to tell partner that he can't live with me unless ex-wife contributes to school fees?

(72 Posts)
oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:23:24

I've divorced and been with my partner for several months and I love him and his dss to bits.

However, he is terrible with money. He is separated and in the separation agreed to pay all his sons' school fees AND maintenance to his ex-wife.

After his rent and bills this leaves him with £600 a month. He is getting into debt every month to the tune of around another £1000 - a lot of which is spending on his boys - phones, trips etc. He has no savings and no capital.

AIBU to tell him that he can't live with me until he has come to an agreement with his wife about her maintenance/contributing towards school fees?

I don't want to have to subsidise him because of this. I want to trust him not to get into debt before I commit myself to being a part of his life in the longer term. My last partner was a fuckwit and I want a more secure future.

AIBU because I think he thinks that I am.....?

Shakirasma Tue 08-Jan-13 08:26:38

You will never have a secure future with somebody who is so crap with money, regardless of school fees.

You need to have a long hard think about what exactly this man can offer you. Stress and debt in spades IMO.

Ragwort Tue 08-Jan-13 08:31:42

Agree with Shakirasma - persumably this man is an adult, if he has got to this stage in his life and cannot budget/control his money he is very unlikely to ever learn ................ you will end up subsidising him for life, he will never provide you with a 'secure future' and you have said this is what you want.

If you enjoy his company just keep him as a 'boyfriend' but don't let him move in with you.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 08-Jan-13 08:32:30

After rent and bills I could live very comfortably on £600 a month, as could many people. He needs to learn to budget and live within his means. YANBU to make sure he is doing this before linking your finances.

Presumably you are counting school fees as bills, in which case he has a very good income. He's just got used to living at a standard he can no longer afford.

You can pressure him, not his ex. They have an agreement which he must have signed up to. You can ask if he can try to renegotiate but the issue ans responsibility lie with him, not her.

ZillionChocolate Tue 08-Jan-13 08:32:50

It sounds as though he has already come to an arrangement about school fees. How was that reached? Did he have any legal advice?

It sounds like the two of them can't afford school fees on top of running two households.

I think you're absolutely right not to move in with someone who is so financially unstable.


After all my mortgage and bills, I am left with around £300 per month. I have never been in debt (other than mortgage), own my own car, and have quite an acceptable standard of living. I have savings of around £10k plus a pension. I don't own a credit card.

I do not understand how after paying his rent, his bills, his wife's maintenance, his sons' school fees he can't cope financially on £600 per month. How on earth can one go into debt of £1000 each month and still have access to be able to continue doing that and not be bankrupt?

He is feckless and financially irresponsible and I can't believe he wouldn't sponge off you. Sorry, this guy is not a catch and I'd be kicking him into the long grass with the proviso that if he genuinely sorts his shit out, you might consider a relationship with him then. I wouldn't even be dating him, let alone allowing him to move in.

SantasENormaSnob Tue 08-Jan-13 08:39:03

I would run a mile from this man.

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:39:51

Zillion: He had no legal advice about the separation agreement: it's all informal. His wife is the same as far as I can see and they had massive debts together.

Voice: I am the same as you in terms of money and I'm ok financially. I just don't spend what I don't have. He seems to not worry about £100 here, £70 there. I feel like he doesn't get that it just all adds up to debt.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 08-Jan-13 08:42:00

To put this in perspective, the £1,600 he is treating as disposable income each month is, approximately, the total take home pay of someone on the average, mid-£20ks wage.

Obviously this is about attitude, responsibility and being an adult, not numbers but, blimey!

EllieArroway Tue 08-Jan-13 08:42:50

I would consider myself rich if I had £600 after everything else had been paid & I think most people would.

I don't think you can get involved in telling him what arrangements he should have with the ex because that's their business. But what you can do is tell him that you won't be subsidising him & if his ridiculous spending habits are causing you hassle then show him the door.

Seabright Tue 08-Jan-13 08:42:57

Don't live together and don't do anything to combine ANY of your finances, however small.

Enjoy his company, introduce him to and see ow it goes, but don't take the relationship any further at this stage, the money problems will drive all the love away if you do.

LIZS Tue 08-Jan-13 08:43:53

I suspect he is not being honest with you , or himself, about the level of casual spending. What were the circumstances of the split , could he feel guilty and use money to alleviate it ? Does his ex work ? If you want a more secure future then I'm afraid it isn't likely to be with him .

PaellaUmbrella Tue 08-Jan-13 08:44:56

YABU expecting his wife to start contributing to the school fees - they came to an agreement on that. His inability to budget isn't her fault.

