Gaps in the Laws or misogynistic social beliefs, discrimination and a broken system.
Seeking legal advice. The first piece of information that you might give to a woman who has disclosed to you that they have been threatened, intimidated, humiliated and verbally abused by an Ex-partner before he left her.
Let me tell you how difficult it was to actually get any advice.
It was September 2020 the year of the COVID pandemic. The Ex had left on the 24th of September after being in Spain with me from the 25th of August.
Timetable of events.
25th August – His arrival – collect from the airport and drive him home.
26th August – He wants to talk about his transformation. The NLP Hypnotherapy experience he had the weekend before flying out to be with me. He offers me the same opportunity to have this “transformation”. He even tells me he will pay for the coaching, flights back to the UK, a hire car and hotel accommodation. He would be with me while I spent two days going through the same therapy coaching.
WHY? I was wondering to myself.
Well, he told me, so that I could have the success in business that I always wanted.
27th August – We are entertaining friends that evening. As soon as the friends leave, he wants to have a nightcap and sit on the seats on the porch. Then he says something that sends alarm bells ringing and red flags waving.
What did he say?
“I’ve got something to tell you”
A phrase I heard before on the 27th of December 2017 led to his “entitled” confession of a supposed affair that he had started in November 2017. A woman he knew in 2009 the same year as I had met him. He called this woman Katrina from Sheffield he referred to her as his “Wednesday Girl”. I remember the very long and loud scream that I let out after what he had said actually sank in. A normal reaction apparently according to a medical worker I have since spoken to.
The next three sentences out of his mouth that night were.
“I’m in love with another woman. We can remain friends if you want to remain friends. We just can’t have sex anymore”
Anger came first.
That was it, the bombshell had been dropped. But this time I did not stand up and scream. I walked away, I didn’t react in front of him. My intuition told me to not show the raw emotion.
Anger came first. When I walked into the kitchen, I slammed my mobile down onto the glass table it bounced onto the floor. I quickly picked it up, thinking to myself, no don’t break that you need it. I walked into the end bedroom and released some of the anger by repeating three times as I punched my fist into the door frame, you bastard, you fucking bastard.
That evening lasted well into the early hours as I went through a few truths and life events. I told him he was repeating the same mistakes of his past. He had of course told me his past when we had first met. I didn’t see the warning signs or the red flags.
How things unfolded
29th August – He sent me a letter via email with some figures for me to consider. He tells me he is selling the Spanish house and also his UK property. But will help me to own a home in Spain and have a monthly income. I talked on the telephone to the transformation coach that he had done the therapy with before he arrived in Spain.
30th August – I arranged for an agent to value the property. The house is put on the market.
The agents bring clients to the property before a contract is even signed.
4th September – I am threatened and intimidated by the Ex. He walks into the bedroom. He shouts in my face, he has had feedback from the agent, and I’ve said something negative to her clients. I had answered a question and told the truth. Now the Ex was telling me, He was in control. Not to fuck with him. He could throw me out onto the streets.
12th and 13th September – I’m left alone in the house for a few days and the Ex GP Hypnotherapist NLP practitioner agreed to do the coaching/transformation over Zoom for two days. I have emailed my reply to the figures that he sent to me on the 29th of August. My financial proposal which is different to his.
My Financial Proposal
15th September – We agree to a meeting to discuss my financial proposal. I made a request to have the meeting recorded. Mainly because the Ex is now angry at me. He has seen a GoFundMe page in which I put my ideas for raising funds in order to start a retreat business at the property. At the meeting, he shuts off any discussion in the first sentence.
He launches into a 26-minute one-sided verbal onslaught of “what he wants and what he needs” and what he is prepared to do. I have no say whatsoever. Plus he tells me “I can not negotiate a gift”
In that recording, there is intimidation, threats, humiliation, anger, violent rage, verbal abuse, projection and gaslighting. As the mask flies off.
When he asks me, “Questions” I can not even think straight. One thought that I have already had was, oh! I’ll just kill myself should I, in response to his ranting about “I want this over”.
So despite him saying he wanted a friendly amicable ending that did not happen. He was drinking heavily and smoking homegrown cannabis every day. I was trying to stay out of his way.
First Legal Advice
It was four days after he left that I received the first legal advice by email. I had called a number of local solicitors but none could help they did not deal with the issue I needed legal advice. I had even called the solicitor who had helped us to get our NIE numbers but never got any callback.
The advice I received is that if this is your home and where you live permanently no one can evict you from the property even the owner without a court order. I was given the helpline number for Domestic Abuse and told that there are English-speaking advisors. I should remain in the home.
