My worst ever Christmas

Hello all, I am an active reader of this site but I hardly ever post. However, I really need some advice.

Firstly, I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas. I've had the worst I've ever had...

Just before Christmas my partner of 14 years told me that she is leaving me together with our 3 year old son. Badtimes for sure. She is french and I am british. She has told me that she is looking for a flat, local to where we currently live so that would mean I have access to my son.

Anyway, I need some advice regarding my living arrangements. We are currently renting a house and are both named on the lease. If I moved out of the house I would find it very difficult to rent anywhere else (as has been discussed elsewhere on this site) so I need to stay put. I am a very busy english teacher and earn decent money but I do not have a CDI. We we were offered this house through a friend of her father, no letting agents are involved.

I can afford the rent / bills myself, and there is another 2 years left on the lease. My question is do I have any right to stay in this house? I dont want to come back to the UK for a number of reasons, primarily my son.

Any advice would be really appreciated.

I hope that this not presumptuous I have found that it gives me enormous support but can be enjoyed just as a piece of music

Thank you Shirley. I've learnt that time does help (although the pain never completely goes) and that however bad it gets, there really is always someone out there worse off than you, which switches off the self-pity button (but only when you're ready to do that as it's an important part of the grieving process in any 'loss' situation, ie death, divorce, separation). My same wishes for 2014 go out to you too Shirley. xx

Hi Stuart

I have some experience of this - I am a British mum and have separated from two (for my sins!) French chaps in the 11 years I have lived here. My first piece of advice is the same as Jacquie's - see a solicitor. If you were not married to your son's mum, you should have completed a 'reconnaissance de paternité' attestation so that you have equal legal rights as your son's parent (father). I did this with my daughter's dad right at the beginning. However, I am only now going through the courts to put in writing maintenance and visitation rights for my 8 year old daughter after 7.5 years separated from her dad. This is because the paltry 200€ a month he was giving me then has never increased and he refuses to increase it. If we'd gone the legal route from Day 1, this would have risen by the INSEE (Cost of Living Index) every year. Our visitation rights are not in dispute (my daughter's dad and step-mum take her Tuesday after school to Wed evening and every other Sat and Sun) as we get on fine in general, but we are nailing that down at the same time, just to be sure.

Second thing, stay close to your son. The reason I have separated from my husband is because we lost our 2.5 year old son in a drowning accident 18 months ago (he'd be 4 this Saturday) and, as much as we tried, it was just too painful for us to stay together.

For 2014 I wish you strength and the power to pragmatise through the heartache. Things will work out - just give it time. :)

Agree with Martin, don’t beat yourself up over it, we all change just be kind to each other and find fun and joy elsewhere - it’s out there. Good luck and happy 2014.


Christmas is always a time of stress and drama within households. Talk to your other half and try to find out why the Bucks has lost its Fizz.

If this doesn’t work my advice remains as per a similar post earlier in the year. Man Pill, toughen up, move on and don’t look back.

Oh misery Stuart, hope you at least survived the holiday. Never happened to me although a divorce decree arrived in the post on my birthday in 1998. It was agreed though, but bureaucracy chose bad timing :-(

Many of us have been through this Stuart and although painful at the time still here and happy. I understand the need to look forward but I would never burn my bridges with my partner just yet, she may be having a marriage ‘wobble’ and returned to her parents (only you know the details) the key issues are you and your son - cultivate what personal joy you can muster, no matter how small, don’t blame yourself or your wife - there are differences between you at the moment that may or may not be resolved. Above it all remember you created a little man and for his well being act accordingly. But I think you already know all this -)))). Whatever happens in your relationship I sincerely wish you an amazing 2014 and trust that everything truly does happen for a reason (philosophical attitudes CAN be so useful)

thank you all for taking the time to reply. This site is a real lifesaver. I was feeling a little alone and exposed but your advice has really helped me understand the facts and now I feel more able to move on and deal with these issues. I hope you all go on to have an absolutely wonderful 2014, as I hope to!

Sorry to hear this Stuart.

Something similar happened to me nearly three years ago, and the first thing I did was to go and see a solicitor. You should too. There's more than just where you live at stake; you need agreed time with your son and you need that in writing.

Hi, so sorry to hear about your situation.

You might find some answers on this site:

Bon courage

Very unlikely any tenant can be evicted any time before the end of March anyway. Whatever the legal position the likelihood is that your landlord would prefer not to change a tenant for any reason other than being able to raise the rent. There's an index for such things. Then consider if you need a place as big but that's a tough one as you will need to accommodate your child. Having been divorced I do recommend that you keep things civilised not just for the sake of the child but for your own sake too. One can move back, but it's very unlikely. You need to move forward. It's possibly the start of your new life.I've seen too many bitter ex partners. husbands etc. Thing is it ruins your entire life if you allow it to. Hard but true. So think about moving on but it takes a while. I made plenty of mistakes after my separation but eventually found somebody else. Trouble was she died shortly afterwards but that new part of my life was simply wonderful.

Hi I always say that things happen for a reason …so your path has changed sometimes it happens for the better although you probably don’t feel like that right now…anyways if you are in employment and earning then why not look for a mortgage it’s a buyers market,you would pick something up really cheap right now…best of luck…

I'm sorry to hear your devastating news, Stuart and do hope that 2014 turns out better than it seems it will at the moment. I can't help with any of the legal knowledge you ask for but would make a plea on behalf of your son although from what you say I probably don't need to. Don't go back to the UK if you can possibly avoid it. He needs you in his life just as you need him and you'll never get the time back to try again. I hope life sorts itself out as amicably as possible and wish you all the best in the future.

Sorry to hear such horrible news

I can't comment on the legal side but I am sure that as a reliable tenant your landlord would be willing to change the lease into your name. Your ex would have the right to get her half of the deposit back

When I broke up with my ex he stayed in the house - the landlord gave me my deposit back and changed the lease

Good luck with everything....SFN is great for advice and support so don't hesitate it you need a moan or helping hands (albeit virtually)

Thank you Marie-Claire - I've learnt something today!

no smoke without fire, Marie-Claire (CDI - long term illness etc...!) :-O

I'm sorry to hear that Xmas has failed to bring tidings of comfort and joy this year to you Stuart. Yes, as long as your soon to be ex companion doesn't object, officially I mean, you can stay put. Unless the landlord wants you out, the lease doesn't need to come to an end in 2 years, it can be reconducted.

For Susanne and David: a CDI is an open-ended contract. It's more or less a religion here in France where people are ready to jump through streets of hoops ringed with fire just to get one. They then proceed to organize long term sick leave.... no, I'm joking.... of course.

Courage ! the fact that you don't have a cdi doesn't matter - you're in and paying the rent so no-one can chuck you out. What's more they'd have a job not to continue the lease when it's up - as long as you pay on time and they don't need the house themselves to live in then the lease will be renewed by tacit agreement.

Bonne chance ;-)

I don't know what a CDI is either! However, just trying to think logically, if your name is on the lease and you can afford the rent and bills why should there be a problem with you staying there?