need step-parents view please

(19 Posts)
rahrahthelion Thu 27-Dec-12 19:14:05

I had this situation, I think it happens a lot. It's just the way benefits work and the partner who has less responsibility for children in general will have to bare more if the financial burden.
It never really bothered me or my partner. But I was on a career ladder so it wasn't going to be for long. It's kind of annoying in some senses though... I lost my benefits and he had to support me and my daughter but also support his ex and their daughter, while she still got benefits as she was single. Plus, my ex didn't pay any CM. so we were kind of fucked from every angle if you'll excuse my French wink

stairdad Sun 23-Dec-12 22:45:24

I am step dad to my OH's two DDs (so my two DSDs). We both work full time at very demanding jobs. Individually we both earn enough money to support the family costs if ever one of us were to not be in work for whatever reason (albeit with few frills). We have been together for almost seven years. My OH wants to spend more time with her DDs.

She refuses to give up work and let me support her, even though ironically we both want her to give up work to give her more of what she wants out of life. (More about this in another thread).

Earlier this year I lost my job and immediately after that had some ill timed family health disasters which kept me away from work for several months. Fortunately both the health and job disasters are now 'fixed', and we learned some more things about each other, most of them good.

OP - the reason I mention this in your thread is that even though I applaud you moving in together and having those awkward conversations around money, it's a really bad economic climate so what would happen if he lost his job? You've already started the awkward conversations so this is another one I would recommend having - could you survive on the reduced income and any savings you both have. This isn't a romantic chat to have, but it is a sensible one to have.

I hope you make it work, best of luck to you both smile

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Sun 16-Dec-12 18:24:50

I have no problems at all financially supporting my step daughter. When she is here. At the end of the day I am a long term partner to her father and we are a family and I want to help HIM support her. That's paying the bills for this household, stocking the cupboards up, putting gas and electricity on the meter, buying clothes/ a bed/ paying for presents etc for his daughter. I am supporting this household so therefore I am paying towards him supporting his daughter.

I quite blatantly refuse to ever pay towards her Mother's household though because that is not my responsibility as a step parent, which luckily the government realises this fact.

tisonlyme Sun 16-Dec-12 07:10:39

I have always earned more than dh and have never resented spending on dsd. In fact I love it. She lives with us full time now and I have pr.

HKnight Sat 15-Dec-12 21:31:28

My DH was married to a woman who had 2 very young children from a previous marriage. He took them on, treated them like his own, his wife gave up work and he paid for them equally as he did for his own child they had together. She then left my DH for another man, he had to move out of the FMH and as my DH had no PR he lost contact instantly after living with them for 11 years. My advice to anyone who takes on another person's children is to think very carefully about getting your heart too involved for yours and the kid's sakes.

As step parents you have no legal right to be in the SC's life, and it's a very big risk to take. That said I am very fond of my DSS, and I do treat him, but if I were to be asked to raise him full-time under my roof and treat him equally as my own DD I would want PR, because otherwise if anything were to happen to my DH I would never see him again. I sort of see my role with DSS as like an aunt, I love and care for him like a nephew but not a son. We only see him EOW anyway. Being a step parent who takes on another's children completely is like having all the responsibility of being a parent with no actual right to be involved that child's life.

Money is not the issue, but having seen my DH have his heart broken as he did I would always advise caution. Would the father be happy for the step father to have PR? Do you genuinely see yourself living your life with your partner for the rest of your days? if it all went wrong would you allow your children to still have contact with him afterwards? It's not a warm and fluffy thing to think about when you fall in love but I know my DH would not have gotten so involved as he did if he could relive his life. For his and his SC's sake.

Writehand Sat 15-Dec-12 12:55:37

I took on my DH's DD as soon as we moved in together. I had no children and very little experience of them. I got dropped straight into stepmotherhood. We had her every single weekend, Friday 5pm til late Sunday, because his ex worked weekends. My DH used to go off with his mates and leave me with her. He assumed all women knew instinctively how to look after kids, a theory he abandoned after a free and frank exchange of views. smile

Money was never an issue. I never resented money spent on my DSD. What idiot would marry a man who wasn't devoted to his child? How he treated her told me how he'd treat any we had, and how he'd treat me.

