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#1 of 68 Old 05-02-2008, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How many of you, as stepparents, contribute financially to the stepkids? DH and I make approximately the same amount of money, so even if he's the one who pays CS, essentially I'm contributing too, provided we live the same standard of living and combine resources a bit.

I've always had a few concerns about DH when it comes to money (but he's improving!), so we try to keep our finances as separate as we can, and I also try to nudge him when he's being irresponsible with money, as we are coupled, no matter what I do with separate accounts. This year he took a second job to pay off debt from his previous marriage. We mostly split household expenses and the mortgage. He pays CS from his account. I kick in a lot on travel to see the kids, though, and have spent thousands on that this year alone. I'm also the one who buys clothes, toys, car seats, etc.

This summer, my husband's job contracts end, and so far he hasn't found anything else, so it's possible he'll be unemployed late this summer. If this happens, I will put the kids on my health insurance and will also have to pay CS, as his lawyer says we'd be highly unlikely to get it lowered (and anyway he has to support them). I can definitely cover his and my expenses, but adding CS would be a real strain.

We were looking at summer day care options recently and we found two really nice ones that were on the way to work and one was ~$200/week, and the other was ~$300/week. I felt like the more expensive one was a little nicer (mostly just more posh-looking, not really stuff that matters to kids), but truly the other one was nice too and I couldn't justify the extra expense. DH wanted the more expensive one and got upset with me and told me I made him feel like I thought having the kids visit this summer was a burden!! I was blown away! Is this just divorced dad guilt speaking? He swears it isn't, but I can't figure why he'd say that when our financial situation is so up in the air this summer.

Then he told me how he'll pay for everything for the kids (my translation: add it to his debt) and said I'm never expected to pay for them. So I just mentioned that this was news to me that I don't pay for them, as I've never gotten checks from him to cover the airline tickets and such. I don't ask him to repay me, but I also don't appreciate being told I don't contribute.

Oh this sounds more bitter and dysfunctional that it actually was, I think. We usually do really well with kid-related stuff, but money is trickier.

But anyway, I know I'm a big cheapskate about some things, but I don't think I'm even remotely cheap with the kids. And I guess I'm just wondering what you all do about money issues surrounding your stepkids.

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#2 of 68 Old 05-02-2008, 08:49 PM
 
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We are not married, but we don't split our finances much. I have bought clothes and school supplies for DSD, although CS came out from his paycheck when DSD wasn't living with us. Now it's just a matter of convinience: if I have the money - I pay, if he has the money, he pays. We never question each others request: "Can I have $200 for this and that?", be it DSD related or not.

We might have had money discussons, but never really argued, especially not surrounding DSD. I guess I won't have a good advice to give, eh?

I do believe that split finances can be dangerous, because on one hand you are interdependent on each other, but on the surface you split your finances, so you never know if your contribution is appreciated as it should be. Of course, blended family stuff only complicated these matters.

I hope you guys can work it out. I'd sit down and have a long discussion before frustration builds up between you. Good luck!

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#3 of 68 Old 05-02-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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It sounds guilty Dad related honestly. DP went through spurts like that when he had a crap job and barely any money. He hasn't gone through it in awhile, but it does happen sometimes. I'm the more logical with money usually... For instance DSD already has 2 pairs of shoes here... he wanted to get her brown shoes too, just cause. The ones he wanted to buy were like $40... Um... I vetoed that one... no reason to spend that much on something she'd likely end up wearing once by time she grew out of it.

Our finances are mostly combined... I pay for a lot for DSD, I did basically all of Christmas before we were combined.


I'd let him get over it in a few days. Dad's feel responsible to provide everything and really take it bad when they can't. And not being able to see their kids all the time, they likely feel like they aren't giving enough and try to find someway to make it up, and unfortunately that seems to translate to stuff somehow. *shrugs*

Good Luck... it sucks... we've all been there I'm sure.

