This is actually my first post, no need for applause.
Anyway, I will try to make a long story short as I'm looking for opinions/advice.
About four years ago, I met the love of my life. She was married at the time, in an abusive relationship. The ex had been convicted of domestic violence but the judge sentenced him to two years of probation or something. He worked on and off, but mostly drank. He still does actually and barely manages to support himself.
As you can probably guess, the love of my life moved out. Actually she just ran out of the house with whatever she could grab - and two kids.
I was happy, I thought I could give her and the kids a better life and we're a really great couple, even to this day. I had savings and I made good money. She had a job at the time, but she also had loans. The payments were basically equal to her salary. She and her ex had attempted to build a house, and that's what it was - an attempt. The house didn't have many things a normal modern house should have, like a kitchen or heater. So she went to the bank and got a couple of loans under her name, as her ex was working under the table. Like I said, on and off. There were good streaks but when things turned bad, they got really bad. She started borrowing money from Provident as she couldn't even afford food. The ex always found money for booze and cigarettes though, just like today.
No big deal I thought, I was doing fine, and she'll get some money after her divorce once the assets are split. It's also her house, and the ex said she'd get some money, but AFTER the trial, he said.
Divorce was quick, but things got a bit slower on my end and since the ex wasn't making child support payments it was all suddenly on me (keep in mind her salary was going towards the loans.) Then we were forced to move and our living costs increased. She changed jobs, twice. I also had a car loan, but it was like at most 1/10th of my income at the time.
After a while I noticed my savings were gone. I withdrew money from my retirement account. We were running on empty, totally stressed out and barely making rent payments. We had to buy school supplies and pay for all the school stuff, my car began breaking down and I simply REFUSED to sell it. I loved that car. By the time things got really bad, we moved again to a really small and cheap apartment. I managed to sell my car, and it hit me hard because I had to start using public transport. No big deal you say? No, it isn't, but in my line of work I had to drive from point A to point B to point C and sometimes I'd spend 5 hours a day on buses.
So we bought another car, the biggest piece of you-know-what on this planet. I then understood what it means to be poor in this country. I mean NO RESPECT whatsoever on the road, people looking down on you, laughing at you, calling you names because you look poor. One winter Saturday morning on my way to work I was pulled over by the police, ****** off because I was in a hurry and the car would just turn off when idle so I had to have my foot on the accelerator all the time. The bastards gave me a 500 zl ticket because of the state the car was in! It was a bit rusty, I admit, but we had very little money anyway and I get this huge ticket, or at least it seemed so at the time. Yes, I argued with the cop, but that one wasn't very nice to begin with. So there's all this crap piling up and I get a ticket.
The ex never paid child support until we went to the court bailiff (debt collector?), and the way it works is that if he doesn't pay three months in a row you can go to the police. We did that a couple of times and then we found out that you can take his parents to court. Once they received a summons everything was paid on time and has been ever since...until this month.
Like I said, it all started about four years ago. I thought it would all be over quickly, she'd pay off all the loans and we'd all move on with our lives.
The asset division case (which was after the divorce case) ended a couple of months ago. The judgement was favorable, half the value of the house for her, but the arguments the judge used to justify her decision were simply ludicrous. The ex presented one temporary work contract while my gf presented like 10 PIT statements, for every year of her marriage. And year in, year out she made money. The court claimed that the ex had worked just as hard! He can barely even support himself today! On top of that the court didn't even mention the fact that he had been sentenced for domestic violence!
Now imagine if my girlfriend had to move out on her own. What the hell would she do in this country? He gets to live in the house for these four years and doesn't have a family to support. On top of that he only pays property tax and the heating bill maybe (and my gf and I are still paying the loan on the heating system) while we have to rent and pay off these loans. Luckily my gf received two promotions in at her work and makes okay money now, but her whole salary basically goes towards rent anyway.
Let me get back to the asset division case. The decision was favorable, we appealed just because we didn't know whether the ex would appeal. He has no money and is wasted half the time so the house will probably have to be auctioned off. But wait, who's going to buy a house with a drunk inside who is registered there!?
I've fallen and gotten up again and again. I hate it how my mood is influenced by the state of my wallet, but sometimes we just don't know whether we'll be able to pay the rent on time. We've negotiated loan terms, extended loans, went on a SAVING spree by cutting costs wherever we could but there's always something that comes and hits us and we're in the ditch again.
All this time I had hope that we'd get some money and start living normally again. We've had numerous fights because of our financial situation and whenever I made good money working six days a week, getting up at 5 am M-F and often coming back in the evenings, something just came up. Either the loans piled up or there was an (un)expected expense. I've learned not to be surprised by anything that breaks and school stuff, but it all costs money.
All this time I'd been living with the hope that: THIS IS THE LAST YEAR! The court case will be over, my gf will get her money and we'll be free. Sometimes I would get depressed and lose my motivation. I simply didn't feel like working anymore. I hate the part of me that loses motivation and gets depressed, but I can't help it sometimes!
So yeah, that was the "to make a long story short" part.
I've lost hope here in Poland. I feel that low lifes are treated better by the system than people who are weaker and in danger, especially women. If you're a hard working person with money, the government will do all it can to make sure they get some money from you because it's easy. I just don't see how she's going to get any money back now. The property is in a great location, but who the hell is going to buy it these days? Yes, it'll be auctioned off at 75% (initially) and then 66% of the market price, but it's not even about the money anymore.
It's just this feeling I get in this country, as much as I've tried to like it (and I really do like a lot of people here), that as long as you can make money and you have no problems and the government can make money off of you it's all good. As soon as YOU need support from the government - well, that's when you find out that you don't actually have much support.
So I'm leaving. Maybe it'll be 6, maybe 9 months from now, but that's the general timeframe. Destination UK or Ireland preferably. I'm planning on getting a normal job there and I know the market is not in the best shape but I will work very had these next 6 to 9 months to improve my current skills, take some exams to prove them, and continue my education once abroad. Perhaps I will go back into business one of these days, but seeing my parents run their small businesses and jointly paying 2k PLN ZUS per month, there's just no way in hell I'm going to continue doing it here.
I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me or anything. It was all MY choice, but how can a judge say "She decided to leave the house voluntarily" when she had proof that he wasn't working, was drinking and asked to go to rehab, and was convicted of domestic violence? Pure mockery. And like I said, she's appealed, but it'll be another 6 months at the very least.
And I don't think that going abroad is going to solve all my problems, but it will definitely solve the problem of me being treated like crap by my own government. 3 million Poles can't be wrong!
Sad story man, hang in there though, keep fighting it and things will eventually come good. I know it's hard to see that now, but they will eventually.
Also, unless you're an IT whizzkid don't bother with Ireland, there are no jobs at all, (except for things like programming/software development...especially for gaming).... I know, I had to move here from there to find work.
My heart goes out to ya man, my first few years here were terrible, but I just kept working, kept knocking on doors and trying to find my way and finally it paid off. Hang in there kid, that old cliche, it's always darkest before the dawn comes to mind.
Best of luck wherever you end up.
One of my neighbours left Poand under similar circumstances, moved to Shropshire and became a taxi driver, his gf got a job in a local factory. They never did get all the Polish finances sorted out but they are doing okay here and are now married!
Give it a go in Britain, there are still jobs to be had, there is a safety net and you both sound like you are hardworking people, it could work well for you! The education system isn't perfect but it's certainly as good as the Polish one and in some ways better! Your gf has had a rotten time, you rescued her and her children, you all deserve a break. Good luck in whatever you do, but do give Britain serious thoght.