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Need advice re: step parent & money


tots2teens
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Wow. That.is.so.not.ok.

 

Not on ANY level.

 

My DH (step to my 3) is severely cognitively compromised, not thinking well, and has raised his kids. We are thinking of separating. But I came home tonight and he had spent a lot of the day trying to work out a day trip to San Antonio for Spring Break using his social security disability money.

 

Since joining my family, he has considered the kids his responsibility - including financial.

 

An attitude like you report would be a deal breaker if not changed/rectified.

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Not okay. Would he go to marriage counseling? If not, would you go on your own? His attitude sounds very controlling. I'm sorry for you and all of your children.

 

ETA: Do you have a separate bank account? Would you be able to set one up and deposit the child support checks in that?

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Wow! I haven't had experience with blended families/marriages, so don't know what's the norm, but I would expect that if someone wanted to marry you, they accept the whole package as their own. I would not go into a marriage if I knew the condition was that he only provide basics for my own kids! It's a bonus that you get maintenance from your ex, and it would be wonderful if your ex also paid for extras for the kids, but if he doesn't, it's terribly unfair that your husband thinks they should just miss out. What about his own kids, and what he pays for their maintenance? You say that what you receive is quite small, and the amount negates what your dh pays to his kids. So therefore, unless he has only 1 child living with his ex, he is being just as miserly. Does he pay for extra things for them? Or does his ex's new partner, or herself pay those things?

 

I think there is more to the problem than this, and I can't suggest what to do, but something probably needs to be done. Either you do get a job (and I don't think he has any right to insist you don't, unless it really impinges on how you care for the kids/home), or you insist that things are more fairly shared among all kids (and I do think you have a right to do this). I also think some counseling/serious marriage discussions about expectations would be in order.

 

Just my 2c though, YMMV. :)

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My initial reaction is that I would inform dh that I was getting a job (at least pt) and that the money earned will be put away for my other children since he refuses to help with their care. I wouldn't even leave it open for discussion.

 

That said, I cannot imagine actually being in your place and I have no real advice. It must be so tough but I think I would fight, and fight hard, so that my older children aren't constantly getting the short end of the stick. I would also really worry about how this would affect their relationship with their half siblings long term. You might also want to mention to your dh that the younger children will soon be old enough to notice how differently their siblings are treated and they may not see things his way. :grouphug:

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Does the child support you get for your older two goes into the "general fund" or a separate fund for them?

If you do get a job, is your income going to the general fund or would you be able to split up some for your older two?

 

I didn't think of this. Is the money you receive for child support actually used to support those children? I don't really know how it works but maybe you can change how that money is handled?

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:grouphug:

 

ITA with the others who say that the money you get for child support should go into a separate account of some kind to be spent on those two children, not into the general household fund. If Mr. Tots2teens doesn't want you to have a job to pay for the incidentals your children need, then it's only fair that the money their own father pays for their support is only used for them.

 

Dr. Laura used to say that most of her telephone calls dealt with issues just like this: conflict because of children from previous marriages vs children of the current marriage. :-(

 

:grouphug:

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Does the child support you get for your older two goes into the "general fund" or a separate fund for them?

If you do get a job, is your income going to the general fund or would you be able to split up some for your older two?

 

 

The child support I get goes on a debit card each month. We have always called that money "kid money", meaning I can use it for whatever the kids need. That money is what I was actually going to use for the trip. But he still gave me a hard time about it.

Wow! I haven't had experience with blended families/marriages, so don't know what's the norm, but I would expect that if someone wanted to marry you, they accept the whole package as their own. I would not go into a marriage if I knew the condition was that he only provide basics for my own kids! It's a bonus that you get maintenance from your ex, and it would be wonderful if your ex also paid for extras for the kids, but if he doesn't, it's terribly unfair that your husband thinks they should just miss out. What about his own kids, and what he pays for their maintenance? You say that what you receive is quite small, and the amount negates what your dh pays to his kids. So therefore, unless he has only 1 child living with his ex, he is being just as miserly. Does he pay for extra things for them? Or does his ex's new partner, or herself pay those things?

 

I think there is more to the problem than this, and I can't suggest what to do, but something probably needs to be done. Either you do get a job (and I don't think he has any right to insist you don't, unless it really impinges on how you care for the kids/home), or you insist that things are more fairly shared among all kids (and I do think you have a right to do this). I also think some counseling/serious marriage discussions about expectations would be in order.

 

Just my 2c though, YMMV. :)

 

 

His kids are pretty much taken care of by their grandmother. They go to dance almost every day & out of town competitions most weekends. The grandmother pays for all of it. My older kids do not have a rich grandmother that will pay for activities or anything.

 

I didn't think of this. Is the money you receive for child support actually used to support those children? I don't really know how it works but maybe you can change how that money is handled?

