Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How to be objective regarding money in (second) marriage

(111 Posts)
Interestingchanges Thu 18-Jul-13 10:31:24

Inspired by another thread on spending, I'd like to ask mns how they deal with the slightly trickier situation of being married second time round, with each having dc from former relationship.

Dh has 2 dc and I have 1, relatively similar ages, from resident (ds), 50:50 (dss) to regular contact (dsd).
Dh earns considerably more than me and contributes slightly more to common pot (own accounts), mostly though because he and his consume more (food, water, electricity, ...) then me and mine.

I think I wouldn't be asking if I hadn't made an error in judgement and bought a house with dh. We should have talked about the implications before but as we came upon a good opportunity we saw it as fate and jumped in!

As I used my savings and dh is paying back loan to (my) family member over very extended period, my present will sees ds as beneficiary, dh has however right to live there till he dies and house cannot be sold from under him (drawn up by solicitor who also cuts me out of any dh inheritance (which from gps will probably be considerable, which will go straight to his kids).

Please flame me if I'm being a selfish bitch, btw.

Dh has full knowledge of my finances, I have no secrets (and hes nosey) and always pay my half of things. But I feel he's being really petty by denying me insight into his finances, although its clear I don't want to take anything! I realize he got burned at divorce, but I can't help feeling insulted and marginalized. I looked after myself and ds as lone parent for years and am seriously great at budgeting/ saving etc.

I'd welcome any thoughts on this, particularly if experienced in the matter and somehow found right balance?
Many thanks

I think it's really out of order him not sharing details of his finances with you especially given the loan from a family member on your side.

Are you saying you pay all the mortgage because the idea is your dc will inherit?

And he only pays slightly more than 50% for bills etc?

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 10:52:46

I don't have experience of this. But in your shoes, I wouldn't be happy with him earning much more, and paying only slightly more into the common pot. I also wouldn't be happy with not knowing the state of his finances, especially as you say he is nosey. That would worry me.

If I were you, I'd want to sit down and disentangle all this until there was an arrangement I was happy with.

Do you have the right to live in the house until you die as well? Are his children a beneficiary from the house too, or just your ds?

Don't think its too unreasonable that his kids get the inheritance which will be coming mostly from their grandparents.

Not sure why you think you have made an error in judgement buying a house with him, he is contributing equally to the capital by paying back a loan and your ds seems to be the one who will get it after you both die.

However if you are married you need financial open-ness on both sides so he is being unreasonable.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 11:36:00

I think the full knowledge of finances thing has to go both ways. 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours' as it were... If he's not up for full disclosure, neither are you. FWIW if he earns a lot more than you he should be contributing a lot more proportionally to the family fund regardless of how many children he has resident or not.

Interestingchanges Thu 18-Jul-13 12:31:50

Thanks for all your replies.
There is no mortgage as it was a "DIY job" ( and we bought it because I had the contacts to do it up cheaply).
Everybody, including pils, btw, praise me for the effort I've put into funding and doing up the house, garden, etc.
Dh isn't really a hands on kind of guy but will contribute financially (a lot of improvements though benefit his dc directly).
Getting him to contribute more than 50% involved a heated discussion and me having to "prove" how much I was financing his dc (at the time, he was paying full maintenance + extras, and we had them about half the time.
I'm happy with present arrangement regarding dsc, we've finally built up a good strong relationship all round and they are happy to be here, too.
Strangely, it is dh apparent lack of trust in me, his wife of 3 years (partner of 4 years) that has now become an issue (I suppose I was too busy investing time and energy into building bonds with dsc that I perhaps missed some red flags...).
I've spoken to dh once recently about this situation and he said as the house was in my name he would keep his finances a secret, I,e, they were his. I was speechless as he didn't actually say the house was mine to keep, and his money was his to keep, which would of course have been ultra generous and quite unnecessary.
It sounded like he was punishing me for not making him beneficiary immediately, although not having means to reach this status... And once he's paid off debt I'm to instate him as getting half and then possibly I might or might not get a look in regarding his money??? And how much would he have saved now his maintenance has been reduced by half??
I don't understand his way of thinking at all, I really want to be fair and expect the same. If I'm wrong ill correct it, but so should he.