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#4 of 68 Old 05-02-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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I don't ask him to repay me, but I also don't appreciate being told I don't contribute.
It sounds like a serious sit down talk is in order. Whether you're "expected" to contribute or not isn't really the issue. The issue is that you do, and you should be shown some appreciation.

I can only come at this from the other angle (ds is my child, so my partners soon to be step child). DP does pay for some stuff for ds (not everything, mind you, but if we're out shopping and find some clothes or whatever for ds, dp usually pays). I don't usually repay him but I certaintly don't tell him it's not appreciated! I try all the time to make sure he knows that EVERYTHING he does for our family is appreciated. The same goes the other direction, even though he makes far more than I do (my income is more or less savings for a rainy day). I do far more around the house than he does, and I know he appreciates it.

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#5 of 68 Old 05-02-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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Our finances have been joint since before DSD was living with us half time, so this has never been a big issue. I do nearly of the shopping, and I do love to shop for DSD. I have a little to much fun buying her clothes and should probably own stock in Gymboree. Last month I dropped $35 of my birthday money on her buying clothes. :ATM, DS gets the short end of the stick in the clothing budget.

I remember the first Christmas that we were together. I got to play Santa for the first time ever (I was so excited - heck, I still get so excited). I spoiled that girl rotten. Lucky I did, though. I cannot for the life of me remember why, but DF would have been really scraping to get Christmas presents that year.

In a few years, I will be the primary breadwinner for our house. So I'll be completely supporting DSD at that point (DF will be in school). It is probably because our finances are "our" finances at this point that I don't feel as if DF wouldn't give me credit for that. I just don't think about it in those terms anymore. Every financial decision we make is for the betterment of our family.

I could see, however, how one would get annoyed if you were keeping separate bank accounts. I would probably have trouble paying for things like plane tickets in that case. To me, separate finances would mean that plane tickets for visitation were not my problem. But, everyone has their own arrangement. And if you are contributing to a DSC with that arrangement, your partner should be appreciative of that.

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#6 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 02:05 AM
 
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violet, I'd have a serious talk with him sometime.

If you didn't go into the marriage expecting to substantially pay his end of DSD's costs -- c/s, daycare, etc. -- and you're about to do that, I'd rethink it, esp. if your state doesn't take your income into consideration. I don't think it's reasonable to expect your spouse to pick up your obligations to prior children unless they step forward on their own and offer. And that shouldn't be an expectation, either, imo.

I'm a big fan of separate finances and joint for household costs, but I don't think "household costs" should include anything that comes in under a decree related to his prior marriage. I understand that it can be difficult to find work; but you work, I work, likely DSD's mother works, and we all know how to go stand behind a register or make outbound calls if absolutely necessary. Likewise, if his pride is hurting, that's something he'll need to deal with; he shouldn't be taking it out on you.

If he doesn't pay his support, then yes, there will be consequences, just as there are other consequences for being hitched to financially less-than-responsible men. They are largely his consequences to deal with, though, and the ones that affect you -- well, frankly, there's not a lot you can do. If he has retirement funds, his ex can go for those, and if not, my guess is she'll be angry but not surprised. In any case it's not your job to make the save. I would never expect my ex's future wives to pay his child support, and I hope they don't take such things upon themselves when he falls down financially. Not only is it unnecessarily damaging to them, but I don't see how it leads to anything but frustration and resentment.

Once, long ago, in the midst of a bad recession, I paid a guy's child support. I wouldn't do it again. At the time I thought about all his problems and what a good guy he really was, how bad the economy was, etc. All that was baloney. He was a bum, was all.

If your guy wants to pay his c/s, he'll find a way. Really. Contract or no contract. Leave it to him.
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#7 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 09:09 AM
 
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Your post doesn't sound disfunctional. I'm sure it's pretty normal where blended families are concerned. I know that my DH doesn't think about things like the fact that SS has underwear, socks, jeans, mittens, etc at our house. Or the art supplies because SS likes to draw. Of course, I throw stuff for SS in the cart the same way I do the three other kids who live in the house. And I don't present him a receipt asking for 1/2.