YANBU for not wanting to subsidise him though. He needs to become better with money - £600 surplus each month is PLENTY. The phones for his sons needs to stop and the trips need to become free ones.

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Jan-13 08:47:44

When you say £600 after bills do you also mean after food, or that the £600 needs to also pay for food?

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:48:47

They have come to an agreement about maintenance and school fees. You are not part of that, nor is your opinion of it relevant.

This leaves him with insufficient money left over for you to want to cohabit with him. I think it is very prudent of you to consider the finances before moving in, and wish you luck in your search for a richer partner.

TippiShagpile Tue 08-Jan-13 08:50:58

The school fees are probably a red herring - if it wasn't school fees it would be something else. Some people are just crap with money and fritter it all away.

Don't move in with him - his credit record will be linked to yours if you do. Also, you'll become very resentful after a few months of bailing him out and it will destroy your relationship.

Sorry but he sounds absolutely crap with money. THAT is the problem, not whatever arrangement he has with his ex, so leave her out of it. Even if she agreed to take less money he would still spend above his means, with the attitude that he has.

You've only been with him a few months, which is really early to start talking about living together.

You're quite right to insist he straighten himself out financially before he moves in, but that's something he needs to change in himself. If you don't see him making any changes soon then I think you have to consider that yes, you might have picked another fuckwit, and best to move on.

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:51:28

The £600 needs to pay for food, yes. That's what left after his school fees/maintenance/rent/utilities

I think a lot of the extra payments are associated with the schooling - uniforms, trips, phones etc.

His wife works FT yes. My personal feeling is that they can't afford to run two houses and pay the school fees. I think he feels responsible for paying for everything. He doesn't feel guilty (was a mutual split) but just responsible, I think.

I appreciate all your advice, which is really how I was feeling.

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Jan-13 08:52:44

Well then I can see why he easily goes over the £600 if it includes food, transport costs, clothing + the cost of maintaining the children when he has them + uniforms etc

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:03

"This leaves him with insufficient money left over for you to want to cohabit with him. I think it is very prudent of you to consider the finances before moving in, and wish you luck in your search for a richer partner."

sad That sounds really harsh. I don't want a 'richer partner', I just want to be able to support myself and have a partner who supports himself.

If we move in together, I will lose my child benefit, for a start!

SamSmalaidh Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:22

Agree with others about school fees - that is not the issue. He has agreed to pay them and can afford to, so he should that.

What on earth is he spending £1200 a month on? He needs to learn to budget and manage his money better.

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:33

Yes they have 50/50 shared care (7 nights in 14)

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:39

Don't move in with him

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:07

And you don't "lose" your CB. He will have to pay tax to cover it though

LIZS Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:10

but presumably were he to move in , some of the bills would then become joint (rent?, council tax, utilities etc) so his £600 might increase and you might be better off.

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:34

Can he really afford to pay the school fees though? Leaving £600 a month left over, for food/clothing/children? What happens when he needs a new car? I don't see how it is really considered affordable.

SamSmalaidh Tue 08-Jan-13 08:55:11

He needs to budget better then! £600 should be more than enough to pay for food, transport and some bits for the kids.

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:55:36

It isn't about the money, it is about him supporting himself, TBH.

tiggytape Tue 08-Jan-13 08:56:02

YABU - the school fees may be crippling but he is still spending another £1000 a month he doesn't have on extra treats which indicates, even without the school fees to pay, he is crap with money and will get into debt no matter how much disposable income he has

YANBU to want him not to be dependent on you for money but YABU to think it is his exwife who is the problem.

LaCiccolina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:56:38

He must have a sparkling personality as the description of his money habits would make me disappear.

Don't fund his responsibilities.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 08-Jan-13 08:57:25

I think your DP and his ex need to have a chat about the school fees. Clearly, they cannot afford to privately educate their children and run two households, so the children should really be moved to a state school.

I don't see why this should be an issue, it's not like the children won't be educated. Your DP obviously feels very guilty that he is no longer a full time parent and is making up for this with money. Perhaps some counselling would be beneficial, so that he can learn to understand that love doesn't equal masses of presents and expensive trips.

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 08:57:27

I don't think his ex-wife is the problem at all. I think they both have their heads in the sand.

NoelHeadbands Tue 08-Jan-13 08:58:04

I'm all for true love and that, but not with a 20ft bargepole, sorry

TippiShagpile Tue 08-Jan-13 08:58:11

The problem is that if you say to him that he can only move in with you if he stops paying school fees it looks like you are saying "it's me or your child - make a choice". It will also cause huge resentment from his ex-wife because she will paint you as the bad guy who stopped her son from going to his school and their son may end up resenting you because he'll have to change schools/lose friends etc.