Second Legal Advice
I visited the office of a local solicitor. I have the long email from the Ex dated the 5th of October and the recording on my mobile from the 15th of September. The solicitor understands English. The legal advice I received here was to file a gender violence complaint. I was shocked at this advice, I thought maybe he could write to his solicitor, I even asked him if he could write to his solicitor in order to negotiate. He repeated the legal advice in which he told me that I would be appointed free legal representation, there is also monetary assistance and psychological help. I paid him for the legal advice and left the office.
The 5th of October Email
This is not the legal advice I thought I would receive. However, after reading the 5th of October email sent from the Ex I had to come to the realisation that I had in fact been in a relationship with an emotionally and psychologically abusive person, someone who is dominant and controlling but also had conditioned me or groomed me from the start. It was not about how the relationship had ended it was about how the relationship had unfolded. I was not aware of the hidden forms of abuse, or the behaviours I had experienced. The impact of this realisation was even more traumatic than how he ended our relationship. I could now see how he twisted things, projected feelings and emotions, denied responsibility, and pushed the blame onto me.
There was a long list of things that for me stood out as fabrications reframing the narrative or outright lies, projection and gaslighting. Lots of red flags.
I made the huge mistake of writing an email to the enemy. The legal advice I had received from the two other solicitors. I had of course told the ex-partners solicitor I preferred negotiation and cooperation I did not want to file any complaint.
Third Legal Advice
I received a reply from what was our legal representative who was now his legal representative. The reply I receive from this solicitor tips me over the edge and I am alone in the house. After reading his email I have a panic or anxiety attack. I do not trust myself with my own safety. Afterwards, I made a call to the Samaritans in Spain I was on that call for nearly an hour.
So his solicitor was warning me that I should be careful about making a Gender Violence complaint and be sure about my facts. As he said there is a “stream” of colleagues that are keen on taking any problem for couples married or in partnership, through this option to denounce just with no real facts. And I could be prosecuted if I made a false denounce.
I have no rights
The solicitor explains that in Spain the law is different to the UK. I’m told there is no right for any time that couples live together. He has seen these issues before, and I’m told that I would be surprised at a settlement where a woman had been 20 years living together.
Despite the fact that my partner had always said it was our first home together. It was his house, my name did not appear on the deeds. Apparently from the moment that I was asked to leave I became “precario” in law having no legal right to stay there.
Yet the first legal advice was not to leave and to negotiate.
So his lawyer is saying it is his house and I don’t think anyone will discuss this point. And in some time you will be asked to leave the house and, if not voluntarily, then the Judge will order to do it by force. Is this what you want?
Of course, I did not want to be forced out of the property.
He had already threatened me before he left that this was what he would do.
“I could be thrown out onto the streets”, and he could “throw my fucking suitcases out of the fucking door.” I was left in a state of shock and fear. Why and how could my ex-partner be treating me like this?
The solicitor also advised me to make a proposal. Well, I had made a proposal I sent it to the Ex on the 12th of September but that did not work. I did not reject or refuse the one that the Ex had written which his solicitor seemed to think I had. On the contrary, I made a request to discuss things because I had zero income and he was about to leave me with nothing. Besides he had also paid for the coaching supposedly to help me to have the success in business that I always wanted.
It Was A Generous Offer
The Solicitor stated that he had made a generous offer. It was but I had already experienced the financial manipulation and the way he used money as a weapon I had not forgotten January 2018 and him making his decision to pay money into my UK Business bank account and then humiliate and belittle me during an angry rant that he started while I was with him in York in February 2018 on that morning he said that I did not have enough money to buy paper to wipe my backside with. So his solicitor was telling me I needed to decide if I wanted an agreement or wanted to leave in some time with no agreement.
I was shocked by the email from this solicitor. He had assumed that the solicitor whom I had spoken with was going to benefit financially from the legal advice he had given me, which was a false assumption on his part. Now I’m thinking what type of solicitors would do this to vulnerable individuals who are seeking help?
What this solicitor was telling me was that unmarried, de facto relationships and cohabiting women have “no rights”. True or not the main reason is due to discriminatory beliefs around the roles and value of women as housewives, mothers and caregivers. It does not matter how long the woman has been in a relationship the man can walk away and not take any responsibility and does not need to pay any financial settlement. Effectively the law will side with the man who is the owner and the women will be made homeless and left financially devastated.
Yet no one asks the questions.
Why does he do that? What type of man leaves his ex-girlfriend or partner in a vulnerable situation at the end of their relationship? No one questions whether this is a “Gender Violence” eviction.
