Tag Archives: children

Solicitor needed again

New Year, same rubbish.  A little while ago My ex started receiving letters from the HMRC (it makes a nice change for them not to be addressed to me!) about her benefits.  I know this as it is stamped on the top of the envelope, I didn’t open the mail.  I suspected this meant she was being investigated for fraudulent claims, as they were being made using my home address and of course she moved out 2 years ago.

I smirked at the time but with trepidation.  Any financial loss to her would mean she would turn to me, as has always been the case.  Our arrangement, since the divorce was finalised, has not involved me paying her anything, namely as she cohabits and I pay for everything for the children.  She pays for clothes etc but ones that stay at her address, so I don’t pay for them.  Now, my lovely ex, has decided now she will be hundreds of pounds worse off each month I should be paying her maintenance.

Luckily, I have been expecting this to surface at some point so I am well prepared to fight my battle.  Chiefly, the fact that she pays NOTHING towards the house that still bears her name, and nothing towards any bills for it or the children.  There are many other factors to include, but they would bore you.

Sadly, this means a solicitor.  More money to pay out, I am always paying out one way or another.  I am hoping to call her bluff before it gets as far as legal entities but knowing her she will push it.   I am reasonably confident she doesn’t have a leg to stand on but should the worse happen and I have to pay her money (for what I have no idea as I am the primary parent) it will actually finish me off.

As you all know, I have done very well with the debt and budgeting with any spare cash.  If this spare cash is then removed, and this is no exaggeration here, I will be left with absolutely nothing.

I am not going to stand for it though, I will fight and delay anything that I have to.  I am sick of her attracting money and swanning around taking from people, it simply has to stop at some point.   The problem with someone who always gets what she wants is she never expects to lose.  She may get a shock with this one.

My children are well looked after and want for nothing, they live in a nice home and have been shielded from her affair and walking out, and from my financial despair.  They are happy, healthy children and I have been on my own with them for 4 years being the solid base.  Sadly, she fails to recognise this, no shock there, it is ALWAYS about what she feels she is entitled to.  Let’s be honest, she works 2 days a week for her boyfriend.  She could easily get off her arse and get a proper job but then why would she?  She gets a free house, no bills or debt left and a 13K car to drive around in.

Nope, I am not rolling over on this one nor will I raise my voice and get angry about it.  I am going to remain perfectly calm and take care of everything in the background.  She really hates it when she is not in control.

It would be nice to start this year with a win for me and for her life to start to take a downward turn.

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Each day is another step forward

A major part of being in major debt and dealing with an affair, and the subsequent split/divorce, is that you are always looking to make improvements.  When my life was stable, as in I was happy and with manageable standard debt like credit cards, I just took life as it was.   Having your life largely controlled by external factors doesn’t just change you emotionally, it changes your whole way of acting.

A large part of every week is looking for improvements that will lead to a saving of some sort, small and large savings all help.  Sometimes I get a result, this week I have saved 25% off my council tax yearly bill after the local council conceded that I do in fact live alone.  I have been trying for 2 months to prove this, made difficult by the fact my ex is still on the mortgage and electoral role.  A fact that is changing next year by the way.   A fantastic saving though that will help me enormously.

This is another example though of a saving that helps not just me, but my children.  Every extra penny gives us a better life, or as better a life as I can give them.

My competition entering continues to go well, another 3 kids prizes won this week.  Makes the effort worth it.

I often wonder where my week has gone.  I spend the week working, being a dad, entering competitions, following up ways to get in extra money (PPI claims, Financial Ombudsman are 2 good examples), and online shopping around.  Oh and Ebay, a way of making money and finding things you want at a fraction of the cost.

I do hate it though, I would love a life of not having to do this.  It takes a lot of work, but the rewards make it worth doing.  Perhaps I miss out some things I like but not all, and at least I get my children 4 nights a week.

I read a lot of other debt related blogs, and I know they read this one.   The biggest fact I had to learn quickly was not to sit and break down.  It is unlikely you will ever get out of it by sitting and praying for a miracle, so look for ways to make it better.   Savings and advice will always help.  You might not like some of things you have to do, for example my Insolvency decision, but if it can you through the other side then never worry about people’s opinions.

You can never stop feeling ashamed by your situation, just don’t dwell in it.

Happy Halloween – NOT

Ah Halloween, a night of kids dressing up and multiple knocks on the door.  Up to this year, I love it.  It’s fun, and fills the house with sweets for a month!  But not this year.