Imho it's far too big a can of worms.

ihearsounds Tue 08-Jan-13 08:58:24

Phones should be a one off expense really. With the very occasional top up just to keep the number active. But even then should be from maintainance money. Uniforms, again not a weekly thing in the sense that everything needs changing.

£600 a month for food etc after all bills should be more than enough. I would love to have £600 a month left over after bills, but alas I dont and somehow feed more than myself and dont have debt.

He should learn how to live within his means and budget better. there is no way I would live with a reckless person.

But why are you even talking about living together already?

Especially if he has 50/50 care, you should really give your relationship a lot more time. He's not even divorced yet.

A year from now, things might look very different. Maybe he and his ex will have decided they can no longer afford the fees, or maybe he will get a better job.

I think you should slow down and see how things develop.

tiggytape Tue 08-Jan-13 09:01:26

AThis isn't about school fees. The man is just crap with money.
He has £600 disposable income a month after rent and bills
However he chooses to spend £1600 on trips and treats and phones and £1000 of that is borrowed money.

He has £600 after rent and bills and school fees!

HecatePropolos Tue 08-Jan-13 09:01:55

How much would his half of the two of you living together be?

He needs to live within his means. That's the problem. And if this is how he is - then tying your money up with his will simply drain you. If this is something you already know you will resent - you would be off your rocker to go ahead with it.

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 09:02:50

It wasn't meant to be harsh.

He has reached an agreement with his ex about the amount he will pay. He is sticking to that. That's good, and unfortunately none of your business.

The amount of money he has left after that might be your business. But according to your OP, it's insufficient for how you want to live. So either you change your expectations (nearly always a bad thing), or you look for someone else with a higher disposable income. Money is one of the biggies that lead to relationships failing, and it's prudent (and quite rare) to look at the cold hard sums before commitment. And I think you are doing the right thing - even though it means this relationship isn't likely to lead to hoped-for cohabitation.

If they have 50/50 care he shouldn't be paying maintenance should he ??

SpicyPear Tue 08-Jan-13 09:10:06

Agree that the school fees aren't the issue here, it's his attitude to money. It's sounds as if he would continue to overspend even with lower outgoings. At present he is racking up £12k a year in debt to sustain his lifestyle! It won't take long for it all to come crashing down. You would be a fool to get yourself and your DS tied up in that, especially as you've only been together months.

letseatgrandma Tue 08-Jan-13 09:18:27

Excuse my ignorance, but why is he paying maintenance to his wife? Is it to support her (like alimony-is that the term they use in America?) If yes, why? I didn't think that happened anymore? If it's for the children, again-why? I thought you said it was 50/50 shared care?

mumandboys123 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:19:38

how do you know his ex wife doesn't already contribute towards school fees?

ZillionChocolate Tue 08-Jan-13 09:19:47

If the divorce isn't finalised, he'd really benefit from some independent advice, ideally from a family law solicitor.

It'd be madness for you to live with him until he has sustainable arrangements. That must include him living within his means and saving regularly for emergencies/one offs.

letseatgrandma Tue 08-Jan-13 09:20:15

Also-they clearly can't afford private school after a divorce (with two homes to support) but don't wish to let this luxury (!) go. Does his ex work? Sounds like they need to reevaluate their priorities.

tiggytape Tue 08-Jan-13 09:25:04

Also-they clearly can't afford private school after a divorce

It is a big decision to pull a child out of school and away from all their friends as their parents split up and find new partners. They will lose the last of their security and support. And many would argue that if you can pay private school fees PLUS maintenance PLUS rent PLUS bills and still have £600 left at the end of every month that in fact you can easily afford school fees.

He is obviously just the type of person who spends double whatever he has. OP admits he is just crap with money. His actual outgoings and incomings are easily manageable.

HormonalHousewife Tue 08-Jan-13 09:26:09

This unfortunately sounds a very similar situation to one I am aware of.

I would run a mile to be honest... and then some more.

You are comfortable now, have a good standard of living, then just enjoy his company as a boyfriend. Dont take him in, you will become responsible for his debts. It just isnt worth it mentally or financially.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Tue 08-Jan-13 09:35:51

If hes paying maintenance and the school fees, why is he yet paying extra for uniforms, maintenance should cover that.

But i agree that moving in with him, would be a bad idea, he obviously alot of outgoings, that dont much his incomings.