I hate living like this, it can't think of any argument to get him to talk some more sad.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 12:38:29

The house may be in your name but, the longer you are married, the bigger the claim he has on it. Have you ever offered to put his name on the deeds or have you excluded him deliberately? Where arguments fail, sadly, you usually have to resort to threats. Goes beyond money really and we now sound like we're in the realms of secrecy, mistrust and selfishness. Is this important enough a matter for you to go to the wire i.e. threaten separation?

Interestingchanges Thu 18-Jul-13 13:06:40

Cogito, the house was originally in both our names but due to a legal technicality (don't live in UK) it had to be changed to mine only.
Dh came with me to solicitor to sort out both our wills and I did not notice his secrecy because I've always been self sufficient and couldn't be bothered asking.
I only ever asked him to contribute a bit more as I thought his contribution too low, and was surprised then what a nitpicker he was. I had secretly hoped he would apologize for being thoughtless and be suitably generous, in the same way me and my family had been in funding the house in the first place.
I also gave him the benefit of the doubt as he ex bled him dry and I did not want to be seen of similar character. But after asking him rationally and calmly to at least tell me details, in the name of trust etc, he was cold and mean spirited. As if I had somehow cheated him!
I realize nobody here knows me personally, but I'm open and honest to a fault, its pathetic really the lengths I will go to to make sure e.g. all dc are treated the same, like keeping treats for dsc when not present to enjoy at later time!
And what do I get in return? Suspicion and meanness. My only explanation is that dh is actually more calculating then I realized and is pissed off at me for questioning his rights and sense of entitlement.
Separation had been on the cards, for me at least, but dh is willing to go to counseling and it has helped regarding many relationship aspects. I mentioned the problem to therapist when there on my own and she backed me up on the honesty in relationships aspect. But dh managed to fob me off with a lame spreadsheet of his typical income and expenses and I've not raised the subject since.
But god help me it bugs me and hangs like a cloud over me.

ImperialBlether England Thu 18-Jul-13 13:19:35

I wonder whether his ex did "bleed him dry" or whether giving her any money at all has made him feel he's suffering.

He doesn't sound very nice at all, OP.

If you divorced, what would happen to the house? Didn't he put any money into it at all?

ImperialBlether England Thu 18-Jul-13 13:21:13

I don't think you should have told him anything unless he was telling you, too. However, that sounds so petty, I don't think I'd want a relationship like that.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 13:23:44

I'm also wondering the same thing about the ex. I mean, if you did split up, what would be his version of events afterwards?.... 'She was unreasonable about money, didn't let me spend anything without getting permission in triplicate'.

I'm not surprised it's hanging over you. Any hint of secrecy and mistrust kills a relationship stone dead. Speaking personally, I put 'meanness' right up there with 'lying' as a fatal personality flaw.

CatDogAndMouse Thu 18-Jul-13 13:32:30

I have lived with my partner for over 2 years. While we were renting a house we kept our separate bank accounts and agreed between us which bills we would pay. I earn a lot less than my DP too.

We bought a house together earlier this year and we used my money for the deposit. We now have a joint bank account and everything is paid in/out of that account.

My DPs XW also took a massive percentage of their assets. We both believed that if we were going to work as a couple then everything is shared. The house is in joint names too. Your DP can't treat you differently because of what someone else did to him in the past. A relationship is based on a partnership and sharing.

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 13:32:33

The meanness and secrecy would really bug me too. Sorry to hear you are having a hard time.

Interestingchanges Thu 18-Jul-13 16:01:12

Thanks again for replies everybody.

I've just been for a long walk to calm down again.

I notice if I talk for any length about this I tend to get a bit emotional and I'm seriously trying not to whinge.

1) there was never any question at the beginning that I'd not share house 50:50. He contributed a "deposit", about a sixth of the asking price and also contributed to any home improvements since.
2) his very unreasonable behaviour regarding a lot of things (like always putting dsc, regardless of circumstances, before me, so that they never learned any respect, thankfully 110% of effort on my part has brought them round) has severely pissed me off,
3) his meanness in speaking to me as if I were in the wrong when unexpected circumstances changed our plans (I.e. name on deeds) and generally acting like a shit when he doesn't get his way - sulking big time, cold shoulder etc. (the question on how he treated his ex is indeed interesting to ponder... Unfortunately she and I don't have any contact).

... Has lead me to dig in my heels and become uncharacteristically circumspect regarding our relationship and how we share.