Those expenses come out of money I earn, because we keep separate accounts. DH writes me a check every month for 1/2 of general household costs (mortgage, heat), and I include $50/week for groceries. But I don't include things like the copay for taking the baby for a check up, the $20 for DD's school project, water shoes x 3 for summer at the lake.

If my DH went through a period where he was unemployed, I would likely pick up his CS expense. To me that's one of the possibilities of marrying a man with children. If I couldn't work, he would have to step up and carry the whole load for our family, which includes a DD from my previous marriage. It wouldn't be worth the cost of retaining a lawyer and going to court to get his CS reduced or get my ex to step up and start paying more. And what's the difference if I pay or if he uses his savings/retirement money? Both are ultimately impacting me financially either now or later. I would expect him to be out looking for work and willing to take something lesser if things got really unmanageable.

I do agree that your DH should appreciate the things that you kick in out of your salary. (I struggle with that at times too.) The comment about the kids being a burden was uncalled for, and maybe you guys need to sit down and talk about everything that's on your mind. I know I worry a lot more about money than my DH does. He always just assumes that things will work out. I prefer to have some sense of a plan--what I can do to help things "work out."
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#8 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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My husband became a stay-at-home parent when my step-daughter was one and only recently went back to work while we wait for him to become "in state" for tuition purposes. He had financial aid and some part-time child care stuff that certainly helped, but I was supporting the family, including my step-daughter. Now we are both working, but our finances are pretty much totally joined, so if he pays for something, so do I. Child support would be an expense for our family just like groceries or mortgage payments, and we make our financial decisions based on that as a family expense. We decide who works, who stays home, etc based on the needs of our family, each person's earning potential, and our priorities for the future.

I know that my husband really struggled for a while "letting" me support the family... he said he didn't know if it was a guy thing, or just personal pride, or what... but it bothered him. So I imagine there could be some of that as well as some divorced parent stuff... he might not really understand why he feels the way he does... I would just try to keep the communication open and both of you try to stay aware of any baggage that might be playing a part in it.

And as far as daycare, if your husband wants the more expensive option, then he should sit down with you to figure out how to make the extra money and still put something away for future child support until he finds something else.

My ex and I had VERY different spending habits (he was a spender and I was a saver), so we had joint money and what we called "play money." Our regular paychecks went into the joint account for expenses with some also going automatically to a joint savings account that was for emergencies. Anything else we made (my stipend for chairing a committee, his income from a second job, birthday money, etc) went into our own accounts. We also each got some spending cash each week, and we could choose to put that into our personal accounts if we didn't spend it all. (I should mention that we both also had some money, stocks, etc that we brought into the marriage, and those remained separate and could be used at our own descretion... ) It worked really well for us... but we didn't have children of our own or from other marriages, so it might not solve any or all of your problems!

It really sounds like just an obstacle that you both have to work past together, and believe that your marriage will be better for having found your way through some difficult issues.

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#9 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 06:11 PM
 
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I'll tell you, aricha, I'd be very nervous if XH married and his wife handled things that way. It seems to me there's far more room for resentment and bad vibes than is necessary. It's fine so long as the wife feels no pain by paying the c/s, etc., but the minute she wants her own money for something else, she's going to resent both me and the child's right to c/s. She'd have a lot to lose by blaming her dh, and it'd be much easier to aim it at me.

Also, I would not want the wife to have any sense that it's at all her business how the money's spent on this end. Once it's her money going to c/s collection, there's bound to be some of that.

I would hope that any future wife of my XH would maintain real boundaries with the money, and not overcommit herself because she's in the rosy flush of love, there. Because you can bet I'd end up paying for some of that in the end, and dd might as well. In fact, thanks to this discussion, if it ever looks like remarriage is a possibility for XH, I mean to sit down with his fiancee and have this conversation. She can think what she likes of me at the time, but I bet that down the line, if things go a little sour and she's feeling resentful, she'll recall the conversation.
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#10 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 10:09 PM
 
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The joint finances work well for us. I can assure you that there is no resentment here about child support... I guess every couple has to find their own comfort level and the financial plan that works best for them and their relationship. This is what makes sense to us... my step-daughter is part of our family and her expenses are family expenses, just as any of the other children... that's just how I see it for myself. Other people in different relationships may need things to be very, very different.

