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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

Interestingchanges Fri 19-Jul-13 11:58:19

Missbo, I'm happy for you and wish we did indeed have that level of trust.
Unfortunately so much has happened in the past years that we actually need a third party to put forward our grievances.
What I wanted from this post were suggestions like yours, which require total trust and willingness to share from both parties. However, if both of you were agreeable to everything from word go, that's great for you, but does not help me reopen the issue with my dh, iyswim.

I've been thankful to a lot of posters here who can sympathize with my pain and confusion. I will indeed reopen discussion on money, house, etc. but I already know dh wont take kindly to me asking for a higher contribution, he tries really hard to make me out to be some kind of gold digger when he so clearly profits way more from this relationship on so many levels.

Funnily, dh once refered to me as his "business partner" when we first bought the house together. I was mortified, I thought I was his romantic partner.
And not so long ago he put me in the context of a "roommate" when he pulled up his kids on being rude, I,e, they would not be so rude to a roommate...

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 12:30:09

It might help you to know that my circumstances were not on an equal footing from the word go. DH already owned a house. I lived in rented accommodation almost 100 miles away ( it was a LDR for 3 years) in the most expensive area in the UK to buy a house. It was beyond my reach on my then income. But once we had married his house was put into joint names. I had our first DC within 2 years of marrying and became a SAHM. I didn't earn at all for 5 years until I started working p/t again. However during that time - as is the case now- there was never any hint of it being 'his' house or 'his ' money- it was both of ours even though I earned nothing for some time, and much less than him once I did return to work when the children were older.

I am just surprised that you went into a marriage with so much 'possessiveness' over what is his and what is yours.

Interestingchanges Fri 19-Jul-13 12:48:22

Thanks for Info, missbo.
I'm a bit stunned that you are comparing my situation to yours.
Well done, you landed on your feet.

hevak Fri 19-Jul-13 13:01:08

I'm pondering similar-ish issues to you at the moment OP, although DP and I don't have any children. DP earns quite a bit more than me and bought a house before we met (which he subsequently rented out when he moved for work). We then bought a house "together" but in his name only as he was contributing the vast majority of the deposit - at the last minute we needed to increase our deposit so I lent him the money. DP knows the rough details of my finances as they're quite straightforward. I have a reasonable idea of his finances but not the details, as he's self employed so it's a bit more complicated.

Another consideration for us is that although we both come from comfortably well off families, my inheritance (if my parents haven't spent it all by then!) will be substantially more than his. This worries me as my mum's friend had her husband leave her after she inherited a lot of money when her father died - her XH took half her inheritance as an asset of the marriage and then said he could only contribute the bare minimum in maintenance for their DC. hmm I trust DP wholeheartedly - but then, my mum's friend trusted her XH wholeheartedly too! So I'm wary.

I'm currently trying to persuade him to open a joint account and make joint financial plans for the future (we're planning on getting married next year). He worked very hard to buy his house before we met and I know he is worried that I will be able to lay claim to it if we're married - which I would never do, and he knows that. But his "knowing" that feels the same way as I do about "knowing" he wouldn't take my inheritance if we were to divorce in 30 years time.

Sorry this is long and waffly but I wanted to let you know that LOTS of people have these kinds of issues around money (I can tell you about all my friends' arrangements with their Ps/Hs as well if you want grin). The key difference between your situation and mine is that DP is willing to discuss this with me and offer suggestions as to how we can manage our joint finances in the future. It sounds to me like your DH isn't even willing to discuss different options rationally - to me that is your biggest problem. I fear your issues with your joint finances are a symptom of a much bigger problem. sad

I hope you manage to work things out one way or another - definitely bring it up at your counselling. Good luck smile

hevak Fri 19-Jul-13 13:03:43

I have to say, I think MissBo probably doesn't know closely anyone with kids from a previous relationship who then moves in with another partner/husband - your kids have to be your priority and everyone I know in that situation has been really careful NOT to throw everything together in one pot - so I don't think there's anything unusual in having your "own" money in your situation OP.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 13:05:25

Well it's worth comparing just to demonstrate that not all men who have more money than their wives are so blinking mean.
I was countering your supposition that it was all fine and dandy from the word go, as if we had a joint mortgage etc from the day we bought a home.
I don't think I landed on my feet at all- I have the set-up that many, many couples have where there is inequality in earnings.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 13:06:07

Sorry hevak- how on earth can you know who I know? You aren't right in your assumptions.