Viviennemary Tue 08-Jan-13 09:40:04

At first I thought this sounds a bit harsh. But on reading this I think you are absolutely right not to let him move in until he sorts himself out financially. But I don't think you are in a position to argue about who pays their sons school fees. That's up to the parents. But you are right not to want to subsidise him. And especially if he moves in and you lose your CB. And I think he needs to seek legal advice about the financial arrangments he has with his ex. But again that would be up to him but you could always hint.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 08-Jan-13 09:48:43

Why the rush to move him in after just a few months?

He and his ex wife should probably get something more formal decided but that's up to them. You could suggest it of course.

600 a month sounds like a lot to me because Im skint! But i can see how that would get eaten up if it needs to pay for food for him and his son and their clothes and outings etc. Does it cover also petrol, travel, stuff that needs doing to his home, one offs like birthday presents which when you have a child they seem to have a party every week! His phone as well you said? Its not as much as it sounds once you take those things off.

Still there is no rush so just get to know him better for a while. I think you are right to be wary though.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 08-Jan-13 09:50:55

School clubs? Gym membership?

Is some of it going on paying the debts his is constantly building up? So he pays some off but then doesn't have enough money so borrows more?

MrsMelons Tue 08-Jan-13 09:54:10

There seems to be a few issues here. I think he sounds bad with money, £600 should stretch further than it is for him at the moment. Food can't be that much for him and his children surely.

His bills will be reduced by a lot presumably if you move in together so that should free up another couple of hundred that he could save towards a car/other unexpected stuff.

I think it is unreasonable for him to take the child out of the school as he can afford it but i agree that his wife should be buying uniforms and other school bits out of the maintenance.

I would not want to move in with someone that would potentially get me into debt but there are ways round it if you really wanted to, make sure you have a joint bills/savings account where you both contribute then you know bills are always paid and you have some savings, then he can do as he pleases with the rest of his.

You should be able to discuss this with him though and he really needs to be more realistic with his spending. Probably until then you are right to have doubts about moving in together.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 08-Jan-13 10:00:39

YANBU to want him to show that he isn't going to keep getting into debt before you say you want to move in with him. If you are going to end up subsidising him because he can't support himself, then just don't Moët in with him until he's got it sorted.

You need to leave the school fees out of it though. He has already made that commitment, and it would be very very wrong of you to bring up the school fees when discussing how your relationship moves forward.

When you get into a relationship with someone who has children, you have to accept that the commitments that are already in existence are not going to change.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 08-Jan-13 10:04:54

Why on earth is he saying maintenance if he has the kids half the time?

MrsMelons Tue 08-Jan-13 10:17:37

I didn't clock that fuckadoodlepoopoo - he shouldn't be paying any maintenance surely?

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Jan-13 10:42:33

"His actual outgoings and incomings are easily manageable"

On what basis have you made that assessment?

If he earns over £60k (which he must as OP's child benefit will be "lost"), then say maintenance he pays per month is £275. That in theory is half the amount required to maintain the child, so he also has £275 expenditure per month on the child. So £600 pm less £275 is £325pm, out of which he has to clothe and feed himself, expense of a car plus transport to work etc. Plus related expenditure of having a child in private school including uniforms/trips etc. Doesn't sound easily manageable to me personally.

Paiviaso Tue 08-Jan-13 11:02:28

"I want to trust him not to get into debt before I commit myself to being a part of his life in the longer term."

I doubt you will ever be able to do this. A future with this man requires him changing. He was in debt when he was married, and he is in debt now. Why you do expect he will suddenly learn to live within his means? How long are you going to wait around until you realise he isn't going to sort himself out?

It sounds like there is lots he could do rectify his financial situation - he could get a formal financial arrangement with his exwife, and he could stop spending money he doesn't have. But he hasn't done this.

So, as someone said above, you can keep this man as your boyfriend, but you must never mix your finances, never move in together, and never get married. Because if you do any of these things you will end up supporting him and his over-spending.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Tue 08-Jan-13 11:13:50

MrsMelons No he shouldnt be paying maintenance, if he has them half the time, CSA ask if the NRP has regular over nights, as this will bring the level of maintenance down.

WilsonFrickett Tue 08-Jan-13 11:16:31

Why is he paying maintenance if he has 50/50 residence? I don't understand that at all. He should be paying half school fees and half all other costs / expenses to do with the DC in that situation, surely?

I'm a bit confused. I also think you're rushing into things. Why do you want to live with someone you've only been seeing for a few months?

pluCaChange Tue 08-Jan-13 11:29:19

Maybe the "moving in" idea is from the boyfriend!