Thanks again to you all for not letting me feel horrible but entitled to trust and cooperation.

I hover between seeing solicitor and changing will on yearly basis to acknowledge his contribution (as its been a bit minimal so far I've not felt an urgency to pay for a minimal change in legal recognition either), and then just wait if he actually opens up. But if I legally recognize his contribution only, not 50:50, will he then only show a random bank statement once a year?

... And just letting him sweat a bit more at the horrid injustice of it all!!
But that seems petty too sad.

At this point I'm just confused, never had to deal with such behaviour in a supposedly stable and loving relationship (constantly tells me he loves me, I don't always say it back...)
Xx

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 21:34:11

To be frank, I think the exact wording of the will is not your top priority here. It seems like there are some serous issues of trust.

Did the counselling help with his unreasonableness and meanness? Does he recognise that this is an issue for you?

You sound like a very sensible and reasonable person. If your gut instinct is telling you that this sort of secrecy in a relationship isn't right, then it probably isn't.

Lweji Portugal Thu 18-Jul-13 21:51:46

If I understand it correctly, it's not that you don't have access to his finances, but he never even lets you know how much he has in the bank, etc. While he knows all about yours?

It's totally unbalanced.
That knowledge should be irrespective of the house. And I would be annoyed and not sure if I'd trust him.

TBH, I would find it difficult being married like that.

Interestingchanges Fri 19-Jul-13 08:14:41

Thanks again for your supportive replies.
I too think it is a matter of loving/ respecting a partner to share information at the very least.
Ironically, dss can be a bit rude, I feel, in quizzing dh on the exact cost of new acquisitions to the household, once also openly asking what he earned and how many days holidays he has a year. I felt I had to insist that was inappropriate, but deep down I resented the fact that dh shares this information with dss - and possibly ex? - but likes to keep me in the dark/ in my place?
I suppose I've just answered my own question here...

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 08:38:49

Coming to this a bit late and forgive me if I haven't taken on board all the details (have tried!) but it all seems terribly odd. In fact it sounds terrible and like a recipe for a 2nd divorce.

You are now married. Why should your DH not have a claim to the house when you die? This is what is 'normal' for married couples. The normal process of inheritance would be that all your assets are joint: on first death they pass to the remaining spouse and on their death they are divided equally between surviving children.

I can't understand why this isn't what each of want.

As for him repaying his in laws ( your parents) why is he doing that? If they gave you money, surely that money is yours now ( it is in law) so why is your DH repaying them when you are each benefiting from living in the house?

As couple, the money they loaned is equally yours and if they want it repaid it should surely come from a joint pot of both your incomes?

I don't see how the present situation is sustainable. How can you possibly be married yet have secrets over income?

We share it all- DH's salary goes into a joint account. My salary is split and goes into both our joint account and a separate account in my name so I can save for my tax bill (I'm self employed.) That's it- end of. Our will which we have just updated leaves everything equally to our children.

I'm sorry but I think there are real issues in your marriage which you need to address.

Wuldric Fri 19-Jul-13 08:47:08

I think second marriages are very different in terms of finance to first marriages, particularly if there are his and her kids to consider.

So, imagine a scenario where someone is really very wealthy (say widowed?) and has two children, marrying someone really very poor with four children. If the wealthy partner dies, leaving the money to the surviving spouse and then to the six children equally would be to the extreme detriment of the wealthy person's children.

So wills tend to be drawn up on a different basis in second marriages when both parties have children than they do in first marriages. I think that is actually sensible.

Dahlen Fri 19-Jul-13 08:55:06

I'd be having a serious think about what is fair (being as objective as possible), what I wanted ideally, what I was prepared to put up with, and what I would do if it wasn't forthcoming.

I would be prepared to leave someone on more than one aspect that you've mentioned in your posts.

I was married once to someone for whom it was a second marriage. The marriage wasn't without its problems (we got divorced) and in his case there was a child and commitments from his first marriage to consider as well. However, we very much viewed income and outgoings as a joint venture and there was absolutely no secrecy.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 09:26:44

I just knew that someone would point out the difference between first and second marriages smile

However- Wuldric- in your example, which I fully understand- don't you think it's just tough luck for the kids of the wealthy partner if they re-marry and the joint assets are split equally on their death? The whole point of a legal contract ( marriage) is that couples share.

