Tag Archives: divorce law

Living as a Chattel

Freedom not ownership

The other day I realised that living as a Chattel gave me certain freedoms, ironically as a Chattel by definition is being someone’s property/slave. 

Let’s be clear I do not want to be a Chattel and hate this Victorian law that labels me as my ex husbands property until I remarry, he settles or either of us die (although he can do what he likes).

However there are certain perks, the primary one is I don’t have to be anyone else’s chattel, I can not make the same mistake again. No rushing into marriage or co-habitation for me. My codependent and romantic nature cries out to be some bodies ‘the one’, but my chattel status removes my ability to form a committed relationship, so I don’t have to commit, or worry if I’m sure or doing the right thing and neither does a lover. The stakes are so high I can live in a permanent state of never having to risk being owned by anyone else.

I could remarry and lose the stake in a business I helped set up but I’m not going to give away what’s rightfully mine for a marriage that despite my commitment could be thrown away by someone else’s wandering cock, like last time. I don’t have young children and won’t have more, so the need for marriage isn’t there. I admit my conditioned nature of social norms sometimes dreams of marriage and happy ever after but my chattel status squashes that down to an uncomfortable niggle. People change and I’m not sure if I want to or need to take that risk again. My chattel status gives me (and any lover I have) the perfect excuse to never address the future, to live in the moment. 

When your options are reduced life becomes simpler, freedom? Why would I want that? 

Gay rights will help hetrosexual human rights

Becoming a chattel

 

Two women (or men) fall in love, they are 18 and penniless.

Three years later they marry.

They both work but also start their own business. 

At 27 they start a family and decide that one will give up her career to bring up their family in the way they both want. 

Business goes really well. One works full time while the other rears the growing family and supports her partner in the business. 

At 45 the partner that works in the business full time has an affair and wants to end the marriage. 

Now what do you think happens

Their assets get split equally and both move house.

The partner who has control of the business gets a big mortgage and continues a very lavish lifestyle. The child rearer can not get a mortgage so lives frugally within her means.

But what about the business? The partner that cheated keeps the business while the other now non-skilled partner gets a payment each month from the business. The court decides 4% of the business profit. Which is just enough to live on, the cheating partner gets to keep 96% of a thriving business.

The law dictates that the partner that now owns the business can have intimate relationships and remarry without any consequence. The non skilled partner can only co-habit or remarry if she forgoes her monthly payments from the business (that she helped set up and enabled the controlling partner to succeed at whilst having a family as well). The controlling partner could opt for a final settlement but that doesn’t make financial sense, this way she has a loan that might just dissapear and has no interest.  She also gets to control her ex’s life.

That is the law as it stands today for hetrosexuals. I don’t think gay people will stand for this in their relationships. 

This happens in hetrosexual relationships because in uk law today women are regarded as chattels when they marry.

 

Chattel definition

n.

1. Law An article of movable personal property.

2. A slave.

So you want a divorce? 20 thoughts.

So you want a divorce? Some tips if you have kids on how to keep it amicable from someone who failed. Do as I say not as I do! My biggest regret about my divorce is that we couldn’t keep it amicable. Written from the female perspective as I am, but I’m sure you can adapt it however your relationship is made up and balanced. 

1. Don’t post anything on face book or other media. Delete your account or at least post nothing. Your ex will grow resentment (yes they’ll find it even if blocked), your kids won’t understand that your fun without them isn’t a reflection on them or why you are being snide about dad. If they are young they will see it soon, it’s out there, just don’t. 

2. If you have the money be generous, if you don’t be grateful. Split it in half if it’s been a long marriage. 

3. Make a final settlement, otherwise you (or your new partner) will always resent paying or receiving and not be free.

4. Don’t ask your ex for help, no light bulbs changed or cakes made. It’s over.

5. Try to avoid lawyers, at least as much as possible, you have to legally disclose how much you have  to them and they seem to be able to make their fees exactly that! A good lawyer means one who’s made amicable divorces in the past, not a Rottweiler that will screw your ex.

6. Don’t text, email your ex anything but facts about the kids. No calling them a moron or sending emotional emails about ‘winning’ the divorce. Yep he did!

7. Do text them lots of info about your kids, so they know about sports days, the cat dying and events and what’s going on in their lives. Kids are terrible at coms. Schools are generally pretty hateful and uncommunicative to dads in my experience. 

8. Be prepared to lose most of your friends, don’t worry it leaves spaces to make new genuine ones. 

9. Be final. No getting back together and then splitting. It will break your kids hearts. 

10. Don’t play games and get mean, no starving ex to get them to sign (yes he did), your kids will suffer and you will only look bad. 

11. Don’t stop access to kids, for any reason apart from their safety. Set up a good routine.

12. If you disagree with something for kids, like phones, you can tell that to ex but you can’t stop it. You can’t micro manage their world with your ex anymore than your ex can manage yours. 

13. Try to work around arrangements, lives are complicated but you can say no, sometimes making an ex husband take responsibility for the time he has his children and finding his own care arrangements can help the kids see daddy cares. Try to give notice.

14. If you do alternate weekends try to make it a pick up after school, then whole weekend and drop back to school. That way you get a chance for a proper relaxing weekend without home work and meals to prepare. He gets to do meals, homework and washing with kids and bonds through that (it really is the little things that count), the kids get a great role model of capable dad and the bond is stronger. 

15. Don’t send messages through kids, they get forgotten/missed and the child is drawn into your fight. Try to acknowledge messages politely so everyone knows what’s happening. 