I would not thank his ex for sitting me down to talk to me about my finances... Just as it is not my business what she spends her money on, it is not her business where the child support comes from.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#11 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 10:37 PM
 
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My Hubby was unemployed for 6 months last year. I paid his child support and his alimony and we lived off of our savings. I would notadvise this for just any guy, but in my Hubby's situation, (you'd have to know the whole situation) I wouldn't have just left him to deal with it himself. I have to admit, though, when my entire earnings are going to a very not nice woman who makes the exact same ammount and lives rent free in her Father's house, yeah, there's definately resentment on my part!

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#12 of 68 Old 05-04-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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I would not thank his ex for sitting me down to talk to me about my finances... Just as it is not my business what she spends her money on, it is not her business where the child support comes from.
Absolutely true so long as the wife is neither resentful about the c/s nor feels the right to oversee how it's spent. Unfortunately, this is not often the case; I see more than enough posts here describing indignantly how the money is spent, and trying to be good about letting the money go -- which itself betrays a certain regret or resentment. The minute those things come into play, it becomes my business, because of the odds that the resulting tensions would affect my daughter. The children tend to be acutely aware of how the stepmother views the mother, and are more aware of money issues as they get older, without the maturity to handle them. So I'd rather give offense early on, and give the woman to understand that I neither expect nor want her to pay her husband-to-be's c/s and other dd-related expenses, than sit through some protracted period of watching her struggle, grow bitter and resentful toward me, and try not to blame me (while blaming). I have no financial quarrel with any other woman and don't want one, particularly not with one who's involved in my daughter's life.
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#13 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 09:09 AM
 
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The minute those things come into play, it becomes my business, because of the odds that the resulting tensions would affect my daughter.
I see your point, but I think this is a slippery slope. To me it's the same as the potential SM saying that she has experienced behaviors from the former spouse that demonstrate resentment of her new status with the partner/children. Because the ex wife carries this resentment, it could effect the children and their relationship with both the SM and the dad. So should she (the SM) sit down with the former spouse and explain how she wants her to feel so they can all get along better?

In theory it's a fair idea, but in practice you probably make the situation worse. Even with the best intentions, I think it comes across as disrespectful.
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#14 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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In theory it's a fair idea, but in practice you probably make the situation worse. Even with the best intentions, I think it comes across as disrespectful.

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#15 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 01:17 PM
 
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I see your point, but I think this is a slippery slope. To me it's the same as the potential SM saying that she has experienced behaviors from the former spouse that demonstrate resentment of her new status with the partner/children. Because the ex wife carries this resentment, it could effect the children and their relationship with both the SM and the dad. So should she (the SM) sit down with the former spouse and explain how she wants her to feel so they can all get along better?
kkj, personally, I would welcome that. If the woman believes this is true, and wants to tell me so, she's entitled. And if I think she's wrong, I'm entitled to tell her so, and why. Now if she keeps harping on it and won't leave me alone, I'm likely to get very annoyed. But harping is another story. I might also point out that if she's right, and I'm wrong, I will very likely remember what she's said, and one day I'll recognize that she got it right and I ought to work on it.

Please note that there's a vast difference between telling people how to feel or what to do and telling people what you want, why you think a particular course of action would be wise, or why you think it would help to keep relations friendly.

Incidentally, it's been very constructive here to hear SMs talking about why they believe the mothers should support their marriages. Obviously, I don't agree that their view is always realistic, and I would not necessarily change my behavior to suit their desires. But knowing that the tension exists, and why, can be helpful.

