potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

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potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby DietCokefan » Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:39 pm

Hello, my husband is very likely to be made an offer of a move to his company's office in Montreal.  It appears to be a good career move for him, and decent senior jobs are in very short supply in London (if not non-existent) in the banking IT sector he is in.  He is very keen to take it if the offer is made.  The expectation is that he will stay in that new role for at least 2 years, but it would be offered as a permanent local job + some allocation for relocation. 

I have tried to have a conversation about how we would make the decision i.e. what would we factor in, and was basically told that he would be taking the offer if it's made.  It doesn't feel like a family, or even a couple decision.  I'm in denial a bit, but I'm also really angry that if feels like he's making this decision without really sharing the thought-process.  It feels as though this is completely based on the fact that he wants to move job, and earns more than I do so what he says goes.

I also feel that that my husband feels he owes it to his boss to say "yes" to the deal, and I feel he sees this commitment as more important than ensuring it works for our family.  My husband has completely ceased looking for jobs since this potential offer was mentioned. 

I have a decent well-paid job, although less well-paid than his, and it seems unlikely I would easily find a job where we would be located.  I have always worked and do have a feeling if I stopped it would be very difficult to get back in given age/sector etc. 
Our children are in Year 8 and Year 4 in independent schools in the London suburbs.  I am concerned about moving them, particularly the older one.  This is mainly because, if we do go, I would see us going for a couple of years and then returning, but this is complex with exam years i.e. GCSEs in Year 11.  I've tried to find info re Montreal schools and from what I've seen they seem to be either: local system (mainly Quebec-French speaking, with a few primarily English speaking,) then some schools doing International Baccalaureate.  I have only found one (which is a boarding school which is not what we're looking for), that appears to do English system.  Ideally I'd like to ensure flexibility of staying or coming back, as and when it makes sense.
We have very briefly discussed the possibility of my husband going out and the rest of us staying in the UK.  This seems to be a very unattractive proposal both personally and financially.

I would really appreciate some info from others re:
- generally the experience of relocating abroad, and what we should be looking into in making the decision, including what to ask the potential employer
- how to look for schools elsewhere (beyond simply Googling the city name and "schools"!)
- experience of International Baccalaureate within UK schools
- any knowledge anyone has of living or working in Montreal (preferably as a Brit going there, but any knowledge would be good).

I know I probably sound totally clueless, I am still in denial a bit.  Please be kind.  Thank you in advance!

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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby OliviaL » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:56 am

I think you need to quietly seek legal advice. 

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction governs the domicile of children in all signatory states. If a child is regarded as customarily domiciled in a country, then they can't be removed from the jurisdiction without the consent of both parents, or a court order. That court order may well not be forthcoming, as it's generally regarded as best for kids not to have their lives disrupted. It completely depends on local law. Our courts wouldn't govern anything. And 'customary domicile' just means the country they actually live in - where their home is, where they go to school. Nationality isn't relevant. After a year or two, that customary domicile will be Canada. 

This could mean that you move to Canada, and after a couple of years you split up. Maybe you feel frustrated there and can't find work. Maybe your husband has an affair and wants a divorce. You could find that you have to remain in Canada - but if your own visa is linked to your status as his wife, you may be unable to do so, and unable to work. And you could find you can't stay, but can't take the kids back to the UK unless he says so. And he may not. I don't know what the law would dictate in that situation - but nor do you, and yet it doesn't seem to be an aspect you've even considered. 

I have a friend stuck living in Australia in this scenario. Her husband has a second family with his former PA there. She has very little money and can't earn much, either. But if she comes home, she loses her children. So she is stuck. I have no idea what the law is in regards to this in Canada, but I would strongly suggest that you speak to a specialist solicitor about this one before you make any decisions, because a husband who assumes you will just sacrifice your career and uproot your whole family without having the right to any say whatsoever... well, it doesn't sound like making yourself vulnerable in every possible way would be an intelligent decision. 