I'd guess if you've been in care you feel safer relying on yourself, and are anxious about depending on others. How your ex behaved will have made things even worse. I think you're being brave to allow yourself to be dependent, but it sounds as if you've got really good communication with this man, which is brilliant.

If he's anything like me, he's in love with you, wants to share his life with you, and he knows without much thought that of course your DD comes as part of the package. My DH having a pre-existing DD wasn't something that ever put me off or made me possessive about money. She's your DD, and you love her, so he will work to build a relationship with her that's his own. He's not her father, but a good SF can be hugely important to a child. The one thing that will matter to her is how stable your relationship is. It's very hard for a kid to bond with someone and then lose them shortly afterwards. I'm sure you've considered that.

One tiny note of caution. There are predatory men who target women with young children, and it's not the women they're after. But I expect - particularly with your experience - you've considered that and know him well enough to discard the caveat.

wrinklyraisin Sat 15-Dec-12 11:07:18

My OH ends up with less disposable income than me after he's paid child support. So I tend to "subsidize" him for my dsd when she's with us, ie meals out, treats every now and then. I have no issue. My dsd is part of the package deal, she's as much my family now as my OH is. As a family unit he earns more/pays more of the big expenses. I pay less but do more of the practical stuff. As long as my dsd has a secure, loving home with us that she can come to and feel as "at home" as she does at her mums, then that's the most important. Finances are a "family" concern now not a "mine" and "yours".

VBisme Sat 15-Dec-12 10:55:44

I earn significantly more than my DH as he's currently setting up his own business. We have separate finances (he was badly burned by his ex so this is his decision), however I happily pay for my Stepkids clothes, food, treats, music lessons and sports clubs.
I too draw the line at covering his maintenance, but he's managing that.
The kids are part of my family, I have no issues at all with paying for everything when they're with us.

Xalla Sat 15-Dec-12 05:07:41

Like ladydeedy, I bring in more than my DH which means I sometimes cover my DSD's costs. My DH always pays his ex the maintenance (I've made it clear I'm not up for paying that) but I generally cover DSD's clothing, food, toiletries costs plus some of her after-school activities and occasionally her school dinners if my DH is short. She's with my DH 50% of the time so it's a regular outlay.

I also match what my DH puts into my DSD's savings account each week. We put the same into all of the kids' savings accounts (we have a DS and a DD together as well as my DSD).

It doesn't bother me. Like others have said, we're married and it's our money, not mine. DSD is his daughter but when she's here, she's my responsibility too.

sadsong Fri 14-Dec-12 15:54:38

I lost money when my new dh moved in with me. It did feel awkward to begin with if I'm honest as I had 4dc. I did however receive some maintenance. We are married now having been together 5 yrs and it honestly doesn't matter now. We also have a ds together now. We see all our money as ours. So fir instance Christmas we both work out how to afford everyone. Actually means dh footing the bill, but he knows I font take him for granted and u work as hard as I can.

If it's a good relationship then money shouldn't really be yours and his but a collective pool!

ladydeedy Fri 14-Dec-12 12:42:15

It sounds like you are being very sensible in thinking through all the implications and trying to get some insight from other stepparents too and your partner does sound like he is fully committed. Good for you! As others have said, if it's what you both want, and you are both happy, then what is to stop you?
In our case the situation is somewhat reversed in that I am the high earner and my husband mostly stays at home or does some freelance work. One of his sons lives with us but I never think at all about money. It's all our money. My husband contributes in lots of other ways by managing our home, dog, garden, DIY, shopping, ironing etc. If it's a real partnership then it doesnt matter. Good luck and I hope you will be very happy!

riverboat Thu 13-Dec-12 19:26:08

I think the main thing is that you say you have both talked a lot about it, and he is happy with it. If you have both realistically discussed and agreed on what your outgoings are likely to be and what you will need/want to spend on yourself and your children now and in the future, and he is in agreement re: his role in funding it, then great! I would only be wary if you think he might be saying "yes yes it'll all be fine, let's do it!" (because he is feeling madly in love with you and just wants to get on with moving in) but hasn't actually thought some of the long term stuff through properly, because that could lead to problems further down the line. But that doesn't seem to be the case based on your post.