 

 

Financially, my dh provides a majority of the care to my kids. The amount of child support I get would not even pay for a weeks worth of groceries. Long story, but that's how it is.

 

 

I really appreciate all of your responses. It is a very tough spot to be in.

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Wow. I'm so sorry what a horrible spot to be in.

 

I lived with my father and step-mother and she always treated me the same as the child they had together and I appreciated it so much. Can I be frank? I think this is a mean and selfish attitude your husband has and I don't know that I could allow my child to be treated that way. I certainly wouldn't allow someone to control my access to FAMILY money. I would recommend seeing a therapist ASAP and I'd get my own job with my own bank account. I don't trust people who are controlling of money that way.

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Wow. That.is.so.not.ok.

 

Not on ANY level.

 

My DH (step to my 3) is severely cognitively compromised, not thinking well, and has raised his kids. We are thinking of separating. But I came home tonight and he had spent a lot of the day trying to work out a day trip to San Antonio for Spring Break using his social security disability money.

 

Since joining my family, he has considered the kids his responsibility - including financial.

 

An attitude like you report would be a deal breaker if not changed/rectified.

 

 

:iagree:

 

There is no way in the world I would stay in a marriage with a man who didn't treat my child as his own. Period.

 

And if my dh ever told me that I "had to discuss my purchases with him," he'd be discussing the divorce settlement with my attorney.

 

I'm sure your dh has a lot of positive qualities, but the whole "I earn the money; I control the money" thing would never fly with me.

 

Never.

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This so wouldld not fly with me. I'm an only child but my step-dad always treated me like his. He wouldn't even allow the word step to be used. My parents divorced 20+ years ago and I'm still his daughter. He has no reason to claim me (other than I'm the best daughter ever ;-). My mother would have kicked him to the curb if he treated me that way.

 

My BIL's 2nd wife is like your husband. Their daughter gets anything she wants, literally. His daughter barely gets enough to ge by. The child support he gets does not go towards his daughter, rather to the general fund (ie their daughter). My older niece is 14 sister is 5. She absolutely sees the favoritism and really wants little to do with her dad or sister (and nothing with the step-mom).

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Dr. Laura used to say that most of her telephone calls dealt with issues just like this: conflict because of children from previous marriages vs children of the current marriage. :-(

 

:grouphug:

 

 

This is by far the hardest part of a blended family.

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I was a child of a step parent who didn't see me as a real part of the family, which it sounds like your dh is doing with the older kids. It severely impacted my relationship with everyone in the family, including my parent who didn't stand up for me.

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I don't know how to say it gently...

this is not a good way to be treating your children. Or you.

 

The family money should go equally to all the kids.

It doesn't matter if they are biologically his children. They are your

children and the love of your heart no matter what. And they shouldn't

be treated like 2nd class citizens just because they are in a blended family.

 

As to not letting one's wife work...I think that is very controlling in

a negative way...I don't think husbands should not let the wife work. They

could talk about it, and if the wife wants to work, she should work.

This is America and it's a free country. And once you make your own money

you do not have to ask permission about how to use your own money. I don't

think you should have to ask permission about the family money in any case.

 

I don't think the children should be treated differently. How can it be good for

them? How do they feel now? The whole situation sounds very bad to me from

beginning to end...I am very sorry for the state of things...

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I'll agree with everyone else and say very bad, and counseling is needed.

 

But in the meantime, I'd present it as a new budget technique. The budget needs to include every family member and should look like this:

 

Rent

Utilities

Car

Insurance

Medical

Savings

Groceries

Bills

DH spending money

DW spending money

Kid A spending money

Kid B spending money

Kid C spending money

Kid D spending money

Family spending money

 

Everyone needs a space, everyone needs to have their needs met and without a fight. The easiest way to do it is to carve out a specific place for them in the money plan and stay on budget. That means that when Kid A has a birthday roll around, everything left over from their monthly needs/wants allowance goes toward that. Same with Kid D. No one gets more than the other.

 

OR, birthdays are planned for separately, and every birthday is given the same budget.

 

 

This is the time to put your foot down. So dh doesn't want you to work. The current situation isn't working, and unless he's willing to change it and get on board, then you take matters into your own hands and get it working.

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No. Way. In. Hades.

 

Wolf isn't Diva's genetic parent but he's her Daddy. No way would he EVER think such a thing.

 

I'd get a job so fast his head would spin and from now on he gets NO say in how the support is spent. Its meant for your older kids so if he wants to draw financial lines based on genetics he gets no vote.