I would also examine what the laws are like if you were to divorce in Canada. In this country, spousal contributions are recognised fully, whatever form they take. There is no privilege attached to being the higher earner; the priority is the children's needs, followed by equality of asset division. That may be the same in Canada, or it may not. Again, moving to a country where your rights are unknown, when your husband does not appear to regard you as his equal, may be questionably wise. 

I think you should seek advice from one of the solicitors recommended by the charity for families affected by Hague, Reunite dot org. It also has lots of fact sheets and information for you. 

Hague is valuable - many people have had kids abducted to non-Hague countries, and are denied all contact. But it has potential implications for all parents who live as expats, too. If you want to come home, and he doesn't, you may find you're stranded there... or you lose your children. You need to research this, so you are fully informed when making your decisions. 
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby Bbkl » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:12 am

Former expat here.
Sounds like your husband is thinking of this purely in terms of a new job/career progression for him, when an overseas posting is so much more than that.
That’s a huge problem, but not really a relocation problem. Is he in the habit of acting as if the rest of the family don’t matter?
Practically, two years for your Y8 would be very tricky to manage. Even if you found a British curriculum school, you’d be looking at a potential move back mid GCSEs. Schools here may not be offering the same boards/subjects, pressure on space means you may not be able to access the schools you want.
There are a few schools here that offer IB, which might offer more continuity when you come back, but the approach is quite different from the UK system (not necessarily a bad thing).
Two years for your Y4 will mean missing out on secondary school choices in Y6.
You’re right to think there is way, way more to think about than just the impact on his career.
Expat postings can be a huge, fantastic adventure, but also very hard (particularly at the age your older child is at, many families would be looking at boarding school in the UK in your situation to minimise disruption from frequent moves).
And that’s not even thinking about friendships, hobbies, extended family, your career...
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby Feeling old » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:36 am

Hi, I think this is a really exciting prospect and an adventure for all of you.
We have lived abroad as a family a couple of times. Firstly, in the US and secondly in HK. We have just moved back from HK. My son is now in Year 12 but has boarded from year 9 as a result of the HK move. My daughter who is now in year 9 but wanted to board from an earlier age which has made the whole continuous schooling easier. I came over for exeats and half term and they flew back for holidays. It was a hard decision to make but we have loved this adventure as a family. In the US both of the children went to the local international schools so they could make local friends and we had a tutor to help them keep up with subjects they weren’t doing. It was also a good way for me to meet people.
Have you rung the school your children are at at the moment to see what their entry requirement is for overseas into sixth form - some schools accept overseas for sixth form on a different exam system.
Another thing to note was we were told on both occasions it would only be 2 years and the US we ended up staying for 6 and HK for 3 and a half.
I hope this helps in some way.
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby Vista321 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:34 am

Hi Dietcokefan

I think the advice offered by OliviaL is really important (although it may be something you don't want to think about).
I don't know what line of work your husband is in by the SE of England has a huge number of job opportunities and I suspect your husband could find one in the UK if he carried on looking.  It sounds like he's had his 'head turned' by the Canada offer and is flattered by it, but has not taken into account the effect on the rest of his family.  Others might disagree but to me this is ultimately selfish.  I personally would not up-root my children at this stage (maybe if they were much younger) and give up my own job in this scenario.
Its a family decision and should be taken as a family.

Good luck with it (Sorry that I don't know too much about the schools in Canada.)
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby sgmitch » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:51 pm

This sounds like it could be a really interesting experience. It could be a good opportunity both for your family and his career. Of course there will be a lot of work involved relocating that far away. We have relocated twice internationally for my wife's job and I have noticed that it's often the other spouse who does a lot of this extra work like trying to register for schools, driving licenses, setting up bank accounts, learning the new systems etc. Lots of companies help with this. But set yourself up the way you really want it, you have to do a lot of the work. I have enjoyed our recent relocations but only because we made the decision as a family and worked hard on it knowing everyone was on board.

It's good to ask around for help but if this position is worth taking, then I would personally expect the company to be hiring a relocation agency with lots of local knowledge about schools etc. If that isn't happening, I would think real hard about why not.

