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post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
My apologies then Mama41, as I must have mis-interpretted what you wrote here about sitting down with the wife and telling what she shouldn't do with her money.
Yes, you did. I said I'd sit down with her and tell her that I would hope she would maintain boundaries with the money, and why; that I did not expect or want her to pay XH's dd-related bills, regardless of his income; and that I would not want her to feel she had an interest in what happened to the c/s, regardless of who wrote the checks.

"I hope" and "I want" are significantly different from "Do this." What she does is entirely up to her. This, too, is a matter of recognizing boundaries.
post #22 of 68
My husband, everyday father to our three children...bio to only one, is the one that pays for many things.

Let's see.. he pays for the boat play time, the riding lessons, the car they ride in, the home they live in, the water they showing in, the electricity they use, some of their clothes, most of their school expenses, the washer their clothes are washed in, the dryer, he pays for their second insurance (their father's policy is REALLY BAD) the garden boxes...


That's only the stuff I can think of right now, I am sure there is more.
post #23 of 68
Real quick, Mama41:

SD's mom has not criticized my cooking (so that's more of a hypothetical big button)...but she has sent over plastic furniture (she said the small room was too sparsely decorated). My partner (very politely) told his ex that she has ample opportunity to decorate SD's room at her house, and unless she spots a safety hazard or something, her attentions should be directed there.

And I am open to the possibility of a realignment of how things work, money-wise (and other-wise) if/when we have children together...or if one of any number of variables ends up knocking me/us out of our place of financial security. We're saving what we can, living below our means (which is a value both of us want to pass on), etc. I know that could change in an instant, but for now, we're OK.
post #24 of 68
Mama41...some questions for you...

Quote:
I think that's true of marriage and motherhood regardless of the presence of stepkids, but if you find yourself compromising more than you wanted to for your own kids, there you can at least take refuge in your commitment to and love for your own children, and the permanence of that bond. That gets much tougher to do when you're compromising for the sake of someone else's kids, no matter how much a part of your household they may be.
How do you know? From what I know of you are are a Mom, not a step-mom. How can you judge how deep a "step-bond" goes? Some step-moms raise their step children from infant on... I would say their bond can run just as deep as a blood bond for a Father.


Quote:
If there weren't enough to go around, would I resent seeing my money go out the door to her layabout stepsibling? Of course I would.
Why do all step-siblings have to sub-par?? What about half-siblings? Why do you judge so harshly?


I find it noble that you want to plan ahead to help your daughter with expenses past her adult age and into grad school... however, not to sound callous, and not saying I would not help my own children if I could... but it really isn't your responsibility. By that age she is an adult. As an adult she does have to come into her own and make her own living as well, just as you have done and everyone else in the world.

My own parents do what they can to help of course. But they never had money to send me to school. So I take classes when I can afford it. I have never once resented my parents for not having money. That is not what makes parents and that is not what should dictate if they are appropriate parents and if they should have stopped having children because of it making finances too tight to pay for college. My life was filled with love. To this day my parents are amazing people that show their affection in so many different ways. It is not their burden to provide college education... that's what student loans and scholarships are for. I am proud of who I am and acheiving what I have on my own accord without Mommy and Daddy paving the way.


Quote:
Yes, you did. I said I'd sit down with her and tell her that I would hope she would maintain boundaries with the money, and why; that I did not expect or want her to pay XH's dd-related bills, regardless of his income; and that I would not want her to feel she had an interest in what happened to the c/s, regardless of who wrote the checks.
Except, again... you really have no right to even offer advice about what she does with HER money. *shrugs* Just my opinion.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
I find it noble that you want to plan ahead to help your daughter with expenses past her adult age and into grad school... however, not to sound callous, and not saying I would not help my own children if I could... but it really isn't your responsibility. By that age she is an adult. As an adult she does have to come into her own and make her own living as well, just as you have done and everyone else in the world.

It is not their burden to provide college education... that's what student loans and scholarships are for. I am proud of who I am and acheiving what I have on my own accord without Mommy and Daddy paving the way.
.
I think we need to be careful here not to assume we all share the same values around this issue. It's not a [I]burden[I] but an expectation among my friends/peers and family. I would consider it shameful to have my child begin his adult life burdened with student loans. That's not to say that I will carry him forever, but college is a given. My ex and I are both "on the hook" for it in our separation agreement also.
post #26 of 68
As my ex is a real dead beat (no child support, no visitiation, no birthday presents, nothing), and my 12 yo sister has lived here since Nov. with my father giving very little (but doing better then my ex, he at least takes her for visitation), and I don't work, my husband pays for everything.

