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Old 12.07.2018, 16:48
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Cannot afford the rent anymore

Hi everyone

I am living with 2 kids in the apartment that I used to share with my estranged husband. Because of the circumstances changed the alimony was significantly reduced and because of the small children I can do only 40% at the moment work wise, which I have started recently, I am concerned that I will no longer be able to pay the rent. I have put it on all websites to try and find someone to take over the lease, but so far no interest.

The contract expires next June and also given that my income in the payslip is not significant it makes it more difficult also to find a smaller flat for myself and the children. I am in a very dire situation.

Is there a way to convince the landlord to release me from the contract as the circumstances have changed and are there any organisations or state bodies that can help me find a smaller more affordable flat. I cannot rely on Social Services as I have recently applied for a B permit and waiting for the decision.
And I cannot afford to become homeless due to an ongoing separation process with Courts.
I live in Canton Vaud

Would be really grateful for any guidance or advice.
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Old 12.07.2018, 16:50
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

Take in a flat-mate.

Tom
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Old 12.07.2018, 16:55
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

I cannot as the Court has given me the flat to provide stability for the children
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Old 12.07.2018, 17:32
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

Go to the court and tell them the alimony isn't enough.

If you cannot support yourself then it's doubtful a permit will be issued. What nationality are the children? If Swiss that will work in your favour as far as getting a permit.
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Old 12.07.2018, 17:54
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Go to the court and tell them the alimony isn't enough.

If you cannot support yourself then it's doubtful a permit will be issued. What nationality are the children? If Swiss that will work in your favour as far as getting a permit.
The alimony is recalculated because of a change in tax and it is set on the limit, so no chance for further increase. They are British
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Old 12.07.2018, 17:55
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

Here is a centre of Social Work in Lausanne, funded by the protestant church, although open for everyone. https://csp.ch/vaud/a-propos/

The website says most of their services are provided for free, and that they deal with matters of migration, couples, the law, money and young people.
See for example: https://csp.ch/vaud/services/questions-de-migration/

I do not know to what extent they will be able to help you, but this office might be a first place to go for advice, at least to find out more about your options. Or perhaps to get a referral to another advice centre.

Please don't be put off approaching them even if you don't speak enough French. When one calls such a centre, they don't always have someone right there, on that day, who speaks your language. However, if you list all the languages you do understand, they might tell you when you could call back, to reach one of their colleagues. That sometimes works by mail, too. Or you could go there with a friend who could interpret for you.
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Old 12.07.2018, 18:55
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Hi everyone

I am living with 2 kids in the apartment that I used to share with my estranged husband. Because of the circumstances changed the alimony was significantly reduced and because of the small children I can do only 40% at the moment work wise, which I have started recently, I am concerned that I will no longer be able to pay the rent. I have put it on all websites to try and find someone to take over the lease, but so far no interest.

The contract expires next June and also given that my income in the payslip is not significant it makes it more difficult also to find a smaller flat for myself and the children. I am in a very dire situation.

Is there a way to convince the landlord to release me from the contract as the circumstances have changed and are there any organisations or state bodies that can help me find a smaller more affordable flat. I cannot rely on Social Services as I have recently applied for a B permit and waiting for the decision.
And I cannot afford to become homeless due to an ongoing separation process with Courts.
I live in Canton Vaud

Would be really grateful for any guidance or advice.
Did you co-sign the rental agreement with your partner?
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Old 12.07.2018, 19:19
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

Maybe if you explain to the landlord your circumstances, they will allow you to pay a reduced rent until your circumstances change. If you've been a good tenant, paid your rent on time etc, they may prefer to keep you than have the hassle of looking for someone else who they do not know.

It's worth a shot and they may agree.
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Old 12.07.2018, 19:33
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Here is a centre of Social Work in Lausanne, funded by the protestant church, although open for everyone. https://csp.ch/vaud/a-propos/

The website says most of their services are provided for free, and that they deal with matters of migration, couples, the law, money and young people.
See for example: https://csp.ch/vaud/services/questions-de-migration/

I do not know to what extent they will be able to help you, but this office might be a first place to go for advice, at least to find out more about your options. Or perhaps to get a referral to another advice centre.