If his manager is a good one then he would want to know that the entire family is involved in the decision and excited about it for two main reasons:
1. Good managers care about their people and by extension their families
2. Even from a self-serving standpoint, a manager wants to know that the move is going to work out well. It is going to go a lot more smoothly if everyone is on board.

If your husband thinks he owes it to the company and must simple accept, then these two points are being missed.

If your husband has already decided that he would take this offer, then how well is he going to negotiate the relocation package etc? Perhaps you can explain to your husband you're trying to get on board with the idea but need to be part of the decision. Perhaps you will also think of some things you'd like his company to help you figure out before and during the relocation process. Has everyone thought through whether the salary is actually good given that you might need to buy a lot of your own insurance or factor in different holiday allocation etc? I'm not sure if you have to pay for health insurance in Canada. Many of people have relocated before so the answers are out there but it's a big job to figure it all out.

Good negotiators involve additional people help to make good decisions (agents, lawyers, family, friends etc). The additional parties are able to bring additional perspective and often aren't as connected emotionally to the deal. He might be excited about the prospect of the position and unable to negotiate as strongly due to that fact. You could help him think of things he might forget - not that you're trying to sink the deal, but just trying to make sure it really is as good of a deal as it needs to be. There may be a lot the company can do to help but they won't necessarily do it if you don't ask for it up front.

And good partners bring people into the decision and if unwilling then there could be other issues you need to explore. I wish you good luck and hope these thoughts could help in some way
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby mymyherewegoagain » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:11 pm

Hello This could be a wonderful experience and I believe Montreal is an amazing city.  Some things to consider… My husband's job moved us to the USA for two years but we ended up staying there for nearly eight years.  We loved it and did seriously consider making it our forever home, but that didn’t work and I had the stress of moving back here, now with a child and trying to get him into a school system out of sync with where he was.  It was stressful, I lost many hours of sleep but it has all worked out and I am sure it will for you. Now, what about your job and your income?   What about your pension?  What about your salary? I have no idea what your family financial arrangements are but I have always maintained a separate personal bank account, our home doesn't have a joint bank account. Shortly before my husband approached me to move, I had randomly read, "Love Is Not Enough: A Smart Woman’s Guide to Money" by Merryn Somerset Webb and it opened my eyes a lot to the financial pitfalls women can get themselves into.  I had a discussion about all of this with my husband and he agreed to pay to me, from his income, my after tax salary and pension at the rate it was on the day I resigned to move for his career.  Don't fall into the pit of spending from your savings account - many of the now stay-at-home expat mum's I met where spending their savings on food and school clothes. I empathise with you, it is an incredibly stressful time but it could be an amazing time, somehow you and your hubby need to find a way to chat about all your very very valid concerns.  Wishing you the best. 
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby lemonzest » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:08 pm

On your IB question: I studied for the IB at a UK school, as had the choice to take A Levels or IB. The school has day pupils and boarders. I loved the IB, the school, and many of my cohort went on to study at top UK universities. Happy to answer questions by PM if in any way helpful.
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby ngulra » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:22 am

I am a Montrealer who has lived in the UK for 20 years. In September, we decided to try a move back to Canada (not Montreal though) with two children, ages 6 and 8. Schooling has been a big challenge for us here. Feel free to DM me if you have any specific questions on Montreal schools or anything else.
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby muddyboots » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:29 pm

I think the legal points brought up are very interesting and easily ignored as painful to consider.
I think it’s a warning sign that your husband it putting himself first and is not even considering to discuss this and has simply said he would accept and ended the conversation.
I would counter that with that you refuse to come unless you discuss it.
You are married, you share a life, you have children!!
You don’t lose your right to decide your destiny because you bring in a different wage. It’s not even as if you don’t work and it’s the only job or you face poverty... then maybe he would have a point.
He’s being a selfish pig to be honest.
And you need to face him about it.
He’s made you seek out a public forum with your worries as you can’t speak to him.
His HR should have all relocation information and advise.
Sorry, he’s being a complete ar-e IMO
Stand up for yourself and for your children.
If it’s not a good idea then the majority rules.
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby dudette » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:57 am

Can you speak French? If you can’t it might be a difficult experience for you in trying to get a job, making friends etc.
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby atbattersea » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:57 am

I think people talking about divorces and child abduction are a bit premature, there are many things to consider before you could remotely get to that stage.