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In theory it's a fair idea, but in practice you probably make the situation worse. Even with the best intentions, I think it comes across as disrespectful.
That's fine. I don't mind short-term insult to avoid a long-term problem. On the whole I prefer long-term grudging respect to momentary peace and sunshine. Of course, if she's so easily insulted that the conversation is to her a long-term problem, then I don't worry about that either; I'm likely to offend by breathing near her, and then we'd have the same problem anyway.
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#16 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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That's fine. I don't mind short-term insult to avoid a long-term problem. On the whole I prefer long-term grudging respect to momentary peace and sunshine. Of course, if she's so easily insulted that the conversation is to her a long-term problem, then I don't worry about that either; I'm likely to offend by breathing near her, and then we'd have the same problem anyway.

Not neccessarily... I could care less if I breath the same air as DP's ex, that doesn't bother me. But beleive me I'd have an issue with her telling me what to do with my money and how to run the finances in my household. It's not her's and none of her business. Until it directly affects her daughter she has no business saying anything, and if it is an issue, she should take it up with DP, not me. Wives have no business being put in the middle of financial affairs with the ex. And the ex has no business telling the wife how to run her household.

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#17 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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We have joint finances for almost anything, but CS is paid out of my partner's separate account (an account that as far as I'm concerned, does not exist--it's an inherited asset). He says it's a point of pride for him--I'm the main breadwinner otherwise--and that's fine. He recently voluntarily upped the CS he paid (because his ex's financial situation deteriorated through no real fault of hers); he didn't ask for my input (and my input would have been "that's fine" if he had).

All other financial decisions affecting our household are made jointly, though.

Otherwise, quite a bit of "our" money has gone to SD's care--anything from a $10 copay reimbursement, to clothes, to cow's milk, to the extra $200 a month or so we spend on rent because we have a larger apartment than we'd need if it was just us.

I think, when you partner or marry into a family with children, you can't look at things in extreme, black-and-white, his-or-mine terms...you'll drive yourself nuts. (At least I would--I suppose I shouldn't try to speak for others.)

I suppose this means I'm fortunate and privileged, and I guess I am...we have enough money that it's not really an issue, but not enough that money becomes an issue again, if that makes sense. I'm also fortunate that money isn't a particularly emotional subject for me, which makes it easier to just step back.

I do have my buttons--if SD's mom starts criticizing my cooking or sending over ugly plastic crap because she doesn't like how SD's room here is decorated, that sets me off. But money doesn't.

I've said this before, though: If you are considering marrying or long-term-partnering with someone who has children, or a child support and/or alimony obligation, READ the agreement, or at least read the relevant parts of it (tell your partner he can redact parts if his ex's privacy is a concern). You become a party to it in a very real, if figurative, sense. If the agreement says the children are to be raised in a certain religion, you'll have to accommodate that religion in your home, even if you and your partner don't practice it. If expensive sports like equestrian activities, or training to be an Olympic skater, are listed as reimbursable, be prepared for that.

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#18 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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Not neccessarily... I could care less if I breath the same air as DP's ex, that doesn't bother me. But beleive me I'd have an issue with her telling me what to do with my money and how to run the finances in my household. It's not her's and none of her business. Until it directly affects her daughter she has no business saying anything, and if it is an issue, she should take it up with DP, not me. Wives have no business being put in the middle of financial affairs with the ex. And the ex has no business telling the wife how to run her household.
I don't think anyone's suggested she should, JSMa. Including me.
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#19 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 04:49 PM
 
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I'll tell you, aricha, I'd be very nervous if XH married and his wife handled things that way. It seems to me there's far more room for resentment and bad vibes than is necessary. It's fine so long as the wife feels no pain by paying the c/s, etc., but the minute she wants her own money for something else, she's going to resent both me and the child's right to c/s. She'd have a lot to lose by blaming her dh, and it'd be much easier to aim it at me.

Also, I would not want the wife to have any sense that it's at all her business how the money's spent on this end. Once it's her money going to c/s collection, there's bound to be some of that.

I would hope that any future wife of my XH would maintain real boundaries with the money, and not overcommit herself because she's in the rosy flush of love, there. Because you can bet I'd end up paying for some of that in the end, and dd might as well. In fact, thanks to this discussion, if it ever looks like remarriage is a possibility for XH, I mean to sit down with his fiancee and have this conversation. She can think what she likes of me at the time, but I bet that down the line, if things go a little sour and she's feeling resentful, she'll recall the conversation.