He pays for food, housing, clothing, health insurance, everthing for himself and myself and our one child (with another due this summer), for my two boys, and for my sister.

This thread has reminded me to tell him how thankful I am, some of the attitudes in this thread would make life here very difficult.
post #27 of 68
Our finances are combined. The money is ours for the use of our family. Our family includes Maia and Sage who are biologically mine and madison who is biologically Matt's. When I fell in love with Matt I accepted full responsibility for adding Madison to my life, to my heart, to my home. In turn Matt acceppted full responsibility for adding Maia and Sage to his life, to his heart, and to his home. our family budget is made out to include madison's Child support, it is a fact of life, accept the man accept the child. I can't even imagine trying to keep things all seperated. Talk about keeping a She's mine and they are yours mentality. How can you truely blend a family with all the division and the thoughts of "not my responsibility?"
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
Our finances are combined. The money is ours for the use of our family. Our family includes Maia and Sage who are biologically mine and madison who is biologically Matt's. When I fell in love with Matt I accepted full responsibility for adding Madison to my life, to my heart, to my home. In turn Matt acceppted full responsibility for adding Maia and Sage to his life, to his heart, and to his home. our family budget is made out to include madison's Child support, it is a fact of life, accept the man accept the child. I can't even imagine trying to keep things all seperated. Talk about keeping a She's mine and they are yours mentality. How can you truely blend a family with all the division and the thoughts of "not my responsibility?"
Well said.
post #29 of 68
Have not read the responses.
My DH is a SAHD and I am the "breadwinner," so technically I earn all of the money we spend on SS, including child support. I don't feel upset about it. I want my kids to have a parent at home with them. I'm not going to waste money, but I wouldn't have wasted it even if i wasn't technically the one earning it.
Luckily DH and I are typically on the same page about these things. And since SS's mom's family believes love = giving people things, we try to make sure we don't contribute to the spoiling.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
Have not read the responses.
My DH is a SAHD and I am the "breadwinner," so technically I earn all of the money we spend on SS, including child support. I don't feel upset about it. I want my kids to have a parent at home with them. I'm not going to waste money, but I wouldn't have wasted it even if i wasn't technically the one earning it.
Luckily DH and I are typically on the same page about these things. And since SS's mom's family believes love = giving people things, we try to make sure we don't contribute to the spoiling.
Pretty well identical situation here. DH became a stay-at-home dad when we had a child together, so I have technically been the one paying child support for the stepkids since then, as well as buying gifts, paying for travel for him and the kids to see each other, summer camp, etc.

I'm happy enough to do so. He's working just as hard as me, we just live in an interesting society where the paycheque is only issued to the person working outside the home.
post #31 of 68
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses -- it's fascinating to see how different people handle these issues. And your responses are really helping me think about the issue more clearly and be able to articulate to myself what I think is reasonable for my situation.

I've been on my own financially for 15 years. Completely. I make my money and spend my money as I and I alone choose. I have lived many places in the US, and overseas as well, have been paid in different currencies, bought homes, had investments, etc. It's all been my financial planning. I was even married once before, but we didn't comingle anything but one mortgage (no kids in that relationship though). So my money has and still does feel like my money.

Couple this with the simple fact that DH and I make the same amount of money. I mean, if I made more or he made more, I think we'd feel more of a tendency to mingle a bit so our standards of living would be similar, but in reality, we make about the same thing. So, if we both make our own spending decisions, it seems fair enough. I don't like having to consult other people to spend my own salary, and I don't want to stress over his financial decisions if I were to disagree with them, so keeping things as separate as possible suits me. DH feels the same way -- he wants to control his own finances, and I support that.

He came into this relationship having made some dumb choices and had a bunch of debt. He has been working to pay that off, and is doing remarkably well. I charge him "rent" which is really part of the mortgage and utilities, and I keep it barebones so he can keep paying off debt. We've been living together for a year and only got married last fall. So we're still figuring out what it is we
do as a financial unit. We have both always considered his debt to be his to pay.