Please don't be put off approaching them even if you don't speak enough French. When one calls such a centre, they don't always have someone right there, on that day, who speaks your language. However, if you list all the languages you do understand, they might tell you when you could call back, to reach one of their colleagues. That sometimes works by mail, too. Or you could go there with a friend who could interpret for you.
I am sure they would speak English
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Old 12.07.2018, 19:35
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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I am sure they would speak English
I'm not even sure about that in Zürich, and absolutely not sure about such in "French" territory
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Old 12.07.2018, 19:37
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

They are your "estranged husband's" children too. Despite changes in maintenance payments to you, he should take his responsibilities seriously...
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Old 12.07.2018, 19:44
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Did you co-sign the rental agreement with your partner?
Yes. But he has found a new flat for himself
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Old 12.07.2018, 19:46
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Here is a centre of Social Work in Lausanne, funded by the protestant church, although open for everyone. https://csp.ch/vaud/a-propos/

The website says most of their services are provided for free, and that they deal with matters of migration, couples, the law, money and young people.
See for example: https://csp.ch/vaud/services/questions-de-migration/

I do not know to what extent they will be able to help you, but this office might be a first place to go for advice, at least to find out more about your options. Or perhaps to get a referral to another advice centre.

Please don't be put off approaching them even if you don't speak enough French. When one calls such a centre, they don't always have someone right there, on that day, who speaks your language. However, if you list all the languages you do understand, they might tell you when you could call back, to reach one of their colleagues. That sometimes works by mail, too. Or you could go there with a friend who could interpret for you.
Thank you for the info. I have called them and made an appointment with their lawyer to understand what rights do I have and how to take the next steps. I hope it will provide a solution.
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Old 12.07.2018, 23:04
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Thank you for the info. I have called them and made an appointment with their lawyer to understand what rights do I have and how to take the next steps. I hope it will provide a solution.
Good! Well done!

Here are some ideas that I've found helpful, in preparation for appointments about stressful aspects of one's life. Perhaps some of them might help you.

Before you go, make sure that all your papers are sorted, either strictly chronologically, or chronologically within each area/topic. Take all your papers with you, as many as you can possibly think of, that may be relevant.

Better still, take only photocopies of each document. NEVER, EVER leave your original documents with the lawyer, or advisor, or person-at-the-counter, etc., and never let them keep them, saying they'll copy them for you and send the originals back to you. Do the copying yourself, either beforehand, or go out after the appointment and copy the specific pages the lawyer said he/she needs. The only time to give originals out of your hand is where a formal application (e.g. for a visa or permit) requires originals and specifies that copies will not suffice.

By the way, if you are in a situation in which your spouse might enter your home and remove some of your documents, (so as to leave you unable to prove a point in negotiations or in court) then it can be a good idea to store your documents elsewhere, such as in the home of a friend (if he/she is not also a friend of the spouse), or in a locked cupboard in the office of your manager at work, or even (I've heard of a case where this was done by someone who was not a church member) deposited with a local church leader for safekeeping.


Remember that you need every minute you can get, with the lawyer. If you sort all your papers, and type this info up systematically before you go, you will save precious time with the lawyer.

Take blank paper with you, and write everything down.

Direct contact details / date of appointment
  • Be sure to write down whom you saw (name and direct contact details of the lawyer) and when.
  • Ask for the contact details of any of his/her colleagues who also speak(s) a language you understand.

Payment /fees
Right at the start, make sure you understand whether you will be charged anything, and if so how much, for this first appointment with the lawyer, this time or for subsequent appointments. (See also "insurance policies" below.)

for each person (you, your estranged husband and each child),
  • full names
  • date of birth
  • all nationalities
  • date on which each person entered Switzelrand.

rental contract
  • name of the landlord/agent
  • in whose name(s) the contract is
  • amount of the rental, with and without the additional charges for heating, etc.
  • date on which the contract started
  • date on which he moved out
  • date on which the Court awarded you the right to remain in the flat
  • number of Rooms/ size in m2
  • distance (in Km or in minutes to walk/travel) from there to each child's school
  • distance (in Km or in minutes to walk/travel) from there to your place of work

marriage/ living together / alimony / child maintenance
  • date you moved in together
  • date of marriage
  • date he moved out
  • date of the formal separation agreement, if any
  • date of the divorce agreement, if any
  • date of each time the alimony, if any, was set/changed, and the amount
  • date of each time the child maintenace payments were set/changed, and the amount

budget
  • all your income from all sources
  • all your recurring monthly payments
  • any payments which your husband still covers
  • living expenses
  • transport
You can find sample budgets here, to help you think of all points, and see how Caritas recommends distributing one's monthly income at various levels:
http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Personn...7573ab0.0.html