LindaDonahue Fri 19-Jul-13 13:38:01

i havent gone through a situation like this, but if i were in ur place, then i would sit and talk with him and would have sorted out the matter once and for all.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 14:04:04

But surely it's rather odd to be fighting over which children get how much of your estate when those kids are presumably still quite young? I've known families torn apart by inheritance matters where a sibling or step/half son-daughter has been favoured over someone else.

Some families don't give their kids anything- the really rich people often leave it to Battersea Dogs' Home etc, - they don't think it's a good idea for kids to inherit a load of money- think Anita Roddick for example.

I am sure it's very hard to balance your responsibilities - financial and otherwise- between your kids from a previous marriage and your new spouse. But I also think it's beyond the pale to write your spouse out of your will and leave your estate solely to your children.

For one thing this could be very short sighted- if the remaining spouse was short of money and needed long term care or support in old age, they would have lost out on what otherwise would have been joint assets. This could put the children under huge pressure , seeing their parent's partner struggling in old age.

I think the 'trust' issue needs more exploration. Trust about what? To manage the money responsibly? Not to spend it all on handbags? Or just not thinking the marriage is viable longer term, and wanting to hold on to their own money? Thats what pre nups are for.

But inheritance is just one issue here- she doesn't even know his earnings .

Interestingchanges Fri 19-Jul-13 14:46:47

Thanks Hevak, you made me smile! Was getting a little tense there...

Linda, you are absolutely right, and I'll work up the nerve really soon I hope.

Missbo, you've brought up some good points.
Actually dh and I want to make sure our kids don't eye each other as potential gold diggers by settling their affairs as best we can now.

Dhs kids will be better off by far than my ds once their collective gps pass on... And as my pils were very welcoming to me I also wanted to assure them I was not after their money!

Re Dh and his ex it gets a bit complicated. They lived beyond their means and didn't downsize after divorce, dh felt compelled to fund their lifestyle well beyond maintenance. His business, not mine. We met much later.
But it left him essentially broke (except for the deposit mentioned in first post) and I may be too careful here, but was I hell going to fund their lifestyle at my cost and my ds! So yes, dh is going to pay his half himself if he wants his kids to inherit his half, I'm not paying it for him.
Especially as I was living in a lovely big flat I owned, no debts, but it wasn't "big" enough for his kids, I,e. they would have to have shared, gasp!
I thought it was a good idea initially to move to a new place together, so imagine please my surprise when stbh tells me he hasn't actually got the funds... But I do, right? At least he admits this did put him in a slightly shady light. Wtf?

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 15:13:00

So am I right in thinking that he earns considerably more but you don't know how much or how much savings he has?

There seems to be so many 'asides' to this that I am losing track of your original questions! smile

You say his children will inherit from their grandparents- so is their estate not going to pass to your DH- or are they splitting the assets between him and his children? It all seems terribly complicated. My kids won't get anything, unless we pass on our inheritances from our parents,until me and DH die.

The bottom line in all of this is that you are not acting as a couple.

Put it another way- if your sister loaned you money to buy jointly a house, the simplest thing would be for you and your DH to pool your incomes into a joint account and set up a DD each month to repay her.

Why should he be doing the repaying and not you? Ah, you'll say, because he only contributed 1/6th of the house deposit whereas you put it all your assets from the sale of your flat. Right?

So aren't you doing the same as him? Keeping your own income?

If he still has resentments from his marriage over money and behaves like a teenager when he can't get his own way, then you need to really make a stand and not allow this to carry on.

Interestingchanges Fri 19-Jul-13 15:31:18

Missbo, I think I see where you're coming from.
As you apparently, correct me if I'm wrong, did not contribute to your family home, but got half by marriage and having a baby, you now think I'm a bad person for not allowing dh half of my assets immediately also. Although I was denied another child, dh didn't want more, and he chooses to keep his finances separate, like me, but strangely secret also...
Otherwise, your comments make sense...
Sorry, but I think you are projecting a bit of your own story here, which is no way corresponds to mine. Or I'm indeed mistaken and you and your dh have a couple of kids from first marriages and are simply ignoring them?

Anyways, thanks again to all who helped me get my head around this, I know now I need to clear things up pronto, for my mental health alone...
I will post the hopefully positive results from our talk ASAP, keeping thumbs crossed, xx

Wuldric Fri 19-Jul-13 15:50:51

I think fairness to the children comes first tbh

missbopeep said "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!)"