Child support feels a lot like debt to me. When a person makes a choice to make a baby, it's like they charge up a very big line of credit, and they will pay it down for a long time. That decision was made long before I met him, and was his decision to make. So, from my perspective, his CS is a debt he owes and he should pay it from his own resources if at all possible.

As far as the kids being my family, yes, of course they are. I love them dearly and having them in our home is part of the deal that I agreed to when I married him. I definitely regard them as family and I love to have them here and I do spend a fair chunk of cash on them when they're around here and also to visit them. But that's my choice and my family. CS feels like a choice I never made and is money for a family I don't belong to. (Before I get slammed for that, let me say our paradigm is that the kids have two families, so when they're with us they are supported fully by our family money and when they're with their mom it's their mom's family. Yes, he owes money to that family in the form of CS, but once he pays that, it's her money and is spent on her family.)

And, of course, if he becomes unemployed, then that falls into the category of us no longer making the same amount, so of course I'd pick up his expenses, including CS. I have no problem with that, and I know he would work very hard to make such a situation as short-lived as possible. If he were the type of guy to loaf around and let me pay his way, I would never have married him. So, no, letting him go to jail for nonpayment of CS because they "aren't my responsibility" is not going to happen. I'll pay it if need be and that's not up for discussion.

I think DH shares most of these views on our finances, so the fact that I pay a lot of their travel and all of their household expenses here was confusing. It's so expensive to see them that it would be hard to manage frequent visitation without my help. I think maybe in the back of his mind he was thinking he'd pay me back when he's out of debt, so he was kind of in denial about it. We're talking more now and I think he's recognising my contributions more.

Ok, that was long-winded. Anyway, I think that's where I stand right now on all this. I know one size doesn't fit all, so it's been great to see what works for others on this thread.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Mama41...some questions for you...
How do you know? From what I know of you are are a Mom, not a step-mom. How can you judge how deep a "step-bond" goes? Some step-moms raise their step children from infant on... I would say their bond can run just as deep as a blood bond for a Father.
I'm going in part by what I see and have heard IRL, and in part by what I read here. I read many posts here expressing frustration with the expenses and potential c/s changes, and changed sentiments after pregnancy and the birth of a new child. The only child I'd even consider raising, besides my daughter, is her child, and I have to say that'd take some doing, getting me to agree to that. I don't mind setting aside 20 years of my life for this one, but I got stuff to do after that.

Quote:
Why do all step-siblings have to sub-par?? What about half-siblings? Why do you judge so harshly?
It's neither a judgment nor harsh, but they're not half-siblings by me. I wouldn't have had a child unless I'd been reasonably well-assured that I'd be able to provide for her in a manner I believe to be responsible. The one I had is far and away my primary responsibility. What others do with and for their children is their own business. So unless I were considerably wealthier than I am, I wouldn't put myself in the position of having to support other children.

Which isn't to say I haven't done for others. My best friend from home isn't well, is single, and she has a son. I've saved for college for him since he was a little boy; I made her that promise and will keep it. But I wouldn't take on an open-ended commitment to pay for someone else's child before I'd fulfilled my duty to my own.

Quote:
I find it noble that you want to plan ahead to help your daughter with expenses past her adult age and into grad school... however, not to sound callous, and not saying I would not help my own children if I could... but it really isn't your responsibility. By that age she is an adult. As an adult she does have to come into her own and make her own living as well, just as you have done and everyone else in the world.

My own parents do what they can to help of course. But they never had money to send me to school. So I take classes when I can afford it. I have never once resented my parents for not having money. That is not what makes parents and that is not what should dictate if they are appropriate parents and if they should have stopped having children because of it making finances too tight to pay for college. My life was filled with love. To this day my parents are amazing people that show their affection in so many different ways. It is not their burden to provide college education... that's what student loans and scholarships are for. I am proud of who I am and acheiving what I have on my own accord without Mommy and Daddy paving the way.
As others have said, we all have different values. I want my child to be able to enjoy college, experiment and make mistakes before she's responsible for other people, and afterwards be able to do the work her heart calls her to. I had free tuition as an undergrad and fellowships for graduate school, and not having school debt has left me much freer than it has many of my friends. It's also left me well-off enough in early middle age that I can support a child without putting her in fulltime daycare, do work I've chosen and love, and save for her education and my retirement.