16. Regular child sharing is great, as a woman it was my first taste of freedom for years and I learnt to value it, if you poison your child about ex they will not want to go and you will be exhausted and fed up of asking friends for a favour. 

17. Pay your maintenance when it’s due. 

18. Don’t speak ill of ex, it’s hard as we naturally need to alienate them to allow us to move on, (who wants to moon on about someone whos rejected them!)but your kids love them much as they love you, if you alienate the children have some very confused feelings. 

19. Make your new partner understand that you may not appear to hate you ex, but you will never be together again, reassure them. 

20. Be honest about your assets, including the bullion and the old stamp and the designer number plate. This is the mother of your children. Remember karma. 

Advice to my twenty year old self

As we start a new year I was reflecting what I would tell my twenty year old self inspired by the blogger named twentysomething.

The obvious stuff has pit falls – don’t marry him, but then I wouldn’t have my two lovely children and being what I was, I’d probably have married someone similar. So I’ll try to write advice supporting rather than just say no!

I would tell the young me, you are an adult now, every decision now should be your own, take responsibility for it.

No one else knows what they are doing either.

Don’t let your partners career succeed to the detriment of yours.

He isn’t always right just because he dominates.

Take control of the family finances – even more so if it’s his area of expertise.

When children arrive leave them in his sole care often.

If you think he is having an affair he probably is.

Don’t worry about no sex for five years as you will have an amazing time exploring that area very soon, yes even though you are over forty, men will still find you attractive and you will be amazed at how it feels to make love with someone who loves you.

When he leaves it will be the start, not the end of your life in many ways. Stop crying and play with your children.

Happiness post divorce

The happiest I’ve ever been

After divorce there is a huge pressure from friends and colleagues to fall into the set script of a divorcee.
Friend ‘But you’re happy now aren’t you?’
Divorcee ‘oh yes the happiest I’ve ever been’

I’m not the happiest. Life is hard, although at first my kids coped well there are cracks and massive inconveniences in their lives. Money is difficult, I rely on maintenance (it’s a complicated story basically my ex wouldn’t give me a final settlement from the business we started so he pays in maintenance) this means I’m not free to have a partner in my life so long as I take the money my ex owes me. You can bet my Narcissist ex loves this!

I found love again yet how long will he hang around for a middle aged woman who is not free to be with him? Maybe I’ll get lucky but I think the odds are stacked against us. Whatever happens it’s not his responsibility to make me happy.

I’m often lonely, friends scattered like I was a bio hazard and it’s taking time after being forced to move to a new town without young children to break into new friendships.

Learning makes me happy, coming to an understanding of how I got here, having been spat out the middle class, married professional machine like a sneeze, I’m still a bit disorientated.

I like it here and I wouldn’t go back and wish he had left sooner. But honestly I was happy in the early years before he started going mad with money and power. Admittedly I was happy in my ignorance but with the supreme power of hindsight I see it was not real.

I think real happiness is in making my own choices.

 

marriage with a narcissist

Cohabitation and marriage with a narcissist.

One legal definition of cohabitation is living together as man and wife. So after 25 years of marriage I should be well qualified on what that feels like?

So to me that means a sexless relationship, possibly once or twice a year.

A relationship where I am scared and dominated and kept in my place, a doormat.

It means my cohabitee does whatever he likes, goes away for weeks at a time on ‘boys trips’ that end up in a brothel. Arrives home in the early hours and if I dare to question I’m in the wrong and if I ask again he will be unfaithful as that’s what I deserve for being suspicious.

It means his car is an Aston Martin and top of the range land rover, my car he lends to me is a Clio.

It means he rarely interacts with the children and does not think about their needs.

He doesn’t have any child care responsibilities.

He gets very drunk every Friday night and Saturday night and is too hungover to participate in any weekend family time. If he’s even about.

It means he’s too busy to take phone calls from me or the kids.

It means I am a housekeeper.

A place where I have no financial control.

I was never more alone than when I was married.


So no I do not want to marry or cohabit, I never want to be that person again.

Would you marry again? It’s a feminist issue

Against human rightsWould you marry again? It’s a feminist issue.

I married too young, with no consciousness of the legal contract I was entering. In my simple almost childish romantic youth I thought it was about love, that we were declaring a commitment of love to each other.

I didn’t want the obey words in but had no idea that in the eye of the law what I said was irrelevant. I did not realise I was selling myself as a chattel to this man. Chattel derives from the word cattle, need I say more? I was a moveable possession in law that he took responsibility for. It makes me curious how same sex partnerships will cope with divorce? Will chattel and owner be defined by earning capacity? Or do civil partnerships not have this antiquated law defining them in divorce. If so why can we not have hetro civil partnerships?

Why does it matter? Well apart from human ownership being slavery, it matters in divorce. My ex was given a choice. A final settlement, finishing things nice and cleanly and enabling us both to move on with our lives. Or maintenance payments – effectively an interest free loan with the side effect of him owning me in that should I co habit or remarry he never has to pay the money he owes from the life and business we built together. Guess which my narcisist ex chose?

I don’t believe I had a choice, I could leave with nothing from 25 years of building a life and business together except half the value of our marital home or receive maintenance payments for life that meant I did not have to work on minimum wage. A clean break would have given me the capital to make my own business work for me. Maintenance means a subsistence life, plus what I can earn. I’m in no doubt he could afford the clean break but he wouldn’t give me a clean break. I live in paranoia, it’s in his interest that I die or marry.