While you are asking about schools, I think the first thing for you to consider is whether you will be able to work in Canada (in particular Montreal), in a line of work you want to undertake? And if so, would your legal ability to work be tied to your husband's job?

Allied to that, should it not work out, for one reason or another (ie commercial firms are always changing and merging, and this disrupts employment) would you be able to stay in Canada and both of you find suitable alternative employment?

Realistically, as others have pointed out, starting out with a plan for two years almost inevitably turns into a longer period, or perhaps a relocation elsewhere.

For your schooling plans, I can't help with recommendations for schools in Canada, but it appears that you have relatively good funding, so overall your children should be able to find a school that suits - and living abroad is a good experience for them (particularly if they also learn a foreign language). So, from that perspactive I wouldn't worry too much about whether you are disrupting their education. The disruptive thing would be moving to Canada, and then moving back relatively quickly.

Just try to avoid moving when coming up to important transition stages for your children, ie choices for GCSEs/A-levels/University. Best to move at the point those become effective (ie finish year 11 in Canada, and move to sixth form in UK), or a couple of years prior (difficult with two children).

However, I think a real conversation about this with your husband is essential. He needs to understand what your concerns are, and how you both address them. Possibly start it off as a project for yourself, write down what you think are the items that need to be covered, and research the ways to address those. Then have the conversation. It would be fairly difficult for him to ignore issues when you've gone out and done the research to back up your concerns.

At the end of the day, do not get too stressed about it right now, it is still just a possibility. It may be that he isn't offered the job, and all the angst associated with this will dissipate. But don't be complacent, work out your answers to the questions posed, before they are posed.

You've started that already, by researching schools, just carry that on. Bon chance!
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby supergirl » Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:09 am


I m sorry you have been made to feel this way. This should be a time to rejoice: even if your hisband dont accept the job offer, you should be enjoying that time of talking about the what ifs.
I am a serial expat here. Havent loved in my own country for nearly 20 years. I ve relocated as a singleton, as a couple and as a family. Trust me, there is a lot of joy to be had.
But instead, you ve been pushed to sideline because he doesnt want you part of the decision.
Or at least thats how he feels.

There is another way to look at it.

If your husband is anywhere like mine, he might need to process it in his own before he can make a decision.
Typically my husband would get the info, process it and decide whether he would accept the job offer *for himself* and in his head. Then, if yes, he would inform me and then we start discussing it. The pros and cons *for the family*. At this stage, nothing is official as only between us 2. We would be deciding what we need in terms of type of schools, type of areas, type of schools and type of healtcare which would lead to how much we need. We would discuss my career, my pension etc.
Which in turn would lead to inform decision and what to negotiate.

Thats the way he is. He would not discuss anything when it comes to a career move if he has says no in his head as he has deemed it a pointless conversation.

It could be that your husband is flattered and excited. Told you about and you, rightly, went on to want to discuss the details. Maybe he is not there yet. No offer has been made.
Hold your horses until an offer is made and he has told you what he wants for himself. Then discuss.

*Or* he is acting like an ar-d. If it is, no way would I move if it is NOT supported by the whole family. You have got to bring your children on board at their age so if if you are not, how can you even contenplate to bring teens and tweens in the mix?

Good luck OP. Stick to your ground. But moving can be an amazing experience.
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Re: potential foreign job offer for husband, seeking advice

Postby KylieMcDonald » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:06 pm

You are absolutely right to be angry. Your husband is thinking about his career growth, and you have pushed aside, and it is unfortunate. If you have a good job here, I understand. You just need to talk and resolve the situation as it is profound. In our family, it was almost the same situation. My husband was promoted, and we had to move. As for me, I liked my work and was willing to sacrifice it. Then, upon arrival, we decided that I would be trained as a cargo broker. This profession was close to me. We found a great school and I passed my training. I work, and I am thrilled with everything. 
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