My parents also paid for me to study abroad, which gave me the chance to find work for myself there, and those years are some of the richest I've had. I didn't know, at the time, that my father -- who was ill -- was not only working his regular job but driving truck early in the morning to pay for it. He just handed me a wad of money and told me not to save it, but to spend it on a good time. I was shocked, but I followed his instructions and had a famously good time, and saw and heard things I'd never have done otherwise. There's no way to express my gratitude and appreciation.

It doesn't have to be a choice between love and money. I don't think I'll be able to do for my daughter the way my parents and grandparents did for me; I don't make nearly as much as my dad did, and my ex's family is poor. But I think I'll do well enough by her.

I do believe it's parents' responsibility to help children with their undergraduate education, btw. The public schools in this country have fallen apart to the extent that a hs degree is no longer a ticket to work, and it's unfortunate, but we neither fix the schools nor publicly fund university tuitions. The burden lands on the kids, unless the parents step in. Add tuition inflation over the last 15 years or so, and it's a fairly criminal burden to place on a young person's shoulders. I see kids graduating with $80K in debt from a public university (!) and $300K in debt from college plus professional school. They'll be paying that off till they retire, instead of buying homes and saving for retirement and their children's educations. They've got an ugly surprise coming, too, when their parents hit old age and haven't enough money to buy the care they need. I think we've really robbed an entire generation.

The debt also locks the kids into jobs they don't want, and takes them away from lower-salary jobs that need good people, like teaching. I used to hear routinely from young doctors who detested their work but had to keep on, because they had no other way of making the kind of money that pays off a quarter-million in student loans. I don't know about you, but I don't want to go to doctors who loathe their jobs and are only there for the money.

Quote:
Except, again... you really have no right to even offer advice about what she does with HER money. *shrugs* Just my opinion.
OK. When my ex remarries, you can stand by during the conversation and shake your head disapprovingly.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
Our finances are combined. The money is ours for the use of our family. Our family includes Maia and Sage who are biologically mine and madison who is biologically Matt's. When I fell in love with Matt I accepted full responsibility for adding Madison to my life, to my heart, to my home. In turn Matt acceppted full responsibility for adding Maia and Sage to his life, to his heart, and to his home. our family budget is made out to include madison's Child support, it is a fact of life, accept the man accept the child. I can't even imagine trying to keep things all seperated. Talk about keeping a She's mine and they are yours mentality. How can you truely blend a family with all the division and the thoughts of "not my responsibility?"
mommyto3girls, you made a commitment up front. I see nothing wrong with that. Your values say "we share everything and I am fully responsible for all." So long as you know your bottom line going in, I see no problem.

However, I see too many women who jump in romantically without really considering what this might cost them. Personally. Not all marriages last, and there's ample opportunity for regretting the generosity even when they do. If a woman's really thought that through and still says, "Yes, I want to commit to this," then I think that's great. What's not great is when she jumps in, makes promises without realistically reckoning the costs, and then finds herself angry, resentful, trapped, and looking for someone to blame. The easy one to blame is the ex-wife. I'd really rather not be in that position, and since my daughter's attached to it, I'd rather she didn't catch fallout from it.

Our divorce agreement has my ex responsible for c/s (at a level which will be difficult for him to sustain, since he's in the process of voluntarily lowering his income), half of childcare, more than half of medical, 45% of college, and a few other things. It's a lot of money even if things go well. If things go badly, and she has serious medical problems, it can be a vast amount of money. I hope that whoever he ends up with does as ProtoLawyer suggests, and is good with the arithmetic. Because otherwise I foresee a very angry woman watching the money she earns go out the door to support my daughter, while her own children don't have this and don't have that.

This is what I would like to avoid. It may not be possible. I'd be willing to risk pissing her off to give it a try.
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
As others have said, we all have different values. I want my child to be able to enjoy college, experiment and make mistakes before she's responsible for other people, and afterwards be able to do the work her heart calls her to. I had free tuition as an undergrad and fellowships for graduate school, and not having school debt has left me much freer than it has many of my friends. It's also left me well-off enough in early middle age that I can support a child without putting her in fulltime daycare, do work I've chosen and love, and save for her education and my retirement.

My parents also paid for me to study abroad, which gave me the chance to find work for myself there, and those years are some of the richest I've had. I didn't know, at the time, that my father -- who was ill -- was not only working his regular job but driving truck early in the morning to pay for it. He just handed me a wad of money and told me not to save it, but to spend it on a good time. I was shocked, but I followed his instructions and had a famously good time, and saw and heard things I'd never have done otherwise. There's no way to express my gratitude and appreciation.

