Paying "keep" if you're a non resident child

(77 Posts)
theredhen Fri 14-Jun-13 17:22:54

What do people do once step children are out at work but only live with you part of the time?

We have two resident children who I want to pay some keep to us when they start work. However we also have non resident children, the eldest being 17 years old who still abides by the contact rota as she always has done with no sign of any change. I fully expect her to adhere to it if and when she starts a full time job. I also am sure that her mum will expect keep to be paid at hers. Not sure what she would do about her daughter who lives with us.

So, what to do? Should we charge her a pro rata rate? That seems the fairest option to me. I think not asking for keep will just send her the message that she's a "visitor" and not part of the family.

allnewtaketwo Fri 14-Jun-13 18:11:27

I think if it's an "adult" child working and earning money then charging keep is fine, and very normal. So probably yes, a pro rata rate. When you say her daughter do you mean DSD's daughter?!

Petal02 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:17:44

I agree with Allnew. Everything in life costs money!

But Redhen, I have a nasty feeling you're going to be roasted alive for daring to ask this question. I'd go and hide in a cupboard if I were you .... !!

SoupDragon Fri 14-Jun-13 18:24:18

The problem is, you are then effectively charging her to visit her father. Also, if she is paying keep elsewhere it will either get complicated or she'll be paying twice.

popperdoodles Fri 14-Jun-13 18:29:22

Does she have her own space at your house? You cannot charge her to visit her dad so I think it all depends on how much she treats your home as her own.

aamia Fri 14-Jun-13 18:33:05

Pro rata rate at each house if she has own bedroom? If no own bedroom, perhaps a weekly food contribution?

Petal02 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:33:26

Ah, I knew the "you're charging her to visit her dad" accusation would come up .....

But even if she visits for, say, 3 nights per week, then she's still eating food, using bath/ shower and generally incurring household costs, which is why a pro rata charge seems fair.

tapdancingelephant Fri 14-Jun-13 18:38:31

Paying keep at her dad's would be charging her to see him? eh?

Is paying keep at her mum's charging her to see her mum?

How is it ok in one situation but not in the other, if the homes are supposed to be equal, and both parents viewed as equal parents?

<that said, we don't charge adult, working, stepchildren keep. But then neither does their mother, as far as we know>

SoupDragon Fri 14-Jun-13 18:39:58

She lives with her mother and visits her father. Is that so hard to understand?

SoupDragon Fri 14-Jun-13 18:41:02

Obviously alternative views which do not agree with the step parents is not allowed.

SoupDragon Fri 14-Jun-13 18:41:46

Here's a suggestion: if you don't want opinions, don't ask for them.

Petal02 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:42:31

Tapdancingelephant - good point. If its classed as paying to see Dad, then why isn't it classed as paying to see Mum?

The good old 'step' double standards are alive and well tonight! Must be the weather!

tapdancingelephant Fri 14-Jun-13 18:45:51

<I don't know what the contact rota is>

But if, for eg, the dsd is with her mum 4 days a week and 'visits' her dad 3 days a week, I think that to split the homes into 'real' home, and 'visiting' home is a bit far fetched, tbh.

Surely it all depends on how the families (including the children) view the set up? If all see it as the children having 2 homes, rather than living at one, and visiting the other, then surely the same/similar rules of living could easily be applied?

This is nothing to do with alternative views not being tolerated. More to do with the dad's house automatically being relegated to a place that the dsd 'visits' rather than a second home (I may have missed a lot of back story, and maybe that is the case, but without knowing it to be so, it is a rather irritating assumption to make)

Petal02 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:49:22

I think it just boils down to simple economics: if you stay in a hotel for 2/3 nights per week, then it costs. Not as much as staying there 7 nights per week admittedly, but nevertheless it still costs.

Surely all working adults should pay towards their living costs, even if their parents have split up?

allnewtaketwo Fri 14-Jun-13 18:49:34

"She lives with her mother and visits her father. Is that so hard to understand"

Yet on a thousand other SP threads, I've seen SM's demonised for treating their DSC as "visitors". On the we must say its their home, but yet were demonised for treating as such when actually, apparently, they're visitors

purpleroses Fri 14-Jun-13 18:50:59

I think the only way it could possibly work would be if your DP and his ex agreed between them that she should contribute X amount per week towards food, etc and then split it between them according to how many nights she spends in each place. But from what you say, that's not likely.