your employment
  • name of your employer
  • date on which you started working there
  • whether the contract is permanent or of limited duration
  • number of hours worked per day/week
  • salary, gross and net

his employment
  • name of his employer
  • date on which he started working there
  • whether the contract is permanent or of limited duration
  • number of hours worked per day/week
  • salary, gross and net

documents
  • a copy of each person's identity document,
  • a copy of each person's permit,
  • every agreement between you and your husband, and/or Court decree, about alimony (if any, for you) and child support for the children
  • every Court decree about visiting rights and about the two different types of authority over the children (where they shall reside, and whether parental authority is shared or rests with only one parent)
  • rental contract
  • employment contract
  • all bank statements, and documents of income, and of assets you own, in Switzerland and abroad
  • the latest 2 tax declarations, if you (and your husband) have submitted them in Switzerland
  • any tax declaration submitted in another country during the past 2 years
  • all insurance policies of any type... sometimes the most unexpected policies can include insurance for legal fees, and the lawyer will be quick to find such a clause, if you have one.

When you go to see the lawyer, try to talk Facts, Facts, Facts. Swiss law does not deal in "blame" between the adults, for example whether or not one partner had an affair outside of the marriage. Blame and guilt are, however, important if there have been criminal offences such as violence or fraud. It is all too easy to get distracted by telling the emotional, psychological, unfair side of the story, with all the pain. Yes, there's a place for telling that, too, but it is usually not with the lawyer, and is more likely with a friend or a psychologist. Even so, you should have the outline ready in case the lawyer thinks it relevant.

Prepare your questions beforehand, in writing.
Think about
  • what you are aiming for (best case),
  • what middle ground there may be, and
  • what would happen if you could not get what you want and what you think the children need (worst case).

Remember that the guiding legal principle in Switzerland is: The Best Interests of The Children.

Write down all the various courses of action you have already considered, and the pros and cons of those for both you and the children.

Write down what you fear, for yourself and for your children. You need to ask the lawyer whether those fears are based in the reality of Swiss procedures and law.

Keeping a record of what the lawyer said:
  • It can also be very useful to take a friend along with you to the lawyer. Ask that person to write down as much as possible of what the lawyer says, and to ask for clarification if necessary.
  • If you go alone, write down the main points as the lawyer speaks, or ask him/her to do this, so you can take that paper home with you.
  • Alternatively, ask the lawyer if you may have permission to record the session on your phone, so that you can listen to it all again later, and don't miss any of his/her advice.
  • If possible, plan some time without the children, so that immediately after you leave the lawyer's office, you can sit somewhere quietly and write down as much as you can remember from the appointment.


If you go ahead and do any of what the lawyer advised, then take a few minutes to mail the lawyer to thank him/her and to give him/her a brief update. This is polite and respectful, and can be good for you in case you need more help further down the line.

Last edited by doropfiz; 13.07.2018 at 12:12. Reason: adding bank statements, tax and insurance policies, later edit adding warning about keeping original documents safe
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  #15  
Old 12.07.2018, 23:40
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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They are your "estranged husband's" children too. Despite changes in maintenance payments to you, he should take his responsibilities seriously...
Yes, but everything depends on the entire situation.

If she for example can do with a 1000,- a month cheaper flat why should he have to pay for this one (even assuming he has such money)

Without knowing the situation I find it harsh to say "Oh, just let him pay more"
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Old 13.07.2018, 12:39
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

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Good! Well done!

Here are some ideas that I've found helpful, in preparation for appointments about stressful aspects of one's life. Perhaps some of them might help you.

Before you go, make sure that all your papers are sorted, either strictly chronologically, or chronologically within each area/topic. Take all your papers with you, as many as you can possibly think of, that may be relevant. Better still, take only photocopies of each document.

Remember that you need every minute you can get, with the lawyer. If you sort all your papers, and type this info up systematically before you go, you will save precious time with the lawyer.

Take blank paper with you, and write everything down.

Direct contact details / date of appointment
  • Be sure to write down whom you saw (name and direct contact details of the lawyer) and when.
  • Ask for the contact details of any of his/her colleagues who also speaks a language you understand.