It doesn't have to be a choice between love and money. I don't think I'll be able to do for my daughter the way my parents and grandparents did for me; I don't make nearly as much as my dad did, and my ex's family is poor. But I think I'll do well enough by her.

I do believe it's parents' responsibility to help children with their undergraduate education, btw. The public schools in this country have fallen apart to the extent that a hs degree is no longer a ticket to work, and it's unfortunate, but we neither fix the schools nor publicly fund university tuitions. The burden lands on the kids, unless the parents step in. Add tuition inflation over the last 15 years or so, and it's a fairly criminal burden to place on a young person's shoulders. I see kids graduating with $80K in debt from a public university (!) and $300K in debt from college plus professional school. They'll be paying that off till they retire, instead of buying homes and saving for retirement and their children's educations. They've got an ugly surprise coming, too, when their parents hit old age and haven't enough money to buy the care they need. I think we've really robbed an entire generation.

The debt also locks the kids into jobs they don't want, and takes them away from lower-salary jobs that need good people, like teaching. I used to hear routinely from young doctors who detested their work but had to keep on, because they had no other way of making the kind of money that pays off a quarter-million in student loans. I don't know about you, but I don't want to go to doctors who loathe their jobs and are only there for the money.
What about those of us who come from working class lineages? In a perfect world, I would have no college debt. But I don't live in a perfect world and not everyone shares the same reality.

mama41, I sometimes have great difficulty reading your posts because I often get the impression that you may not realize that not everyone has the same starting point, the same privileges and that where you begin your journey into adulthood has a profound affect on where you end up. Some of the things that you seem to take for granted are beyond a manageable reach for many.

I am the first person in my family to receive a bachelor's degree. I had no choice but to. Ever heard the saying, "pink is the new red?" Well the bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma. I was only able to do so through a combination of scholarships, fellowships, and loans - whatever wasn't covered by those three funding sources, I worked full-time to pay. I lived on ramen noodles, rode the bus, bought used text books, shopped at the thrift store for clothing (fortunately, this has become a trendy thing to do ), rode Greyhound home to visit family for the holidays (that is, when I wasn't working through my holiday breaks to pay tuition and fees). I even managed to fund a month long backpacking trip around Europe with one of my tax returns (this was before the euro, of course) by thoroughly researching and planning my trip to make every dollar count.

I come from a single parent home. My mom raised two on her own (no child support) with no more than a high school diploma and a few community college courses (which she had to quit when she was pregnant with my brother on doctor's orders because she was also working full time and managing the apartment building she and my dad were living in at the time). She supported my father (a musician) for 10 years before she decided to cut sling load and focus solely on supporting her children. My mom has worked since she was 14. She bought her first house at age 55 because it was the first time in her life that she could afford to and even then, she bought in a remote of the Midwest - so what she pays on her mortgage is not much more than she would have to pay for rent. She's never owned a new car and in fact, took up auto mechanics so that she could maintain her independence and never have to rely on anyone to get us where we needed to go. She wasn't able to pay for my college education. I knew that, so I vowed to make it happen in any way I could, myself. I also know, that she if she could have paid for it, she would have in a heartbeat.

As a result of having to do things this way, I didn't start college until age 20. Truth be told, I was always pretty irritated by the 17 year olds straight out of high school lounging on their parent's dime and 'exploring themselves' - and I watched quite a few of them fail out because their view of college was that it was an overpriced summer camp with keg parties. I would have gone beyond undergrad if my family and/or personal history had been different, but as it stands I'd have to put myself into significant debt in order to go further and I'm not willing to do that.

It is highly likely that I will never make enough money to be able to shuffle some into a college fund for my son. It isn't for lack of trying and it certainly isn't because I don't value education. Neither do I believe that my mother devalues education. She just couldn't pay for it.

It's a nice ideal to expect that everyone can or does have the same advantages you do. But it is far from a reality.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
What about those of us who come from working class lineages? In a perfect world, I would have no college debt. But I don't live in a perfect world and not everyone shares the same reality.

mama41, I sometimes have great difficulty reading your posts because I often get the impression that you may not realize that not everyone has the same starting point, the same privileges and that where you begin your journey into adulthood has a profound affect on where you end up. Some of the things that you seem to take for granted are beyond a manageable reach for many.