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My mother's second husband was like this. Although they did not have children together, and my sister and I clearly were not his financial responsibility, I could never understand how he could be married to my mother but pretty much live in a different financial strata to her (as she had to cover our expenses). Whatever that was, it was not love. They were only married a few years, and that was 20 years ago, but honestly, just writing this makes my chest pound with loathing. As a result of this experience, I know that if I ever ended up single, I would only ever remarry if my new partner cared more for my children than he did for me. Growing up as second class citizens in your own home is a very damaging experience. Although my mother's life was much harder without him, I am always grateful that the marriage did not last - I don't think my relationship with my mother could have otherwise. This isn't advice, I know, but you need to know that this is a really important issue and that you need to resolve it. If you have to work, then so be it.

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Your husband's attitude is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

 

What happens when your dc graduate high school? Will someone help them with college tuition. If your husbands income is high, your dc will not qualify for loans. Will the children he considers his (his and yours together) go to college with him paying everything? I bet that's in his child support agreement for the older dc. This situation will get uglier and your older dc will resent YOU if they don't already.

 

Honestly, I'd get a job and I'd leave the marriage. Sorry, no way would some of my dc be second class.

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Guest inoubliable

Your DH didn't want you to use child support, even though that's what it's for? Is this something you've agreed to in the past? That he has control over what the child support is used for?

 

I realize that my experience with DH and DS12 is the rainbows-and-glitter version. My DH considered DS and I to be a package deal from day one. When we were first dating, he thought nothing of picking up a new cereal for DS that he thought he'd like. Or picking up diapers on the way home from work, without asking if I needed them, simply because he noticed I was getting low that morning. One time we were on vacation and DS had forgotten his stuff animal cat at home. DH asked my mother to give him directions to the nearest Toys R Us and drove us 45 minutes one way to go find the child a stuffed animal cat so he'd have one to sleep with that night. And after we got married? DH sued for custody, arranged everything with an attorney (paid for everything on his own!), negotiated with my ex (no more child support owed if the ex would just sign over his parental rights), and closed the deal within a few months of the wedding. I couldn't have married a man who would do less. I would be very angry in your case and, honestly, would be in counseling ASAP.

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Has he always been like this, or is this a new thing?

 

DH and I have had many working configurations over the past 19 years, and we have always considered the money "ours" regardless of who earned it. We have equal access to the money. The rules about when we can spend independently and when we need to consult are the same for both of us. That said, if I were in your shoes I would put all the kids in school, get a job, and put the money in a separate bank account in my name.

 

I can't imagine staying married to someone who treated my kids like that.

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Please, please go to counseling. I grew up being an unwanted stepchild. My stepmother spent all kinds of money on her own children and very little on my brothers and me. She was stingy with the time and affection she spent on us, as well. It caused very deep division in our family, and I had severe problems that lasted long into adulthood because of this.

 

I think my dad tried in a wishy-washy way to stand up for us, but my stepmother was too strong-willed for him. Extended family -- even my stepsiblings and my stepmother's own parents -- saw this as well, but no one could or would say anything to her. My own mother was dead.

 

I remember one "family vacation" to Hawaii that was planned for my parents and stepsiblings. My brothers and I (all in our late teens and early 20s, basically the same as age our stepsiblings) were not invited. When I found out about it, I refused to see my dad for years afterward. I loved him, but that was the last straw. I wasn't even able to cry at his funeral.

 

Your husband needs to explore the root of this issue and deal with it. This is so much more serious than a simple money issue.

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I'm sorry, but I'm another shocked person. I guess I would just get to used to fighting and doing what I want, since divorce is such a huge thing. My DH has treated our (and he uses that word too even though she isn't biologically his) daughter no differently than our other children. My dd's stepmom treats her like her own too. My child is lucky to have 4 loving, doting parents. I'm sorry you aren't in that position.

 

If you won't go to counseling, do try to find some books on this subject so you can talk to your DH about it. Discussing things in the heat of the moment while each other is defensive is not the optimal time. You need to discuss this, and other similar serious issues when the two of you can be rational.

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Wow. I have a blended family and there is no way I would tolerate this. I would INSIST on counseling with a step family expert. It would be a deal breaker for me.

 

You absolutely must realize that your kids see this is going on. They need you to stand up for them.

 

I understand that your child support isn't enough to even care for their basic needs, that is usually how it works. But even if you got ZERO support, YOUR children are every bit as important as the other children. So see this isn't about money or budgets or working or staying home. This is about respect and care and concern for other humans (you and your two children from first marriage). He needs to understand that your love your older two kids as much as he loves all of his kids.

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The child support I get goes on a debit card each month. We have always called that money "kid money", meaning I can use it for whatever the kids need.

 

 

Whatever any of the kids need, or whatever the children for whom the support is given need?

 

Laur

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I grew up in a blended family. My mother married my stepfather (sf) when I was six. My sf had a son with his first wife. My own bio father paid child support but nothing else. My sf treated my like his own in every sense of the word. He never made an issue of buying things for me. He paid for my braces, college, my wedding, etc. Never once did he make a distinction between me and his bio son. I'm so thankful for that. Your husband is clearly in the wrong.