I think different step parents' situations are all so different that it's hard to compare them. I am absolutely happy to pay towards my DSS in terms of things like groceries, days out, holidays etc but I am not in a financial position to support him in an equal way to his two parents, nor would that be necessary, so the situation doesn't compare.

PoppyPrincess Thu 13-Dec-12 19:02:50

I felt a similar way to you at first when moving in with DP, well when we first started a relationship I thought I'd never be able to move in with him because it would mean that he would be financially supporting us and didn't think I'd be comfortable with another man paying towards my son.

But I don't see it like that at all now, he does earn more than me but he also pays a lot of his wage out in child maintenance so I suppose that balances it out.
But I think you just get on with it, it might be best to have a joint account so you don't view it as his money, it will be joint money.
Don't feel bad about it, he knows the situation and he is happy with it, you're not forcing him in to anything he doesn't want to do.

You'll be fine, once you're all settled you'll hardly give it a thought.

Thanks for the replies. I know I can totally trust my partner but having been bitten by ex I will always be a little wary. I was with my ex for 13 years and he left me in serious debt and basically penniless. He pays very little for the children but always needs it back if he has the kids for a few hours. Contact would stop totally if I stopped giving him money.
I was raised in care so have always been responsible for myself. My partner knows I will always carry on working and is happy for me to pay for things now. I guess it makes me feel good to be able to provide for my children in a way no-one ever provided for me. I trust my partner enough to stay and not to throw anything in my face but if the worst happend I would be able to manage financially alone again.
The difference in salary is just so big that I feel like i'm taking advantage of him. I know it's my issue and I guess it's something I will learn to deal with. I just want us to be a happy family and be together. It finally feels like the kids have a real family which they have never had.

Fairylea Thu 13-Dec-12 18:51:30

Well I have dd age 9 from a previous relationship and dh and I have ds 6 months. He works and I stay at home. All our money is our money and everything goes into our joint account. We split everything equally and have the same amount of spending money. We treat dd as if she is ours jointly as much as ds is.

EveryYuleKnows Thu 13-Dec-12 18:47:01

Money shouldn't matter if you both really want to live as a family.

My DH is also my partner and we support each other in good and less good times. We both had kids when we met.

FWIW- I'm a full time Step to one of my DSDs and I don't think about it when I get her the stuff she needs, she's family, end of.

Why is your Ex not paying maintenance ?

Arisbottle Thu 13-Dec-12 18:37:19

My husband earns more than me however when we met most if his salary went out in maintenance so I had to subsidise him. At first it was hard, I will admit, partly because I had no relationship with the the boy who would one day be my stepson.

Many years later he is part of the family, lives with us half the week and I cannot imagine begrudging him anything , especially money.

sanityseeker75 Thu 13-Dec-12 18:34:16

I think everyone has slightly different feelings and you have to do what is right for you both.

I earn bit more than dh and my son lives with us but his kids come every weekend, it would not even occur to me to try and split out a fair portion of income against kids confused.

We have had joint bank since moving in and kids just get what they get out of it. If dh couldnt work i would support him and kids and likewise if i couldnt i would expect him to support me and ds.

I know not everyone has this sort of arrangement but if he knows your circumstances and is happy to go ahead why miss out on chance to be happy?

I guess you should ask if he is the kind of person that would throw it back at you or use it to control you, and if that was case why be with him?

And could you live with someone taking finacially responsibility for you? Just remember situations change all the time.

Ok i'm not a step-mum but need advice. I have two children with my ex. (He rarely pays for them) So to get to the issue. I have a partner and we have started talking about living together. The problem with this is that I work as a carer so don't earn much and will lose child benefit and tax credits if i move in with partner. Obviously ex doesn't pay for the children and it's not possible for me to work more hours due to health reasons.
If we move in together I would be bringing in a lot less money into the relationship than partner. He is a higher earner. I have talked to him a lot about this and he is aware how much i earn. He says he is happy with that and I honestly believe him.
I have always been very independant and have always supported my kids so this feels so odd for me.
I guess what I want to know is how other stepparents feel about taking on someone elses children and paying towards them.
Sorry it's so long but would appreciate any help. Thank you

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