I am the first person in my family to receive a bachelor's degree. I had no choice but to. Ever heard the saying, "pink is the new red?" Well the bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma. I was only able to do so through a combination of scholarships, fellowships, and loans - whatever wasn't covered by those three funding sources, I worked full-time to pay. I lived on ramen noodles, rode the bus, bought used text books, shopped at the thrift store for clothing (fortunately, this has become a trendy thing to do ), rode Greyhound home to visit family for the holidays (that is, when I wasn't working through my holiday breaks to pay tuition and fees). I even managed to fund a month long backpacking trip around Europe with one of my tax returns (this was before the euro, of course) by thoroughly researching and planning my trip to make every dollar count.

I come from a single parent home. My mom raised two on her own (no child support) with no more than a high school diploma and a few community college courses (which she had to quit when she was pregnant with my brother on doctor's orders because she was also working full time and managing the apartment building she and my dad were living in at the time). She supported my father (a musician) for 10 years before she decided to cut sling load and focus solely on supporting her children. My mom has worked since she was 14. She bought her first house at age 55 because it was the first time in her life that she could afford to and even then, she bought in a remote of the Midwest - so what she pays on her mortgage is not much more than she would have to pay for rent. She's never owned a new car and in fact, took up auto mechanics so that she could maintain her independence and never have to rely on anyone to get us where we needed to go. She wasn't able to pay for my college education. I knew that, so I vowed to make it happen in any way I could, myself. I also know, that she if she could have paid for it, she would have in a heartbeat.

As a result of having to do things this way, I didn't start college until age 20. Truth be told, I was always pretty irritated by the 17 year olds straight out of high school lounging on their parent's dime and 'exploring themselves' - and I watched quite a few of them fail out because their view of college was that it was an overpriced summer camp with keg parties. I would have gone beyond undergrad if my family and/or personal history had been different, but as it stands I'd have to put myself into significant debt in order to go further and I'm not willing to do that.

It is highly likely that I will never make enough money to be able to shuffle some into a college fund for my son. It isn't for lack of trying and it certainly isn't because I don't value education. Neither do I believe that my mother devalues education. She just couldn't pay for it.

It's a nice ideal to expect that everyone can or does have the same advantages you do. But it is far from a reality.



Well said, Mama! That is sort of the point I was driving at.

My parents didn't have the money to send me... I send myself when funds allow it. Maybe by some grace of God I will be able to squirrel some money away later to help the children... but I doubt it, as my generation certainly won't see social security...

You can't just stop the cycle and people shouldn't just stop having children because they can't afford to give them every luxury under the sun.

I know too many spoiled kids that their parents sent them to school and never had a care in the world and they are STRUGGLING big time now that they are out on their own because they never learned the true essence of the dollar.

Just my view on it. *shrugs*
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
I know too many spoiled kids that their parents sent them to school and never had a care in the world and they are STRUGGLING big time now that they are out on their own because they never learned the true essence of the dollar.
Most of the kids I knew who were 'exploring themselves' in college actually found themselves....usually at the bottom of a bottle of beer, skipping classes because they were hung over. That's the reality of college for most kids - unless they understand that they're there to work, not play. And with tuition costs being what they are these days, that's one expensive party. I can't imagine what it will be in 10-15 years. Yikes.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Our divorce agreement has my ex responsible for c/s (at a level which will be difficult for him to sustain, since he's in the process of voluntarily lowering his income), half of childcare, more than half of medical, 45% of college, and a few other things. It's a lot of money even if things go well. If things go badly, and she has serious medical problems, it can be a vast amount of money. I hope that whoever he ends up with does as ProtoLawyer suggests, and is good with the arithmetic. Because otherwise I foresee a very angry woman watching the money she earns go out the door to support my daughter, while her own children don't have this and don't have that.
Question about the 45% of college: How can they randomly allocate that amount to him when your DD is so young? I thought they didn't figure out how much each parent owes until the child actually goes to college, you know the costs and also the amount of income each parent has to contribute. It's a big difference in cost if your DD goes to a state school vs. Harvard. What if for some unforseen reason your ex is working at Wal-Mart by the time your DD goes to college?