My example cited someone who had been widowed. So all assets concentrated for one set of children but not for the others.

In this instance it sounds as though the stbdh is financially pretty feckless. The most worrying thing I have read on this thread is that the OP's DSis has loaned this chap a large sum of money. Gulp. With absolutely no idea as to whether he can or will pay it back. I would be very uncomfortable dragging my family into a financial arrangement of this nature. It does not sound right at all.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 16:26:26

I will correct you then OP, as you asked.

Had I not married my DH, then in time I'd have bought my own home. It just happened that the man I met had bought his first! I have contributed to the family income and our mortgage throughout the marriage, and with my income we were able to sell DH's first small house and buy a bigger one, then another after that.......

And during all of this time all of our earnings have been combined.

Had DH for example said at the beginning that he was not happy for me to be a joint owner of our house, then I'd not have married him because it shows meanness, lack of trust and lack of commitment to a future together.

I think my posts have riled you and although I'm sorry for that I think you need to see the situation for what it is.

I've never known a situation where an in-law loans money to a married couple and the only the none-blood relative repays it.

It's you who has said it was a mistake to buy a house with him ( which must mean it was a mistake to marry him...), and that you might get flamed blah, blah.....

I didn't say you were a bad person- I said the whole set-up was a mess in my opinion.

Bedtime1 Fri 19-Jul-13 16:48:50

I don't know if I'm reading this properly as it sounds rather complicated but did your sister lend your husband money for his share in your new house.?

Wuldric Fri 19-Jul-13 16:50:08

Yup! That is what has been explained. I do think this is horribly unfair to DSis, frankly.

wordyBird Fri 19-Jul-13 17:06:20

This stands out:

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.

Because it sounds true. This isn't just about finances so much as his attitude towards you, and he isn't coming across as a loving partner.

Your information is that he was burned and bled dry by divorce. Is this from the facts and figures or is that how he saw it, and related it to you. Either way, he somehow has you unconsciously defending yourself and your financial actions, so as not to appear of similar character to his ex.

This also stands out:

Re Dh and his ex it gets a bit complicated. They lived beyond their means and didn't downsize after divorce, dh felt compelled to fund their lifestyle well beyond maintenance

.....partly because it's a replica of a story I've heard recently, from someone I don't trust. But also because it doesn't match the character of a man who earns considerably more, yet only puts a bit more in the family pot, and baulks at even being asked. Or from someone who willingly accepts a loan from one of your family members.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 17:09:39

The Op did say she wasn't in the UK so I'm not sure how the law would stand re, a divorce and division of assets.

TBH I've lost track of whether the house is jointly owned or not- but if it is and the marriage ends, then the sister would have to be repaid out of the sale of the house- I assume.

Twinklestein Fri 19-Jul-13 17:22:05

@Wuldric I'm glad you mentioned the sister, because I'm most worried about that.

OP - did you have any legal contract drawn up for this loan?
What rate of interest is your husband paying?

If you have no contract, you need to get one asap.

If you get divorced & your h gets arsey, I dread to think what might happen.

If your h called you a 'business partner' - is this just how he sees the marriage? A nice little earner, without full disclosure of his own assets...

Bedtime1 Fri 19-Jul-13 18:29:27

Have you any ideas how much he gets in? Or do you not know because he has his own company. No ideas at all.

If you don't know how much he gets in then Presumably you have separate accounts? And if so do you put a designated amount of money each month in to another account which all bills come out of? How do you work as regards to savings then? Also what crossed my mind is when you mentioned he has to pay maintenance does that come out of this bills account or his own personal one? is paying the sister back coming out of the joint bills or out of his own account.

Also aside does your son get maintenance and if so does that go direct to your own account or to the joint bills account?

thegreylady Fri 19-Jul-13 20:01:04

My dh [3!] has 3dc and I have 2.When we got married the dc were aged between 13 and 18.All 5 lived with us and all our finances were joint.For the first year dh earned more than me then he took early retirement and I earned more.When we married I owned my houe outright and he had a mortgage on his [with his ex].He bought a share in my house when he sold his-he paid my dc what would have been half their dad's share [dh died].
Over the last 25 years we have shared everything except the lavatory!
It isn't a proper marriage without complete transparency.

fabulousfoxgloves Fri 19-Jul-13 21:25:18

Okay, in my second marriage, we had similar issues, I am not even going to bore you with the details. But the earning more and not contributing more, the by-passing you in his will in favour of dcs, the not disclosing income (hey, I did not even get a spreadsheet), the willingness to take/borrow from family members sound familiar.