It's reasonable in principle that she should contribute p/t costs towards a p/t home but in practice I can't see how you could get it to work. Nevermind whether people on this forum say "you're charging her to visit her dad" - she's going to see it that way herself.

You could try expecting her to contribute more for one offs though - eg if you're getting a takeaway one night, or renting a film, she could pay her share. And I'd certainly expect an adult working child to pay for an alcohol they drink (or put into a house kitty).

Does also depend on your own financial situation though I think - there's a stronger case for expecting them to contribute if you would be struggling otherwise, or if you're about to lose child benefit etc which previously paid for their keep. But your DP isn't as presumably he didn't get the benefits - he's actually going to be saving money once any child maintanence stops being paid to his ex for the eldest DC.

Do you think she'll really go on with the rota that much longer? I guess with having younger siblings the older ones do just kind of fall in with the same routines as everyone else unless they have reason not to. My DSD (almost 16) still comes with the others - though she's likely to go to university when she's 18 so I don't think the issue of paying keep will arise for us for a few years.

allnewtaketwo Fri 14-Jun-13 18:51:39

"Here's a suggestion: if you don't want opinions, don't ask for them."

Where, exactly, did the OP say she didn't want opinions. I can only see the first post at 17.22. Can you see a post I've missed soup dragon? Or do you actually think we're all the same person?

runningonwillpower Fri 14-Jun-13 18:51:42

Could this not be worked out between the child's natural parents? They could agree a fair weekly rate and pro-rata it. It definitely would not be fair if the step-daughter ended up paying an excessive rate because the two households could not agree.

PS As the situation has not yet arisen, is it worth 'borrowing the trouble'? She may go to university in which case the issue will be about father's contributions rather than hers.

Petal02 Fri 14-Jun-13 19:28:34

I can 't see many separated parents being able to agree on an amount and/or splitting it between them - but if we were ever in the position of wanting keep, I'd suggest a "token gesture" amount on principle, to get DSS into the mindset of paying living costs.

theredhen Fri 14-Jun-13 19:35:05

It's an interesting situation. Dsd has her own room and all her own possessions here.

The people who are saying that it seems like she is being charged to see her dad,do you think it matters how the time is split? What happens if its 50/50?

Is it right to expect the resident parent to reduce the keep if they live with another parent for some of the time?

What happens if the kids who live with us get charged keep by their other parents? Should we not then charge them keep?

There are so many different dynamics in a blended family.

brdgrl Fri 14-Jun-13 20:09:02

We will charge DSD for 'keep' once university starts in the autumn (she is living at home for a year).

Can't see why it should be any different if the young adult is only there 'part time'. However, I'd only apply it once she was 18 - and then with the clear understanding that she is free not to live at home if she doesn't want to.

I assume the contact rota becomes null at 18? So then DSD could (and in many families would be expected to) be self-supporting and living independently? What if she decided that rather than pay keep, she'd give up her room at your house, and live at her mum's? Would that be acceptable? I wouldn't be able to say "you have no choice but to pay us keep" - but equally, I'd have no trouble saying "look, you are 18, you're out in the workforce, it's time for you to start supporting yourself a bit; if you want to live here, you will have to contribute financially."

I think the problem is going to be logistical, not 'moral', IYSWIM.

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 14-Jun-13 20:37:36

An interesting dilemma!

I have to admit, had my dad charged me keep, I probably would have stopped going, unless mum reduced the rate she charged accordingly. But my dad didn't live with a partner or other children which I.guess makes a difference.

purely hypothetical also, as neither parent charged me keep due to me being in full time education until I fell pg and moved out

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 14-Jun-13 20:40:32

Also I only ever stayed at my dads 1-2 nights a month, if that so I guess not.enough that it mattered.

theredhen Fri 14-Jun-13 20:46:12

That's the thing isn't it? If we charge dsd2 keep but not dsd1 is that fair because she spends a few more nights here?

When dsd1 is here for days or weeks on end, obviously eating, heating her room, showering, inviting friends back and all the other normal stuff, will dsd2 feel like she's paying for her sister who's getting a free ride?

However their mum could charge dsd1 a really large amount of keep and not charge dsd2 a penny.

Their mum won't communicate with us at all so dp has had to follow the parallel parenting route rather than co parenting with his ex. So it's not like he can talk to her about it.

Areyoumadorisitme Fri 14-Jun-13 20:48:21

Tricky as of course if you don't charge dsc rent then your natural dc will wonder why dsc get to stay for free but they have to pay rent themselves. Doesn't seem fair does it?

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