Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oh, good. Another one about my mother.

Apologies in advance for length.

I’ve been studiously avoiding my mother since Christmas. This makes me both very happy (no mother! Woo!) and slightly guilty (Fifi Sis gets all the gubbins. Boo). However, mother has now thrown a large spanner in the works by instigating (potentially) her own financial downfall, and wanting to discuss it in detail with everyone.

A bit of background for anyone who’s still reading despite this being another post about my mother:

My mother and stepfather divorced over ten years ago. My stepfather is, um, extremely rich. When my stepfather (who I am not, by the way, generally sympathetic towards – the man was a violent, alcoholic bully who made various people’s lives a misery for a good few years) tired of my mother and decided he would rather marry the colleague he’d been doing for some months, my mother set to work on the divorce settlement. She came out of it with a Spanish villa, a lump sum and a monthly alimony payment, which was to be paid to her for life (out of my stepfather’s estate should he be selfish enough to die first).

Fast-forward to the present day.

Mother, for reasons known only to herself, wrote to my stepfather to inform him that she has, ahem, met a man (we will cover this in a separate post. Probably). Would this affect the settlement, she wondered? Somewhat reasonably, my stepfather wrote back to say that yes, it probably would. He explained that he had been paying her monthly for over ten years now, and that, frankly, it was becoming a bit of a stretch. Would she agree to a lump sum payoff, or perhaps less money?

At this point, mother went into a flat spin. I will now present, for your delight, a paraphrasing of the monologue she launched into when I gritted my teeth and returned her call this afternoon:

….so I went to the Citizen’s Advice, and I asked them what could I do? I mean, at least I’ve got a car now that I’m happy to keep [mother buys a brand new car every time the new registration comes out] but I’ve got three holidays to pay for. And it’s not that he can’t afford it, he was on £massive salary when he left ***. And I looked in the estate agents today and his house [in Gloucestershire. Mother lives in Essex] must be worth at least £number plucked wildly from the air. I expect it’s all in offshore accounts though. And the letter had obviously been dictated to him by a solicitor as it was full of long words he wouldn’t be able to spell [stepfather was deputy chairman of a multinational company when he retired. I expect knowing how to spell wasn’t very important or anything ]. And when I rang the solicitor the girl on reception didn’t seem very interested but once I told her I was getting three thousand pounds a month from my ex-husband she soon found the senior partner for me. And it’s all very well him changing his will, but all it means for me is that when he dies I’m left with nothing! Nothing! And I’ve got three holidays to pay for. All I’d have left is £reasonable amount of money a month! And he’s been paying me three thousand pounds! A month! And once he’s dead it all stops! I mean, it’s hardly fair……

……and on and on and on and on and on. For fifteen minutes. I interrupted once to ask how her recent MRI scan went and she had almost completely forgotten about it, pausing only briefly to tell me it went ok (dammit) before talking about the money again.

I’m sure they just LOVE that “three-thousand-pounds-a-month” stuff in the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.


(Cue vague terror that mother will google "three thousand pounds a month alimony" and find this blog)


Anonymous Beth chimed in with...

It's a wonder she can get by on that measly sum. She can probably only afford (gasp!) one or two manicures a week, and I see she's already suffering with only three vacations planned.

For goodness' sake. But it sounds like ex-sf should have to continue paying in compensation for being a general nitwit.

18 January, 2007 20:38  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I feel her pain.

Poor ducky.

18 January, 2007 23:24  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I feel her pain.

Poor ducky.

18 January, 2007 23:29  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

sweet god, what a nightmare of a woman. i am so sorry. people like that should be outlawed.
you and sis might quietly see about arranging an estate administrator for her, or at least coming to an agreement about her arrangements for the long term. the sooner you prepare for that stuff the better and if you can present a united front you save a lot of turmoil.

19 January, 2007 03:45  
Blogger Billy chimed in with...

3 holidays a year???

19 January, 2007 11:37  
Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

Hang on. Why did she contact him in the first place and tell him about new partner? I would have just kept schtum. I feel exhausted after reading all that. Philip Larkin was so right - I sympathise. I have a lonely, controlling, hypochondriacal mother who drives me nuts most of the time.

19 January, 2007 11:54  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

Fucking hell.

My sister works for the CAB and...words fail me. Lets just say the people she deals with are slightly worse off.

£3000 a month. That is so much money that I cannot fathom.

However, from my own experience I believe we were put on this earth to absorb the increasingly demented outpourings that come from our mothers' mouths. That's how I handle my own probelms anyhow.

19 January, 2007 13:38  
Anonymous fidel chimed in with...

Lets see, £3k a month after tax well thats um a salary of around £50k per year- for being married to a twat ten years ago. Not bad- what makes me get up every day?

19 January, 2007 13:45  
Blogger Wyndham chimed in with...

I don't get out of bed for less than three grand a month.

You see, it's this kind of post that the interweb was invented for. Brilliant.

19 January, 2007 13:52  
Anonymous Princess Al-Sultana Satsuma Hatton Cross chimed in with...

OK, the legal team at MI5 tells me this:

10 years ago (when your M divorced), settlements to wives were calculated primarily on a "reasonable needs" basis i.e. any money "left over" after the W's reasonable needs had been met would go to the H. [Fair, huh?]. One third to the W was the general starting point.

Since then, there have been seminal cases deciding that, where the couple is wealthy enough to have cash to spare after reasonable needs have been met, actually the starting point should be a 50:50 split of marital assets (hurray! Feminism rules EXCEPT in Scotland).

Assuming that your M was married to your sf for quite a long time - and they weren't living in Scotland just before divorcing- she could well be being UNDERPAID.

If either party goes to court for a variation, it is likely that new man's income would not be taken into account unless your Mother is actually getting more than half of sf's money on the basis of need (highly unlikely, given the amounts involved).

She should pay to see a solicitor for proper advice.

It's all v well focusing on the £3k per month to your Mother but how much per month is that leaving the sf from a pot that might have been built up equally by both of them?..... (which is the current House of Lords' view of marriage as an equal partnership).

Is it more than £3k per month?

Your Mother might well be entitled to a greater share. It's irrelevant that lots of people get by on less.

BTW the legal team at MI5, whence the vague utterances above issued, is ignorant, unqualified and uninsured. I myself know nothing and am not giving advice. So don't rely on any of the above.

But you never know, it might be right by pure chance.

19 January, 2007 14:15  
Blogger Clair chimed in with...

Mine's dead. It's only taken 13 years and a lot of therapy to get her out of my system...

19 January, 2007 18:05  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Your mother could be a Premiership footballer.

Assume the new partner is fictitious and just a sympton of being mental?

BTW, there has been asterisk use but no footnote. What am I missing?

19 January, 2007 18:21  
Blogger Doris chimed in with...

Oh, lordy. How did you last the entire 15 minutes? Do you have to make great use of the privacy button, so you can shriek and bang the reciever on the wall?

19 January, 2007 18:59  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

All I can add is the phrase that Surly Sis and I have uttered countless times over the past few days (and years, come to think of it).

The horror.

20 January, 2007 08:46  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

actually, the asterisks were doing their proper job, for once*, and not-being the real name of the company my stepfather worked for.

* i know this isn't their proper job. shut up.

20 January, 2007 16:37  

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