And, no offense, but if a new spouse should enter the picture and your ex decide to have more kids, there is a possibility that your original agreement will be modified.
post #38 of 68
kkj, we rewrote the state boilerplate, locking ourselves into the responsibility voluntarily and expanding the window for her ed, so long as she doesn't go over 4 years fulltime. We didn't go to trial. As part of the agreement, my ex pays me a set amount monthly for me to invest in dd's college savings. I pay in the same amount, and given expected tuition inflation, she should have in-state tuition and a good chunk of housing covered. She could live at home and go to school if she wanted, but I think it'd be better for her to be out on her own. 10% of costs will still be a significant amount of money for a kid to pay, and it'll mean she'll work, but not enough to distract her from school. If she wins big scholarships, she can use the balance of the fund for grad school. If she wants to go to school at some fancy private place, though, I'm afraid she'll have to make up the difference herself. That kind of tuition I wouldn't pay even if I could afford it.

I think it's unlikely xh will go to court to modify; even if he wanted to, it'd cost him enough to make him think twice, and monthly it's not a big bite, even for me. I socked away enough for her during the marriage that she's already got two years' tuition covered, and she's only 4, so there's some time. The fact that he agreed to this voluntarily will also weigh in unless there's some significant change in circumstances for him, and around here having more kids post-divorce doesn't generally make the judges sympathetic.

nikag, re kids who had their way paid, maybe you know some like that. I spent the time doing substantial enough work that -- unlike the rest of my friends -- I got good salaried jobs even though we graduated into a deep recession, and then got into a top grad school on a full ride. I did my share of drinking, too. Can't say as I regret it.

JSMa, I understand where you're coming from (yeah, I do), but where do you think the middle class comes from? You got it, the working class. My working-class grandpa sent my dad to school; he didn't get past 8th grade himself. I know working-class single moms with no ed who bust their humps to send their kids to school, because they don't want their kids distracted by money and work when they're supposed to be studying. Those women don't know that college world themselves, and sometimes they go overboard, but they got that part right. And they start early, too, signing the kids up for every enrichment program and ed opportunity they hear of, really hustling the kids through, and saving what & when they can. You don't have to be middle class to understand compound interest. (My income, btw, even with child support, puts me firmly in working-class territory. So it's a matter of attitude and priorities, not income.)

And I'll tell you what, the way college tuitions are now, the DIY attitude for college is crushing working-class people. It made sense back in the day when a kid could work summers and make enough money for school. That went on a long time, decades. But now, you send your kid out $50k in the hole for a BA -- when's she supposed to buy a house and start building equity? How's she going to put money aside for emergencies and retirement when she's got school loans and kids to pay for? What happens if her husband ups and leaves? That early debt leaves the kids vulnerable and reliant on more debt, and it robs them of the opportunity to save early and take advantage of compounding. I could tell you stories of middle-aged friends' school debt, and how it's kneecapped them, but this is already long.

Sorry to be so vehement. I've worked with a lot of undergrads, and it kills me to see them walking out with this burden, declaring bankruptcy, handicapping themselves right out the door. And it isn't their fault. Not only is it bad for them, but it guarantees a much uglier class split in the future.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
I know working-class single moms with no ed who bust their humps to send their kids to school, because they don't want their kids distracted by money and work when they're supposed to be studying. Those women don't know that college world themselves, and sometimes they go overboard, but they got that part right. And they start early, too, signing the kids up for every enrichment program and ed opportunity they hear of, really hustling the kids through, and saving what & when they can. You don't have to be middle class to understand compound interest. (My income, btw, even with child support, puts me firmly in working-class territory. So it's a matter of attitude and priorities, not income.)
Please don't insinuate that my mother didn't 'bust her hump' or that she didn't have her priorities straight. She darn sure did.
post #40 of 68
oh. whoops. kkj, my state takes tuition to mean "in-state tuition". Which I think is reasonable. The state schools are decent, there's a lot of good faculty looking for good students, and I don't see a reason for parents to pay $35K/yr for what's essentially finishing school. Actually I think the faculty are more serious about teaching here than they are at a lot of the fancy private schools. And I don't think things will disintegrate in the next 15 years; universities take longer than that to go bad. Dd may have some trouble if she decides to strike out for work on the East coast, where people get snobbish about undergrad schools, or if she wants to go to grad school, depending on the field. But she'll manage.
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