Payment /fees
Right at the start, make sure you understand whether you will be charged anything, and if so how much, for this first appointment with the lawyer, this time or for subsequent appointments. (See also "insurance policies" below.)

for each person (you, your estranged husband and each child),
  • full names
  • date of birth
  • all nationalities
  • date on which each person entered Switzelrand.

rental contract
  • name of the landlord/agent
  • in whose name(s) the contract is
  • amount of the rental, with and without the additional charges for heating, etc.
  • date on which the contract started
  • date on which he moved out
  • date on which the Court awarded you the right to remain in the flat
  • number of Rooms/ size in m2
  • distance (in Km or in minutes to walk/travel) from there to each child's school
  • distance (in Km or in minutes to walk/travel) from there to your place of work

marriage/ living together / alimony / child maintenance
  • date you moved in together
  • date of marriage
  • date he moved out
  • date of the formal separation agreement, if any
  • date of the divorce agreement, if any
  • date of each time the alimony, if any, was set/changed, and the amount
  • date of each time the child maintenace payments were set/changed, and the amount

budget
  • all your income from all sources
  • all your recurring monthly payments
  • any payments which your husband still covers
  • living expenses
  • transport
You can find sample budgets here, to help you think of all points, and see how Caritas recommends distributing one's monthly income at various levels:
http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Personn...7573ab0.0.html

your employment
  • name of your employer
  • date on which you started working there
  • whether the contract is permanent or of limited duration
  • number of hours worked per day/week
  • salary, gross and net

his employment
  • name of his employer
  • date on which he started working there
  • whether the contract is permanent or of limited duration
  • number of hours worked per day/week
  • salary, gross and net

documents
  • a copy of each person's identity document,
  • a copy of each person's permit,
  • every agreement between you and your husband, and/or Court decree, about alimony (if any, for you) and child support for the children
  • every Court decree about visiting rights and about the two different types of authority over the children (where they shall reside, and whether parental authority is shared or rests with only one parent)
  • rental contract
  • employment contract
  • all bank statements, and documents of income, and of assets you own, in Switzerland and abroad
  • the latest 2 tax declarations, if you (and your husband) have submitted them in Switzerland
  • any tax declaration submitted in another country during the past 2 years
  • all insurance policies of any type... sometimes the most unexpected policies can include insurance for legal fees, and the lawyer will be quick to find such a clause, if you have one.

When you go to see the lawyer, try to talk Facts, Facts, Facts. Swiss law does not deal in "blame" between the adults, for example whether or not one partner had an affair outside of the marriage. Blame and guilt are, however, important if there have been criminal offences such as violence or fraud. It is all too easy to get distracted by telling the emotional, psychological, unfair side of the story, with all the pain. Yes, there's a place for telling that, too, but it is usually not with the lawyer, and is more likely with a friend or a psychologist. Even so, you should have the outline ready in case the lawyer thinks it relevant.

Prepare your questions beforehand, in writing.
Think about
  • what you are aiming for (best case),
  • what middle ground there may be, and
  • what would happen if you could not get what you want and what you think the children need (worst case).

Remember that the guiding legal principle in Switzerland is: The Best Interests of The Children.

Write down all the various courses of action you have already considered, and the pros and cons of those for both you and the children.

Write down what you fear, for yourself and for your children. You need to ask the lawyer whether those fears are based in the reality of Swiss procedures and law.

Keeping a record of what the lawyer said:
  • It can also be very useful to take a friend along with you to the lawyer. Ask that person to write down as much as possible of what the lawyer says, and to ask for clarification if necessary.
  • If you go alone, write down the main points as the lawyer speaks, or ask him/her to do this, so you can take that paper home with you.
  • Alternatively, ask the lawyer if you may have permission to record the session on your phone, so that you can listen to it all again later, and don't miss any of his/her advice.
  • If possible, plan some time without the children, so that immediately after you leave the lawyer's office, you can sit somewhere quietly and write down as much as you can remember from the appointment.


If you go ahead and do any of what the lawyer advised, then take a few minutes to mail the lawyer to thank him/her and to give him/her a brief update. This is polite and respectful, and can be good for you in case you need more help further down the line.
Thank you soo much for this extensive effort and your time. Will do it this weekend
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Old 13.07.2018, 12:48
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

It's a pleasure, littlemermaid. Did you see that I edited my post 14? It now contains a little more info than the earlier version that you quoted.

I imagine that you must be under a lot of stress. That kind of work can be boring, frustrating and make one grieve for what was. My list is extensive, so please don't beat yourself up about it if you can't manage it all.

