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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How on earth do people manage that fiancially?

At this point there is no way we can get on an even playing field so to speak. My ex per his suggestion put in the divorce decree that he would pay half of all sports/extra activities . So far only ds has done extra activities, not a ton, he has done one at a time, swimming in the fall and karate/winter spring and he is going to start tennis for 4 weeks for june. But dd hasn't started. I feel bad that fiancially we cannot afford to pay full price for dp's kids but in reality we cannot. I have found reasonable activities and will likely enroll his youngest with my youngest in a ballet class through a church in fall, but mainly because I cannot take my dd and have his dd just sit and watch (they are three months apart) also it isn't took expensive. I am just wondering what others do? Do you just put your own or your partners in activities based on finances? I get child support as well as half the activities, and I cannot just not put my kids in stuff because dp doesn't feel he has the money to do so. His oldest especially may begin to feel left out knowing she is the only one not in an activity. He kept telling her if she had a good year he would put her in something but hasn't mentioned it again. I am putting my youngest in soccer this summer and will likely be the beginning of her trying something new or sticking with something every season to keep her busy. He did enroll his youngest in pre k but just feel bad the oldest DSD is being left out.

We also have to work around his ex's schedule so saturdays are often out as well as tuesdays. I cannot force him or his ex to enroll his kids in activities especially if they say they cannot afford them. Right now his ex doesn't provide child support. And while in our house the kids are treated the same and don't get favored, the money coming in on the other side is polar opposite which allows my kids more opportunities since their dad makes 10x's as much as his ex. And because of this I am afraid it will look like my kids are getting favored. But my ex has already given me 160$ to enroll my kids in activities for the summer..
 

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Oh, boy do I feel your pain. Right now, my DH has two exes. His first ex, my oldest stepson's mother, is remarried and lives very far from us. She really has not asked DH to pay anything toward extracurriculars even thought we have offered. His second ex, with whom he has SS (14) and SS (9), uses this as a way to nail us to the wall. She also has the caveat in the divorce decree that he has to pay half of all sports and activities. The only catch that we got put in was that in order to play, they had to maintain all grades required by the school - even for intramural programs and other activities or we are not required to pay anything. So far, she has not assisted SS(14) enough on his education to allow him to play anything. Previously, however, she signed them up for every basketball camp, intramural soccer team, boy scouts - you name it. Half the time they didn't even go, but her point was more to get DH to have to pay. Well, because of that, my kids are not able to be in any extracurricular activities because we cannot afford them. (My ex refuses to pay anything outside of support even if we agree to put our kids in a sport) I am furious that she has run the bills up for us to pay, even not taking the kids to the sports and when his kids have explicitly said to her and to us that they do NOT want to play, when my children really want to play but cannot because of financial constraints. Know you aren't alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Oh, boy do I feel your pain. Right now, my DH has two exes. His first ex, my oldest stepson's mother, is remarried and lives very far from us. She really has not asked DH to pay anything toward extracurriculars even thought we have offered. His second ex, with whom he has SS (14) and SS (9), uses this as a way to nail us to the wall. She also has the caveat in the divorce decree that he has to pay half of all sports and activities. The only catch that we got put in was that in order to play, they had to maintain all grades required by the school - even for intramural programs and other activities or we are not required to pay anything. So far, she has not assisted SS(14) enough on his education to allow him to play anything. Previously, however, she signed them up for every basketball camp, intramural soccer team, boy scouts - you name it. Half the time they didn't even go, but her point was more to get DH to have to pay. Well, because of that, my kids are not able to be in any extracurricular activities because we cannot afford them. (My ex refuses to pay anything outside of support even if we agree to put our kids in a sport) I am furious that she has run the bills up for us to pay, even not taking the kids to the sports and when his kids have explicitly said to her and to us that they do NOT want to play, when my children really want to play but cannot because of financial constraints. Know you aren't alone.

It is sad for the kids getting left out. My ds asked today what DSD 3 was going to do this summer wise, I explained she is in her school (mother's day out) dont get me wrong she enjoys it a ton! But that dp has to pay on his own. Essentially so I can get a break from watching his dd's while his ex gets off scott free and attempted to back out of having them on saturdays at all during this summer. I kinda said um, no, I am not giving up 6 days a week babysitting. So for now the usual schedule stays in place but who knows what happens once summer school is out july 1st. I have dd signed up for soccer saturday mornings so I hope that I do not have to have them come along and watch dd get to do an activity while they sit on the sidelines! I also decided not to put dd in swimming either because of this issue, though I will likely work that in in the fall when DP can stay with his kids after work.

How do your kids handle not doing stuff knowing your DH's kids are able to do sports? Do they get upset? I know DSD's have asked why they don't get to do activities many times especially the older one, but what can I do, it is like I am in a catch 22 situation and if i take the reigns the money will come out of the family money for groceries or my babysitting money, and I likely would be needed to facilate the drop offs and pickups, and I am learnign that can be quite difficult with all these kids. With summer school, mothers day out and ds being a sport I was running around a ton and we spent about 1 hour sitting waiting in the car today =/
 

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It is sad for the kids getting left out. My ds asked today what DSD 3 was going to do this summer wise, I explained she is in her school (mother's day out) dont get me wrong she enjoys it a ton! But that dp has to pay on his own. Essentially so I can get a break from watching his dd's while his ex gets off scott free and attempted to back out of having them on saturdays at all during this summer. I kinda said um, no, I am not giving up 6 days a week babysitting. So for now the usual schedule stays in place but who knows what happens once summer school is out july 1st. I have dd signed up for soccer saturday mornings so I hope that I do not have to have them come along and watch dd get to do an activity while they sit on the sidelines! I also decided not to put dd in swimming either because of this issue, though I will likely work that in in the fall when DP can stay with his kids after work.