I have been excluded you see, the children’s mother booked things for them to do in her new area and then was very kind enough to ‘ask me’ in front of them, meaning I couldn’t actually say no as they were already excited.  A cruel emotional blackmail of a trick, but it is the seasons of tricks is it not?

I was intending to work late, and blank it completely but why should other kids miss out.  So, I bit the bullet and bought a mountain of sweets ready for the door knockings to begin.  Nice night for it too, which is typical!

This is my first Halloween without the kids, but I am positive it will not be the last.  My children, despite their young age, are very wise.  Today they phoned me and said they had made a decision that next year will be with me, bless them!   So that gives me exactly 12 months to plan the single greatest house decoration of all time.  It will be immense!

But enough of my bitterness, I truly hope you all have a marvellous Halloween and your kids look great as little witches and vampires.   We don’t know each other, we just read each other’s blogs, but if your kids knock my door then plenty of sweets await.

Until next year then…………..

Single parenting is a balancing act

Wow, what a week.  Utterly flown by, made harder by the children being off for Half Term.   Co-ordinating this event is hard enough as I have to work out where I will be with work, whether the ex-wife can accommodate, what the kids want to do and it goes on.  I used to love Half Term when in a stable relationship, it was a chance to have family time.  Now, it’s more about balancing everything to make sure the kids have a nice time.

However, balancing is only done on my part.   It hasn’t just been work this week, I have had a mountain of paperwork to do for this meeting today, I have also had to have painful dental work and of course, do my job!   It has been co-ordinated well until yesterday when my son had to finish his football early to attend a party in the afternoon.  It seems asking my ex-wife to head out on her lunch hour to collect him and drop him back to me was apparently as impossible as re-inventing the wheel.  All I need sometimes, is a little help.

I take my job as a parent very seriously, even more so since being a single parent.  As much as you think you do a great job though, there are still times you need help.  It is simple impossible to do everything yourself, there are just never enough hours in the day and there will always be timing clashes.

I have always been careful to make sure work has not been affected and I am incredibly lucky (not a word I use often with my life!) to be able to work from home a few times a week.  Sometimes, my worlds do come close to colliding though.

What else I find amazing, is the perceived roles of a single parent.  I will do anything for my kids but my ex will do the glory days but I am still expected to pay for everything major.  I am never tight, but it was her decision to leave and the children are ultimately both of our responsibilities, expect for the bills it seems?

I need to be clear, I am not here to slate my ex wife but I am here to give everyone a clear vision of what it is like to balance being a single dad, and to try and achieve everything on very little money.  So my point is when did it become the responsibility of one parent to do all admin, all bills, all treats and be the voice of reason?

I am mid life now, this is not how I envisioned my life to be at this stage.   My children are as happy as they can be now though, and miss out on nothing.  But the more I try and resolve this debt, and the busier my job gets I need to start getting some real help or the balance of work v family will ultimately fail.

Family Portraits

We have concentrated a lot on debt recently, for good reasons, but this blog is also about divorce.

Half Term next week, so a week off for the kids from school.  When they break up from school they bring home all their projects, PE kits, etc.  Always nice to read through them and see what they have been working on.

My son has always been closer to his mother.  This is totally natural in a boy, also he is quite young.  Admittedly over the last year though, he has definetly become closer to me but I always expect drawings and writings to predominantly feature his mother.   As stated before, whatever the cause of the breakup you must never speak untoward of the children’s mother – as much as you would love to!

Checking through his pictures, his recent project was family.  Instant dread of course, but it was an interesting insight this time.  All the pictures, entitled ‘familee’ (sic) still contain only 3 characters.   We have touched on this before of course here, but this was a specific project.  He has to write as well this time.

My daughter has been quite vocal about the breakup with multiple questions, but my son has always been quiet about it.   But evidently, he is well aware and has many questions of his own.   The difference between this set of drawings and the last is it includes location.  If you check the drawing of the house, it is actually split in two.   One side is my side, one side is his mother’s.  It is actually quite clever.

Above my side is the sun, over hers is the rain.  Interesting isn’t it?

I don’t have the children much this weekend, last night my son gave me a hug and asked if he had to go tomorrow.  I said it was up to him but I can see he knows he has to go, he doesn’t want to upset his mum.