You might be find it is motivating to remember that sorting the documents, in itself, helps one to focus on the flat facts, and that each set of well-sorted documents will help to make the appointment with the lawyer more efficient.
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Old 15.07.2018, 12:00
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

1. You might already know how this, but your divorce lawyer fees will probably be very expensive, possibly more than a year worth of rent, as mentioned in this thread:

https://www.englishforum.ch/other-ge...etreibung.html

I don't know how the process works, but if you already have the apartment and the alimony, it may be better to finish the process asap and not try to challenge or change the little things in court.

2. How much is your rent now? Were there no applicants because its a super expensive one? Do you speak the language? Ads in English seem to be "less attractive", same for ads containing English. Open appointment ads are more popular than the ones where you have to call the advertiser to discuss when and where can you see it.
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Old 15.07.2018, 15:56
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

That's a very good point about the lawyer's fees.

Lawyers fees can be kept lower by
  • keeping all one's papers in order
  • first asking on fora to understand the basics
  • first going to one or more free or low-fee public service to see the first lawyer(s)
  • reading some more on the internet, to understand the relevant local laws
  • keeping an ongoing list of the open points, that you yourself have to do, and making sure you deliver on time
  • not delegating to the lawyer things you - and the lawyer! - agree that you could do yourself
  • keeping an ongoing list of what the lawyer said he/she is next going to do next and by when (and not asking them, before that date, whether it is done).
  • understanding that every single conversation/ meeting/ letter/ mail/ phonecall with a fee-charging lawyer, and all those that the lawyer has with other persons on your behalf, costs.
  • wherever possible, going for mediation, through a proper mediator. Sometimes this can achieve resolution, for less money, for just for a certain aspect or phase, and the work before and after that done by the lawyer.

Lawyer's fees might be free, if you are eligible for a free lawyer. The criteria for this vary, though, across cantons and municipalities and also the policy of any particular social service or charity. If you cannot afford lawyer's fees, then it is worth asking at all the types of help organisations you can find, who offer legal advice.

Lawyer's fees can be kept clear by
  • asking for a schedule of fees right at the start
  • ask the lawyer to set out the phases of the task (best learn this before you go to the first fee-charging lawyer, so you don't need to be taught it, by the time you get there)
  • ask for an estimate of the bill for the various stages of work
  • specifying that you would like to pay bills along the way (not just at the start, or just at the end but for example, monthly, or at the end of each phase of the work) which are detailed, final, closing bills for all work done up till the date of the bill.

Your finances can be kept clear by
  • making your regular budget properly
  • adding "lawyer's fees" into your budget
  • determining whether there is anything you could reasonably forego so as to free up money for the legal fees
  • calculating the point at which the lawyer's fees are too high in relation to what you could possibly gain. Sometimes, even though justice has not been done, and even though the unresolved state may be unfair, it is still financially (and possibly emotionally) better to walk away than to spend all one's money, time and energy in litigation.
  • asking friends whether they would be willing to guarantee for a slice of the legal fees. The more people who might contribute, the smaller their load would be. This is especially worth it if you absolutely cannot pay, but there is, potentially, a great deal to gain if you could find a lawyer who would properly represent you.
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Old 15.07.2018, 16:18
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Re: Cannot afford the rent anymore

@littlemermaid
As I understand it, you and your husband signed the rental contract together, and now he has moved out, and the Court has decreed that you can continue living in the flat, with the children.

A certain amount of child support was agreed upon or set.... also in Court?
A certain amount of alimony (= monthly maintenance support for you) was agreed upon or set... also in Court?

After this agreement, your husband noticed that, since he is now a single person household, he is taxed at a higher rate than he used to be when he was living with you. On the basis of this, he wants to (or has) reduced the child support and/or the alimony.
Quote:
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The alimony is recalculated because of a change in tax....
I keep wondering: surely the Court, when it set the amounts, would know that his tax-rate was about to go up? Therefore, it makes me wonder if the amounts the Court set were, in fact, considered reasonable even though he would have to pay tax at a higher rate.


I've wondered about Tom's suggestion:
Quote:
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Take in a flat-mate.Tom
to which you replied:
Quote:
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I cannot as the Court has given me the flat to provide stability for the children
I've been thinking a lot about this point. Why would taking in a flat-mate not be alright? If you choose well, a flat-mate does not necessarily have to destabilise your home. On the contrary. And doing so might help to provide more stability than, for example, moving home.
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