How do your kids handle not doing stuff knowing your DH's kids are able to do sports? Do they get upset? I know DSD's have asked why they don't get to do activities many times especially the older one, but what can I do, it is like I am in a catch 22 situation and if i take the reigns the money will come out of the family money for groceries or my babysitting money, and I likely would be needed to facilate the drop offs and pickups, and I am learnign that can be quite difficult with all these kids. With summer school, mothers day out and ds being a sport I was running around a ton and we spent about 1 hour sitting waiting in the car today =/
Honestly, I don't think my kids have actually realized that step-dad has to pay for the boys to do sports. His two sons don't live near us (about three hours away) so they aren't as privy to what is going on with them. We do hear all kinds of gruff when his kids come though and tell us all about the vacations they have been on with their mom, the stuff they get (ipads, beats headphones, etc.) and my kids don't get anything like that. His ex-wife refuses to work and refers to his support payments as "her paycheck" and has plainly told the kids that she has no intention of getting a job as long as she is collecting support from their dad. Meanwhile, the support going out is almost $500 a month more than what is coming in for my two and in addition, every other week we have to drive halfway to pick them up and halfway to drop them off (three and a half hours round trip each time). Costing a huge amount of gas. My kids are well aware that my husband is paying for the majority of their living expenses and that their father refuses to pay for anything outside of standard support order. They are appreciative that he pays for what he does which makes things so much easier. On the other hand, when his boys come, they don't understand why we don't have the money to do something fun, get upset when they waste food, and don't have any new video games and aren't able to go on vacations. They mope the entire weekend and ask to go back to their Mom's. I feel very bad for DH. He is supporting his oldest son, his two other sons (and his ex-wife and her various live in boyfriends that usually do not have a job either), my kids and also our two together and we are expecting again. The stress on him is very high with so many people dependent on him and his paycheck.
 

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That's a tough one and I imagine every blended family has to work out a unique solution. Court orders instructing exes how to share the cost of extracurriculars potentially create as many problems as they solve. How can you and your DH make things seem fair for all the kids under your roof, if the courts have effectively said that you and your ex, and he and his ex are the two separate units who must figure out what activities you can afford; rather than you and your DH?

For us, the appearance of fairness is tantamount. Of course the kids have different interests and that's necessarily going to make spending different. But if one kid is interested in an activity that's so expensive we couldn't afford to even consider it for all the kids, we say no. Specifically:

> My twins run cross-country and track, which tend to have cheaper participation fees than football, which DH's son used to do (especially since my ex also runs and likes to take the twins shopping for their athletic shoes). But we can afford to pay the fees for all 3 of them to do the sports they like, at school, and to order the team sweatsuits each year. So we say yes and don't nit-pick about the different prices.

> Just because DSS dropped out of football and would not take up another sport did not, of course, mean that the twins had to quit their sports. We could still afford for DSS to do a school sport, if he wanted to.

> DSS has a tendency to be attracted to things specifically because they're expensive. He dabbles in, then drops out of, many things. We have said no to hockey, private tennis lessons and karate (in a dojo - Parks Dept. karate would've been fine), because we couldn't afford for all of our kids to have such expensive extracurriculars. If he seemed to have a real passion or talent for something expensive (say, if he were willing to start in an inexpensive program, but he worked so hard that failing to move him up to the next level might mean hampering his future), we'd have to reconsider.

> In evaluating what we can afford, DH and I look at all our income - including CS - as one family resource. My ex pays a lot and voluntarily covers extras like the twins' health insurance; while DH's ex only recently started paying anything at all, contributes the least amount possible, and pays for very little directly since she's out of state and has little parenting time. So, if we broke it all out, there are certainly times when the CS my ex pays has covered DSS's activities or even his school tuition. But it's easier for us to pool our money and distribute it more-or-less equally among our kids, because we have no orders telling our exes to pay for half of extracurriculars. That would be nice, financially, yet miserably lopsided because of our exes' income disparity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
vocal minority we have the huge income disparity between our ex's as well. But i get so frustrated that dp's ex will buy clothes etc for his and dps girls, new clothes every time they come home, but dp has pointed out most if not all the fun things and clothes the girls do at his ex's is paid for by someone else. Because she is 'broke' it annoys me because i would much rather see them get things they need! They do not need 20 dresses and 20 pairs of flip flops...I have told dp that we should not buy any of our kids any more clothes. It is a waste of money when they get clothes from so many other other people. Dp's mom also buys his kids clothes as well. My kids get clothes from relatives for bdays and handmedowns. We could clothes a 25 child classroom easily. But also another issue is dp's view on extra activities. He doesnt see them as a priority. I do. So naturally i make it a priority to get my bio's signed up for stuff. Ironically my ds does to tennis and karate. Though tennis is just once a year and split half it costs me 45$ for a month of lessons. And karate is actually a low income outreach and is 7$ per lesson, split half with my ex it is 3.5$ per lesson.

I don't know what Dp would even want his girls to try his oldest has said swimming but he said no since she can swim well as it is. Ds has done swimming and she knows he has so i think she just wants to do what ds has done.
 
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