When to access help during a relationship breakdown



While this may be different to my usual content, I've seen so many women, including friends, in less-than-ideal situations once their relationships have broken down, some even being subjected to harassment or abuse from their partner or ex-partner.

The cost of living crisis and the pandemic has worsened many people's living arrangements, I know so many people who are having to share their home with an ex-partner as neither can afford to live separately. I've also seen mothers who have young children being forced to leave their marital home and move in with their parents or friends - however this should always be out of choice, especially if you are a co-owner, there are many legalities that need to be taken into account and if you share a home, especially if there are children involved than the decision of who leaves needs to be well considered and fair. 

When a relationship breaks down it's very easy for the shared home to become somewhat of a toxic space, especially if there are extenuating circumstances that contributed to the breakdown. Even the most civil of breakups can take a toll on people & it's easy to start the blame game, while we all can bare grudges or keep communication to the minimum, it's very easy for this to develop into a form of emotional abuse. 

Often the main child carer will have taken a career break after having children, leaving them possibly more financially vulnerable than their partners, coupled with how expensive childcare is, this can mean during a breakup there can be fewer resources available for women or simply being able to pack up and rent a new place an impossibility. I've witnessed friends in this position and it's hard, even harder when ex-partners are making life hard at home with emotional put-downs, not pulling their weight in the home or causing tension, and rows and having an effect on one's self-esteem. 

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Relationship breakdowns are also of course even more complicated when shared children are involved and even the most rational and compassionate of couples will struggle, there will often be heated debates over shared custody or rights. Divorce and child custody cases may be stressful and emotional, and things can get out of hand if one spouse becomes fixated on hurting the other.

That is why it's really important to get in contact with agencies or legal groups that will give you clear straightforward advice when it comes to your rights. 

1. Know your rights - Rights of Woman is a website packed with free legal advice and have a section dedicated to Rights to your Home and a Guide to Divorce 

2. Deciding what to do when you separate - you may be able to come to an arrangement that works for both parties, perhaps you don't mind coinhabiting for a while or your breakup was mutual. Either way, Citizens Advice can give you advice on your rights, managing money, what to do with your house etc

3. If you are subject to any form of abuse and need to move out urgently for the safety of you and your children then do get in touch with Women's Aid. They can offer advice and help for all aspects of domestic abuse, housing, safety planning and dealing with the police. 

4. If you are really struggling to find a way to move forward and divide your assets or start the divorce procedures and then you need up-to-date advice from a legal professional. Or if have been the victim of a more serious domestic abuse crime then it may be crucial or get legal representation from reputable sex crime attorneys who have experience handling similar cases and can protect your interests.

Any kind of relationship breakdown can be stressful and compounded by how expensive life is at the moment, with the cost of living crisis meaning many couples are forced to live together, whether or not it's for the best. The main thing is that everyone is safe, that the atmosphere is still nurturing for children and that it's a mutual and workable arrangement, however, if it's not then active steps need

There is also a helpline setup specifically for men who are struggling during relationship breakdowns mensadviceline.org.uk

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