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.

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#20 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 05:06 PM
 
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Otherwise, quite a bit of "our" money has gone to SD's care--anything from a $10 copay reimbursement, to clothes, to cow's milk, to the extra $200 a month or so we spend on rent because we have a larger apartment than we'd need if it was just us.
Yep. Housing costs are often forgotten and should be taken into account, I think.

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I think, when you partner or marry into a family with children, you can't look at things in extreme, black-and-white, his-or-mine terms...you'll drive yourself nuts. (At least I would--I suppose I shouldn't try to speak for others.)
I agree here too. However, it means you really have to sit down and think honestly about where your limits are, and allow yourself to imagine alternate futures. Things do change. The advent of the SM's own children seems to be a big watershed sort of moment, and I see too many SMs taken by surprise at their own territoriality. Suddenly the money does matter. The bottom line is that it's important to have a very clear sense, going in, of where your limits are. What you're willing to give and what you aren't. 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.

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I suppose this means I'm fortunate and privileged, and I guess I am...we have enough money that it's not really an issue, but not enough that money becomes an issue again, if that makes sense. I'm also fortunate that money isn't a particularly emotional subject for me, which makes it easier to just step back.
Protolawyer, you may want to do some heavy imagining yourself, there. What seems like enough money without your own child can suddenly become not-nearly-enough after the birth of your own kids. I have politics now that I never dreamed I'd have, and it's all because I mean for my child to have certain opportunities and a certain degree of protection while she grows up.

Today, as my daughter brushed her teeth, I thought about the likelihood of her growing up to be an artist, and how I'd swing the expenses, and what kind of artist she might likely be. Already I've seen a traction and authority with her and art -- making it, seeing it, remarking on it, wearing it -- that I recognize. My heart sinks just a little bit, because I know what kind of instability there is in that world, and how very expensive the materials and education are. But if that's what is, that's what is. We'll see. I don't think she's cut out for a fine artist; she cares too much about other people, the rules, politeness. Maybe an academic or an illustrator. But there I am in the bathroom, watching her brush and looking at the nifty outfit she's put together, adding up the thousands. The gesso, the paper, the years of needing cash infusions, the BFA, the airfare to Florence, the cost of undergrad living in major cities. We are nearly out of rich grandparents, and her father will likely be broke. 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.

Most everyone has something they want to give their children, and most all of it costs money, one way or the other.

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I do have my buttons--if SD's mom starts criticizing my cooking or sending over ugly plastic crap because she doesn't like how SD's room here is decorated, that sets me off. But money doesn't.
Yikes. For real, she does this? Decor, not my business, even if you've got wallpaper with the dogs playing poker. I just don't want to end up the fall guy or with dd in the middle when it comes to $$$.

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I've said this before, though: If you are considering marrying or long-term-partnering with someone who has children, or a child support and/or alimony obligation, READ the agreement, or at least read the relevant parts of it (tell your partner he can redact parts if his ex's privacy is a concern). You become a party to it in a very real, if figurative, sense. If the agreement says the children are to be raised in a certain religion, you'll have to accommodate that religion in your home, even if you and your partner don't practice it. If expensive sports like equestrian activities, or training to be an Olympic skater, are listed as reimbursable, be prepared for that.
Amen, and thank you for saying so.
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#21 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 05:12 PM
 
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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.
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#22 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 06:12 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 07:25 PM
 
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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.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#24 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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Mama41...some questions for you...

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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.


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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.


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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.

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#25 of 68 Old 05-05-2008, 09:05 PM
 
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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.
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#26 of 68 Old 05-06-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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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.
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#27 of 68 Old 05-06-2008, 12:01 PM
 
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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?"
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#28 of 68 Old 05-06-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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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.

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#29 of 68 Old 05-06-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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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.
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#30 of 68 Old 05-06-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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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.
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