I can see your point completely but I don't like the idea that in a remarriage, one partner's children are deemed less worthy of an equal share of the inheritance than the 'step' ( if they are ) children. It's not as if those children of the first marriage had contributed in some way to their parent's income pot. You could follow your logic and say that the inheritance should be given to the former husband or wife ( who may well have contributed to the assets their ex has!)

I'd be really uncomfortable with the idea of 'oh my DCs will get 75% of my estate ( legally our estate) and yours will get 25% because they are not blood relatives.'

If this is how people think then they should have a pre nuptual agreement- so that on their death, X% of their assets go to their children from their former marriage.

Interestingchanges Fri 19-Jul-13 09:34:19

Missbo, thanks for taking time to reply, just to clarify briefly, the loan dh is paying back is from my dsis (equal amount of inheritance from our now both dead parenst), she has no family, is unable to work, diagnosed ms, but has no immediate use for the money and is happy to get it back in small installments. She generously saved dh from a massive bank loan for his half of the house.
Re wills, both sets of kids inherit directly from their resp parent, or remaining gps, neither dh nor I "profit" from each other upon death, we do have life assurance for each other and our dc ( relatively modest sums). And yes, both dh and I have right to continue living here when partner dies.
Ideally once dh has paid back loan, on his/my death our kids inherit 1/2 each, or 1/4 @ his 2. The life assurance would also cover "contribution" made so far to his kids, so would not be out of pocket.

I like our house and everybody likes living here, but it has come to symbolize much more, which I only became aware of recently. I find it really difficult to grasp dh stance on "his" money and the control he has over it, when in full knowledge of my financial situation, and aware that he is legally protected anyway re house and living there, and his kids get "their" money back either way.

It's becoming very clear that the house issue is just an excuse to draw another boundary around himself (and his dc?), a problem we are already working on in counseling, I.e. they are all somehow special and ds and I are peripheral characters who contribute to their comfort. Therapist has asked him to reflect on that and I guess I should bring up the house topic again too in this light.
Thank you everybody for letting me talk so openly about my situation. Your asking questions and commenting has let me see this as a pattern for which we are already receiving professional help, thanks

LemonDrizzled Fri 19-Jul-13 09:45:08

Good post there Bo

I am second time round, not married (yet!) and thinking all this through with DP. We have 3DC each and I have about three times DPs assets. We are both totally open and transparent about money and he is very generous with the little he has!

If and when we buy a house together and/or get married I would expect the level of trust to be such that we will throw all our assets in the pot together. If that means taking it slowly and making sure things are going to last so be it. And once we reach that stage all our DC will be treated equally. They all have a second parent to inherit from so my side will end up with more from their DF while his will get less from their DM IYSWIM.

OP I think your real problem is your DH is mean and "acts like a shit when he doesn't get his own way". The house is just a symptom of that.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 10:42:45

I can see OP how things are- but I still believe it's an odd set up.

You have married rather than simply live together. For all manner and purposes this usually means couples share their assets in life and in death- and that the other surviving partner does indeed 'profit' when one partner dies.

Can I ask why you married if you are not willing to share your finances? Each of you is behaving like a single person.

Leaving aside the ''romantic notions' behind marriage, many people marry so that the legalities of money and assets are framed in law and simpler to deal with. But this requires each party to be of a generous spirit and behave as if they are a couple, who invest in each others welfare- in both material and emotional terms.

Neither you nor your DH are behaving as a couple- where money is concerned. You are behaving like a pair of singletons, living under one roof, are even house sharing- but keeping a tight grip on your own money and, in his case, not even being open about how much he has.

To contrast your set up with mine-we share everything. Money goes into one big pot as I said. We budget based on our joint income. DH's pay slips are there for me to see, so are our bank statements, and all our outgoings. We each have our own ISAs etc, and contribute to them when there is surplus in our joint pot. We each have our own credit cards- some are joint cards- and although DH earns a lot more than me, I do have my own credit cards as a safety net and so I can buy him things without him knowing the exact cost!

I simply wouldn't entertain your set up for a moment. I don't know how you can think it's remotely acceptable on any level.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 10:45:11

Oh- meant to add- why did you sister loan money to your DH? Surely, as a couple, the money was loaned to you both to buy a house you both live in? And why is he paying her back- surely it's joint money that is being used- or should be. This is not how money in a good marriage works- sorry.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now