 

Elise in NC

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That is really not okay. My DH treats my two boys as his own. He sacrifices for him and would do and has done anything they've needed. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how your older kids must feel. Did you know he felt this way before you married him? Is this something new? I wouldn't have ever tolerated my DH treating my boys any different than our dd. That would be a deal breaker.

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Your kids (all of them) deserve better. They are obviously old enough to see what is going on and be affected by it.

 

I would definitely insist on counseling and some major changes to stay in that situation (and I am divorced so I know the implications of leaving the marriage).

 

Also, does he not realize that his actions are going to negatively affect the kids you have with him as well (at the very least I'm sure it affects their relationship with their siblings).

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Ftr, I am NOT recommending divorce. That would be devastating to this family. However, I would find some way to make your dh understand that his current attitude is also devastating to you and your older two children....and really the younger two also.

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Ftr, I am NOT recommending divorce. That would be devastating to this family. However, I would find some way to make your dh understand that his current attitude is also devastating to you and your older two children....and really the younger two also.

 

I totally agree with all of this. Just because I was divorced once, doesn't mean I'm ok with it. I would love to avoid divorce a second time. Mainly, for my younger kids.

 

I grew up with a step dad like this and it just kills me that I'm in the same situation. My mom never stood up for me. I try very, very hard to stand up for my kids (all of them). It is a constant battle and I know that they notice. It breaks my heart.

 

Usually, I just spend the money on whatever I want for the kids. Or I will just buy whatever they need without even asking (because I know the look & comment I will get). But if it's anything big, I know it's going to be a fight. Sometimes I will even put a little money aside here & there if I know of an upcoming expense. It's a terrible way to live, I know.

 

 

 

I agree with most of you about counseling. I discussed it with dh and he is willing to go!

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All of the children are learning a pattern of behavior of how women / wives should be treated and how to treat other people in general. If these are lessons you don't want your children to learn then the problem needs to be fixed now. Looking for counseling with someone who specializes in step and blended families is a good idea. However, I would be quietly revamping my resume, making contact with previous employers and collecting copies of bank statements and tax returns.

 

I've been thinking about this for a couple hours. It doesn't sound like this is a money issue "we can't afford this". He's controlling. If you get a job, he wants to control every dollar from that.

 

Is the money spent on your older dc medical, clothing and anythingelse taken out of the child support and then there's nothing left for anythingelse, while the other children his olders and yours together get vacations and extras out of the family money?

 

Please review what some posters have said about being unwanted step children. I would leave. It would be hard. I would have to put the baby in childcare and the 6 year old in school. I would do everything to make sure the child support agreement was controlling on him. However, my dc would see that I could take care of myself and I would care for each of them with fairness and love.

 

Sorry but your post really bothers me.

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When I got married to Dh, I had a child. He FULLY accepted financial responsibility for that child, though I was getting support. His family also took my child in, fully accepting him as a grandchild, and what was done for one, was done for all.

 

Your step child situation is going to forever hurt that child. They will be shown that they are not fully accepted into the family, that they are not loved, that they are unworthy. THAT is the underlying lesson of those kinds of arrangements.

 

You are mom. You are supposed to protect the vulnerable, the children, even from their father, if need be. Do what you have to do to make sure that your children know that no matter what. Mom loves them and has their back.

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I would leave. It would be hard. I would have to put the baby in childcare and the 6 year old in school. I would do everything to make sure the child support agreement was controlling on him. However, my dc would see that I could take care of myself and I would care for each of them with fairness and love.

 

 

But then her younger dc would be potentially in the same situation her older children are: without a father in the home.

 

It is not that I disagree in principle with everyone as far as the stepfather's reprehensible behavior. It is that for the sake of the younger children I would hope that the OP could take steps to improve the whole situation, KWIM?

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My advice is to seek family and/or marital counseling, as this situation is not acceptable and his domineering response to your suggested solutions makes it clear you need outside help. You should have the final say in how the child support is spent, whether you discuss it with him or not.

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But then her younger dc would be potentially in the same situation her older children are: without a father in the home.

 

It is not that I disagree in principle with everyone as far as the stepfather's reprehensible behavior. It is that for the sake of the younger children I would hope that the OP could take steps to improve the whole situation, KWIM?

 

 

 

I think if one leaves in this situation, you are teaching the children, ALL the children, a bigger lessen about your love and how to treat people. Yes, financiallly, it would be hard. It would be hard without a second parent, but if they second parent is not teaching them proper lessons then he's not good to have around.

 

ETA: I agree marital counseling first. But I would not go along with the situation because some of my dc might come out OK. No one will come out OK. It will only look OK for a short time. Maybe.

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