It really is not a partnership. I actually agree that buying a house with this man, in light of everything else you say, was an error of judgement. People who are mean with money are mean in spirit. However, you are where you are, and there are three outcomes : he makes a fair, honest and open contribution and you begin to work together; you accept your contribution to the property and the finances is proportionately greater and that he is salting his money away at your expense; or you take independent legal advice (the key word being independent) about how to untangle this mess and protect your interest.

If he does not do the first, you are left with the third, as the second will erode your self-esteem and trust in him and the marriage.

Interestingchanges Sat 20-Jul-13 02:16:16

Thank you for your replies, it is comforting to know that I'm not being unreasonable or paranoid... So many similar experiences out there.

Yes, I protected my dsis totally. She is a named beneficiary in the will re her loan specifically. I have a very good solicitor who made a fair will, which will be redrawn once debt has been repaid to her.
This solicitor also drew up the inheritance conditions for kids. Apparently this is the done thing now, considering the increasing number of children in blended families and has become standard practice. We are both fine with that, after all my ds will get my old flat (I thankfully kept, and refused to put up for collateral for bank loan to raise dh half).

Dh and I have own accounts and contribute to a joint account to pay utilities, food, and now recently for a car (I'm learning to drive again, see that as a bit symbolic really...).
I get maintenance for ds paid into my account, dh pays maintenance to ex from his account, also repaying loan to dsis from his account.

Just had a bit of a panic attack as I realized that dh played a similar game with ex, living beyond their means, no wonder she was pissed at him for wrecking their fragile financial arrangement.

Apart from a mythical spreadsheet I don't even have a printout from, I don't know what he earns, he simply doesn't show me his bank statements. It never occurred to me to ask once his maintenance payments changed dramatically (dsd opted out of private schooling, dss to follow shortly, dss now living here 50:50, so no maintenance for him at all, except school fees).
I asked for his details when it became clear he was studying my financial comings and goings and questioning my habits, he takes care of online banking from our joint account, same bank as my account is in... I thought it in bad taste and wanted his details too. He said I wasn't getting them.

Fabulousfoxgloves, I'm going to go for your suggestion regarding independent financial advice. This isn't anybody's idea of a loving partnership, and if our marriage breaks down because of this then it will be sad, but nobody can live like this. Well, except dh, obviously...

MadonnaKebab Sat 20-Jul-13 03:41:27

The only reason to keep you in the dark about his finances is that he has something to hide
Either he has a lot more money than you think ( a large sum from the divorce settlement, ie he didn't need the loan from your sister, but wanted to keep his assets separate)
Or he has much less ( big debts from gambling ?)
Otherwise why hide?

Bedtime1 Sat 20-Jul-13 04:38:27

Hi Interesting,

So he has access to your personal account because it's linked to the joint bills but then you can't see his account at all?
I think he is hiding something. Similar to what Madonna said.

The thing is if you are married then why doesn't all money from both wages go in to the bills account? After those are all paid then you might want to jointly agree on say how much you want to save etc then the rest for personal spending should be split evenly as you are married. That means everything shared so even maintenance should go in and out of the bills account. Do either of you trust one another? Obviously you both knew there would be expenses regarding the children when you decided to get married and live together so you both have to acknowledge this.

If he gets far more in salary than you then even if the loan to your sister is taken out of the pot then he still should be contributing more than you, so I guess that would be fair as there would be money left over from his wages if you put everything into one pool?

I think the reason for so much confusion is because you don't pool all the money in one then divide spending money equally. As for treats etc for your kids then a lot of that can come out of your own spending money left over and the same for his kids. I mean possibly in the bills account you might want to put a contingency on the spreadsheet for kids birthdays then divide what's left over equally after that. I think you both have to be willing to compromise a bit it can't always be dead even eg if his kids eat a big more food or have there light on longer than your child, there has to be some give and take or why did you both get married?

Does this pooling everything in to one account then dividing what's left over sound any good to you? I suppose it would be about talking to him about this. If he doesnt agree to a joint way of life eg your married then I guess there isn't much hope for you as a couple because the resentment and mistrust will just carry on.
By the way I think some of the things such as him pittting the kids against you etc wasn't nice. You should be his priority too. Eg roommate etc and the kids not respecting you and wanting too know a lot about finances. He is creating a divide with this behaviour. Kids don't need to know about adult finances.

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