim enough, you never know what will happen in front of an Irish judge in our shockingly secretive and utterly unaccountable family law courts, though.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 13,449 ✭✭✭✭antodeco

    Coming back on this.

    Divorce was finally settled yesterday on the steps of court, despite months of non-engagemet form her side.

    Good barrister is your desire in these situations. Thankfully it all worked out well in the end (as well as can be when a man in a divorce!). Ultimately what I wanted to get, I got, and she got what she wanted (and a tiny bit more).

    The process was tough. Mental strength is important in these situations. I'd advise people to not be afraid to talk to people. Remember you can only control what you can control