Where does a man move to during separation and then divorce? I earn a modest salary and pay a mortgage on the family home (12 years married with 3 children). My wife is a stay at home mum. Toxic relationship, everyone anxious, adversely affecting us all including the children and their behaviour. I need to leave. But I want to make sure I know what I\’m doing before I take this step. I have the option of moving into parents house but would rather not of course. It\’s not exactly conducive to me getting on with my life and eventually forming a new, loving relationship to show as a positive example to my children. The last thing I want to do is sell the house – I believe the children should stay with their mum in the family home. And I don\’t expect a court would rule that anyway. However there\’s no way I can afford to rent a place and continue to pay the mortgage as well. So am I just stuck here in a really uncomfortable situation as I suspect thousands of others are? Any suggestions gratefully received.
This is a difficult one. A solicitor will often tell people under no circumstances should you move out as you are then demonstrating that your housing needs are met other than from the family home and this may prejudice you in future negotiations. However, as you have so articulately described, in real life there are other priorities such as the health and wellbeing of family members, especially the children.
If you are going to stay temporarily then each of you taking turns to move out at weekends and minimise the time you spend together in the home can help. You can move to a co-parenting schedule where you each have different times you are responsible for the children and when its not your turn, you try and stay out of the way. Depending on the size of your house you can try and live separately within it may be re-organising bedrooms or a dining room to create separate space for you. If you are going to move out immediately, then friends and family really are your only option. It’s unlikely the council will help as you would be making yourself voluntarily homeless, but you could try a housing charity. Shelter and Homeless UK both have specialist information for people who are stuck for somewhere to live as a result of divorce. This may be a temporary or longer-term option.
Ultimately, what you really need to consider is finding a longer-term solution to the problem. This means considering what equity is in the family home. Given what you have described, the best scenario is there is enough equity in the house for you to sell the family home, your wife to buy a smaller place outright for her and the children and you to have the remaining equity to put down as a deposit for your own place with a mortgage. The court will probably expect your wife to return to work at some point soon and earn some money to contribute. When she does this, there may be sufficient income from you both to support two homes.
If there isn’t enough money to house both you and your ex then the court may well expect you to sell the family home and both rent using the net proceeds of sale. They would probably say your wife needed more of the proceeds of sale as she does not have a job, but as I have said unless there is a good reason why not, the court would expect your wife to return to work and contribute to her own rent at some point in the future. Council housing or private subsidised tenancy would both be options if you sold up and divided the proceeds of sale. If you want the children to stay put then you have really answered your own question re your parents’ house.