Being the stability and strength for my children is paramount, it is also why I have never let the sceptre of debt interfere in their lives.  I go without so they don’t have to.

I do not give moral advice, but anyone reading this think carefully before doing something you regret.   If you have children, they will be affected.  Not just talking about splitting up a family here, families split for genuine reasons other than a marital affair and sometimes it is unavoidable.   Just let them be children, where fairies and magic exists.  Adult traumas must not intertwine, a child should remain child as long as they can.

The adult world is not a great place to be.

christmas fear begins

Anyone else worried about Christmas yet?

I have always loved Christmas, nor really sure why, it is just a happy time of year.  Prior to this year, I always managed to keep a little bit of money back in a Christmas savings account so that my children had what they wanted.  But this year…

I have not managed to save anything obviously, due to the constant demands for my money.   I have been lucky enough to win a couple of gifts for them, but the lists arrived yesterday.  Handed to me by two excited children to hand to Santa.

I read that note to Santa and felt that instant dread, as I can barely afford any of it.  However, I have never been a father who won’t do anything to provide for them.  So, it may be the time to sell one of my beloved possessions, which forms a large part of my ‘secret hobby’.  An expensive item but something I have managed to hold on to, but it may be that I have to back down and get the cash.

I haven’t stopped entering thousands of competitions in the hope I win some toys.  But it isn’t just for my children, I have nieces and nephews too.   For the first time in my life, I am not looking forward to Christmas at all.

The sceptre of Debt affects every walk of your life, it is always there.  You now constantly worry about major events, events like Christmas, birthdays, celebrations, school trips and then your own household bills, social life and so on.

I still have 2 months but I am expecting more brown envelopes soon.   Whatever happens, I will do my absolute best to make this Christmas wonderful for them.

Sometimes the truth has to wait

As a parent, I would never lie to my children.  It is important not to do that, and it teaches them a valuable life lesson – in my opinion.   However, there is an agreeable difference when it comes to divorce as there are some details that you have to swallow as an adult.

Some questions are easy to answer, an example from my daughter “why do adults get married if they only divorce?”.  This is a perfectly acceptable question from a child who has watched her parents spilt up.  It’s a tricky one, answered with cliché answers of “sometimes adults just fall out of love, but we still love you very much”

And there is my issue, you simply cannot answer truthfully can you?  “Sorry darling, but mummy was naughty and decided she didn’t want us to be a family”.  And why can’t you answer this way?  Well, quite simply, because children have a perfect view of the world so I am forced to swallow the truth and anger and reply in the most mature way I can.

That’s life isn’t it, you protect the children and their innocence.  When it comes to an affair, one adult must always maintain a safe supportive demeaner, whilst the other one waltzes around stating bizarre sentences which only confuse the children.  One classic from my ex is:

“mummy and daddy will always love each other, but mummy loves someone else more”.

Brilliant, and I am trying to refrain from sarcasm in my blog, but it is obvious that all questions should be put through me for filtering!

One day, the children will be old enough to demand the answers and they shall receive them.  Despite what my ex put me through I will never slate her, as she is their mother.  But rest assured, the anger I have for everything will never rest.  The kids will then make their own balanced decisions, and I can rest easy knowing I did nothing to influence this.

Tricky being an adult isn’t it?

Never under-estimate the power of a dog

Up to 3 years ago I never owned a dog, nor wanted to actually.  But if I had wanted a dog, it would have been a miniature sausage dog.  Not very manly no, but I thought they were ace.

About 6 months after the discovery of the affair, and with the ex staying elsewhere a lot, she randomly turned up one day with a  dog as a “present for me”.  Despite the quite obvious fact it was a guilt gift, my reply was not a “thank you” but more of “what the hell am I going to do with a dog?”  There was too much upheaval already, a dog would only add to the issues.  After all, I didn’t know what was going to happen with the house.

However, the dog cage door opened and out trotted a puppy.  Not just any puppy, but a miniature daschund.  And then it happened, he walked up to me and looked at me.  What could I do?  I admit I loved him immediately, and we bonded quickly.  The children adored him and he adored them.

My mindset then changed, this wasn’t a bad thing.  My children were smiling and giggling, chasing and being chased by the dog.  He was also amazing company for me, as I had become quite lonely very quickly.  If you are used to living with someone for a large amount of time, when they leave you feel a loss.