Post-Separation Economic Power and Control Wheel
When looking at the post-separation economic power and control wheel researched by Jenn Glinski, University of Glasgow (2021) Perpetrators of intimate partner violence often use various methods to seek revenge and punish or control ex-partners after the relationship or marriage has ended.
For example, looking at issues that affect older women where there are no children together utilising the various headings.
(Ab)Using court processes
Purposely using court processes, this can cover property settlements, and many other litigations in civil and criminal courts including eviction.
Making her pay his legal fees and court costs
Depleting her savings and income
Manipulation of Institutions
Using loopholes in legislation, providing false court statements, vexatious litigations
Coercion and Threats
Threats of going to court, threats of being thrown onto the streets,
Threats to leave her with no financial support.
Using Emotional Abuse
Causing emotional distress over finances, shaming and blaming her reduced finances,
projecting his lack of empathy and compassion, verbal abuse and name-calling
Intimidation and Harassment
Using anger and rage to intimidate and silence the victim
Stalking her social media to use against her to claim harassment
Refusing to negotiate or mediate. Changing agreements at the last moment, either reducing the settlement or changing the terms of what has already been agreed.
These are just my experiences there may be many more that older women may have gone through. If you have been in a cohabiting de facto relationship as an older woman I would love to hear your experiences of how your relationship ended, good or bad. What I’m looking for is the contrast between the end of a healthy relationship and the end of a toxic (abusive) relationship.
You can contact me via Twitter or Facebook
A Word Of Caution – Property is a Substantial Asset.
The property that de facto spouses live in during their life together is often a substantial asset, and couples should openly discuss situations regarding that asset on dissolving the relationship. Women should have some automatic protection under the law. However, in the absence of these automatic protections couples should consult a family law lawyer for advice and to avoid ambiguous situations at the end of a relationship and protect the rights of both parties beforehand.
In my situation, it did not seem to matter that I had a written letter of proof that the property was intended to be sold and split 50/50. There was zero attention paid to the discussion which took place which was recorded in which the now ex was telling me what he wanted what he needed and what he was prepared to do. There was also no evidence presented in the Verbal Hearing in the Civil Court for “precarious eviction”. The fact that I had been named in his will as the sole beneficiary to the property if the worst would have happened was not considered relevant.
So although a provision was made for the property asset on his death, there was no legal provision made if he was to walk away from the relationship.
On the balance of convenience
When the balance of convenience favours the defendant. The only inconvenience for the plaintiff (the ex) was a financial one. He had moved into another home, he married his new girlfriend. He also sold his UK property for just over £400k. The inconvenience for the defendant (AKA Me) who now has no assets and no income and suffers from flashbacks and trauma, would be much more serious. If I was forced out of the property through precarious eviction with no means to pay for a rental home and had to leave the location where I’ve felt safe and secure for a number of years. Then a court can force me to pay his legal costs on the litigation he started because HE refused negotiations and cooperation and kept moving the amount of the settlement or the terms of the agreements.
So de facto spouses really do need to enter into agreements in order to organize their financial relationships during cohabitation. And to provide for any situations in the consequences of a potential breakdown of the relationship.
Insecurity Of Tenure
Women are obviously more vulnerable to the insecurity of tenure in de facto relationships. Their partners are more than likely to be the main income earners. They may have sole control of the finances and sole control of the assets. Women are more likely to be dependent on his income. The partner’s girlfriend might make direct and indirect contributions to the home. None of her contributions are taken into account if an ex-partner goes to the Civil Court to enforce “Precarious Eviction”.
Unjust enrichment occurs when Party A confers a benefit upon Party B without Party A receiving the proper restitution required by law. This typically occurs in a contractual agreement when Party A fulfills his/her part of the agreement and Party B does not fulfil his/her part of the agreement.
In this particular case, the defendant (the woman) argued “Unjust Enrichment” against the Plaintiff the former partner that she had been in a de facto relationship with for 32 years.
QUOTE: “the plaintiff argued that he was the sole owner of the residence, as evidenced by the title. The defendant raised the issue of unjust enrichment resulting from the family obligations that she had had to bear, leaving her unable to work while the plaintiff was free to invest in his increasingly successful career.”For more resources on legal issues post separation check my shop page here.
Read More: Prima facie Case
This Superior Court of Quebec judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s injunction in the context of a de facto union will certainly be significant for the advancement of the rights of de facto spouses, as it allows a former de facto spouse without minor children to stay in a residence for which she has no title of ownership at the time of the interlocutory injunction. May 2021,
In my situation I had tried to negotiate a resolution before and after he left. I paid for three different legal firms to try mediation from October 2020 to May 2021. I had tried to talk with him and have an adult conversation or discussion but nothing worked.