Dahlen Tue 08-Jan-13 11:32:57

I think he's completely awful with managing money and until that changes you should not consider moving in with him.

£600 pcm AFTER school fees, maintenance, rent and bills is MUCH more disposable income than most people. To be accumulating debt to the tune of £1000pcm on that shows mismanagement of a staggering proportion. Throw your lot in with this man and I can almost guarantee you'll end up with a repossessed home, out of control debts and a completely trashed credit rating of your own.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 08-Jan-13 11:44:35

Maybe he's paying maintenance because his ex wife reduced her earning potential by being a SAHM for a while, and as he's a good Dad that wants his child to have the same standard of living at his Mums as he can have at his Dads. Maybe the Mum does all the shopping for clothes, shoes and school necessities, so he gives her money to cover that.

I don't think anyone else has a right to question the money he pays in maintenance tbh. If he's happy to pay it and that's the arrangement he came to with his ex wife, then that's a good thing surely?

If he has £600 a month left over after paying school fees, maintenance, rent and all his bills, then it sounds like he can afford it.

HappyNewHissy Tue 08-Jan-13 11:45:53

How many months have you beed with this BOYFRIEND?

What right does that give you to question his financial outgoings?

Who is suggesting moving in?

And why the unseemly rush? Where's the fire?

MrsMelons Tue 08-Jan-13 12:22:01

I am not sure anyone is questioning that he pays it as such but I think maybe the OP is not actually telling the full story. He shouldn't have to pay maintenance as such but he should be contributing when stuff needs to be bought for the children - that is different.

Its not great for the DCs if he he giving his money to their mum for the week she has them then getting into huge debt the weeks he has them - where will that leave them in a few years (out of their school quite possibly) - there is no sense in that and I suspect there is more to it TBH.

The BF may be on a fairly high wage and the mum on a low wage so she may need the additional money regardless.

You should not live with him at all.

You have only been with him months, rather than years, and you are both freshly divorced. Date him a bit. But for goodness sake, dont subsidize him!

run away. Run far, far away.

Does a man who got in to huge debt with his wife and is now getting in to more debt each month and has costly child related expenses he is apparently unwilling to give up, really sound like the man of your dreams? Nightmares maybe....

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 20:29:19

Thanks all for your advice.

I think you have all said a lot of wise words and made me think I am not actually being unreasonable about all of this.

It is really about him being able to support himself properly. We need some serious talks about this and you are right, we are moving too fast.

Thank you. x

oldeposter Tue 08-Jan-13 20:38:24

Actually I have read my OP and he has not been accumulating debt to that amount YET (of £1000 p m) but that is what he is spending over his income (he had some money which is now spent). So what he is spending over his income appears to be 1k.

omaoma Tue 08-Jan-13 20:49:21

echo plu - are you sure the idea of him moving in with you so soon after meeting isn't about helpfully reducing those pesky expenses now his savings are gone?

good luck OP

expatinscotland Tue 08-Jan-13 20:50:14

You've only been with him a few months, you both have children, he's not even divorced AND he is complete crap with money?

You are both VERY unreasonable.

'His wife works FT yes. My personal feeling is that they can't afford to run two houses and pay the school fees. I think he feels responsible for paying for everything. He doesn't feel guilty (was a mutual split) but just responsible, I think.'

That's neither here nor there, what is is that he is racking up huge amounts of debt and is crap with money.

rainrainandmorerain Tue 08-Jan-13 21:49:52

I think you are being very sensible to look at this financial situation now. We can all be wise about other people's relationships but lots of people are a bit giddy in the first months of a relationship, only to get bitten on the arse later by things they never paid attention to before.

He can't manage his finances. Whatever you think about the arrangements he and his soon to be ex made, you can't get involved in that without causing a whole heap of problems. the fact that he is continuing to rack up debt at an alarming rate is a huge problem - total ostrich territory - and it is either an overhaul of his existing outgoings or a huge change in lifestyle to accommodate his reduced income that is needed.

if he can't do either for himself, you can't afford to get closely involved with this man. If he's really lovely, try and keep it all at arm's length for a year, and then see what he's done about it all. Probably nothing, but who knows.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 08-Jan-13 22:01:44

I think he should pay the school fees. He might be crap with money, generally, but at least he is a good and responsible father. I think it reflects well on him that he is standing by the promises he made to his ex wife and is continuing to honour his commitment to the school fees.

That said, if I was you, I would enjoy the relationship but not live together or share finances.

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