In the last 3 years, the dog has made the house a home again.  He is awesome, I don’t mind admitting it.  He has listened to many a moan from me, watched endless episodes of Breaking Bad by my side and often gone for walks to help me clear my mind.

Now I wouldn’t be without him, but I find it sad the children miss him terribly when they stay at their mother’s new house.  She made a fateful error of buying another sausage dog to stay there but the children love their one.  When they come home, the dog rushes to the door and the kids rush to him and they roll on the floor together.

Whilst an animal cannot ever replace the family unit for children, the unrequited love between them fills a void.   It was a godsend for me, I had spent ages wondering what I could do to re-assure my children that everything would be ok.  What is lovely though is going in their bedrooms and seeing photos of the dog by their beds, or hand drawn pictures of him.  He also appears in school drawings!

I believe the children have associated the dog with the house, and in turn – security.  The dog represents a loving playful welcome and he is ultra protective of them, so they feel safe.

So don’t discount the joy a pet can bring, I certainly did and was so pleasantly surprised.   They say a dog is a man’s best friend and at this current time, he is mine.

Your children’s doodles can tell you a lot

At the end of each school day, when I have the children, I empty their school bags.  Out comes the rubbish but mostly it is letters or homework.   Same for every parent.

However, you children’s drawings can tell you a lot on how they see things.  It so happened the project for my son this week was to make a mini book called ‘My Family’, which immediately makes me very nervous.  It makes me nervous as I am a father who just wants his children to be happy and I guess I worry there may be something bad in the drawings.

The book was yet another eye opener.  You see, my son has always been a mummy’s boy although not as much as he used to be.  I would never discourage my children’s love for their mother, nor bad mouth her, as much as I would LOVE to!  His little book was 6 pages of how he perceives his family and his home.  Cheerfully entitled My Famile (sic), the book opened up to a picture of 3 people.  2 females, a male and the dog!  My heart sank but I read the rest of the book anyway, which showed the house and his favourite parts which was pretty much his bedroom and his FIFA game!

But I was too quick to assume, my son wanted to describe the book.  The drawings  were not of 2 females and a male, they were himself holding his sister’s hand, and the tall person was me.  I did well to keep my composure as he described that this was his family NOT mummy.

He is so young but wise enough to distance his mother from the house set up.  Nobody has prompted this either, I just assumed he would be closer to his mum.   He then informed me that being home with me makes him feel safe.

In a divorce or the break up of parents, we fail to spot that children form their own assumptions and reasons on how things are.  The most important thing is not to lie, but you can choose to withhold facts as the truth will only cause upset.  And, as proven today, your children will make their own mind up and tell you in ways you can never expect.

Keep an eye on those doodles if you want to understand what your children are thinking, they can tell you a lot.

Children know more than you think

I am often , asked, when I found out about the affair did you throw her out etc?  well no, it’s not as easy as that is it?  Let me clarify, if you don’t have children then it is, but if you are a parent, nope.   Through anything like this, you must consider the children.  From my own bad experience though, one parent will actually practise that, the other will just do the glory parenting.  Glory parenting, means anything you can post to social media that makes you look good.

The impact of when everything came out was immense however, I was massively worried about the kids.  Who wouldn’t be?  It was my worst nightmare, a broken family.  But, as everything came out, I was forced to put on a fake smile most of the time and continue trying to act normal.  What we, as parents, perhaps don’t realise is that the children already know something is wrong.

As people began to talk to me about what she had been up to, as did evidence come up that the children knew.  They had one outlet for their questions and confusions, and that was their nana.  It was from here I found out the kids had been worried for a while about what their mum was doing.  Bless them, too scared to speak to me as to not upset me.  They are very young too, so impressive that they are already socially aware.

Since that day, I have been forced to bite my tongue and do things I have not wanted to do.  I have to include family events in this where normality is the key.  However, it is tricky to force back the hatred for someone you used to love, the hatred not for the affair but for being the sole reason out family has broken up.

Only recently have they started staying with her and her other half, in his house.  So many questions, which I answer.  But you know what, one fatal error on her part was telling the kids they were going to be staying there, and NOT asking what they wanted to do.

I see that one blowing up at some point.

My point in this is though, don’t put off something that isn’t right just because you are worried about the impact on the kids.   If the signs have been there, they have seen them.  Be the strong parent, the one they look to for ‘security’.  This means dealing with your anger and resentment, and answering things honestly.

In short, you have to be an adult.