Equality with finances with kids

(48 Posts)
raisinbran Sun 05-May-13 09:10:40

I have a DS15 & 9 and 2 DSS 16 and 14. My DP and i have joint accounts but 2/3 of the money is provided by me and 1/3 by partner. Money is tight but so far we have treated everyone the same. They they get a lot less monthly allowance than friends. My ex told my DS how much he paid me in maintenance and my DS is demanding a bigger allowance.

My Ds has some poor behaviour and we row and argue all the time so i don't want to just give in but i do feel guilty that potentially money his father gives is going to the family budget and so providing in effect for my 2 DSS. i have taken a new job so will be contributing even more to the family pot( couldn't do it with out support of partner) If we have to increase all 4 kids allowance i feel that i am working and contributing a lot already, doing with out things and they are just getting a free ride.( not frased quite right but you get my gist).
One option i had thought was to increase my DS15 allowance by the same amount the DSS get from their late mothers policy which goes into a savings account for when they are 18. As my sons don't have that.

My partner recognises the fact that my sons and I have less than when we moved in together and he tries hard to be careful with money. But he feels its unfair to his boys to be different with the monthly allowance. i need to give my ds and answer soon but if is causing ill feeling with my partner. So i feel torn between my son and partner.

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 09:15:05

The money you receive as maintenance is to provide for your children, not their pocket money. If your ex wants them to have a bigger allowance he can give them money direct. You use the money to feed clothe and house them. He has no say over how you spend it, and nor should your son.

raisinbran Sun 05-May-13 09:57:17

Thanks your point is very valid.its my son that is demanding the increase as the money his dad gives is significant.DS said he doesn't cost that much to feed and clothe and could rent a room elsewhere cheaper.i did point out we have just had a family holiday which he insists would have prefered to stay home and have the cash.his friends have bigger monthly allowances and he feels hard done by but not driven enough to find a job.with 4boys now we just have do without other things if we were in increase all their monthly money.

sanityseeker75 Sun 05-May-13 10:44:45

So your ex has told your Ds that he pays for his up keep and now DS wants more and your thinking of giving it to him because you feel guilty?

I am sure if you had surplus cash you would give more but if your getting that much why are you working 2 jobs?

Does your ds pay for his own clothes, transport, food etc at moment?

It isnt always fair, I have 1 ds and 2 dsc, they are with us each we and if i had to tally everything to make sure it was fair it would drive me nuts.

Its sounds like you ds is being childish and hopes if he stamps his feet you will give in. why do you need to give him an answer soon, you are the parent!

If he wants an answer that quick tell him no. If you can afford more then let him earn it, give him ex amount for household chores but make sure if he doesnt do them, you dont pay out. Your not a cash cow. If he wants more tell him as he and his dad are happy to discuss finances he should go talk to him about it.

sanityseeker75 Sun 05-May-13 10:48:44

Oh and whilst I do agree that setting aside money in trust is a good compromise, your ds's thankfully have their mom still and it sounds like you trying to do a good job by all of them. How much allowance do they get?

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 11:32:59

Perhaps the compromise here is that your son can earn extra by doing chores that the others do not do. Of course for that to be fair they should be given the opportunity to earn extra too which might make that impractical. Your son doesn't really understand what things cost or that you have to play fair by the the whole family. Other boys his age may have more but that will be true throughout life and only he can do anything about that. He could look for a Saturday job.

Graciescotland Sun 05-May-13 11:42:14

I think the setting aside of money for when they're older seems fair; I think if you're aiming for equality then they should all get the same but that includes lump sums. I'd be aiming to save an amount that would mean they were going to all receive the same lump sum.

Libby10 Sun 05-May-13 14:42:13

My DP used to give pocket money to the SC on top of the maintenance he paid to his ex. We used to have them 50 per cent of the time and so he regarded this as extra money he would pay them out of our household. I don't think either your ex or your DS should dictate how you spend the maintenance you get for your DS and paying the same for all of them seems fair. I think the pocket money issue is separate from the money your SC get from their mother's policy - your DS have both you and your ex to provide them with support if needed.

BruthasTortoise Sun 05-May-13 17:59:18

I don't want to be horrible but I can kind of see your exs point. If I were a NRP I don't think I would be particularly happy about providing maintenance for my child which was then being used to maintain other children. Have you tried to work out the finances? It may seem cutthroat but if your ex is paying more than half your DS expenses per month then I think the excess should go to him, preferably in some sort of savings account so he will end up on an equal footing with his DSBros.

raisinbran Sun 05-May-13 18:09:59

Thanks all for your views they are all relevant which ever way you look at them.my ds has waited 3 days for an answer so it will need to be tonight i have the discussion.

my ds has said he thinks dss aged 16 needs to have the same as he wouldnt like it the other way round.

so i will consider jobs as the top up, as then i can see how commited they are and get some work ethic into them. my ex talks a good he but when it suits him he can have a gap of 5 weeks when he sorts his life out with work. think i will also hand over clothes allowance as a trial.

i did appreciate all the comments thanks

BruthasTortoise Sun 05-May-13 18:13:20

Good luck rasinbran! It is so difficult trying to balance it all but you sound like a fab mum and stepmum.

needaholidaynow Sun 05-May-13 19:21:27

The maintenance your ex provides is for your children and shouldn't go towards your stepchildren. If that means your children have more than your stepchildren then life isn't fair is it? He's their dad and shouldn't have to pay for other children in your life too.

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 19:39:55

I don't really see that op is spending the maintenance on the stepchildren. She is housing herself and her children. Her dp pays for his own children. It is unrealistic to separate everything out.

needaholidaynow Sun 05-May-13 19:47:30

Ah ok. But it has got me thinking. In a situation where there are stepchildren involved or RP goes on to have more children, I think any maintenance received should be reserved for the children it is being paid for and shouldn't necessarily benefit the other children in the household.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 05-May-13 20:43:07

The maintenance I receive from my ex for DD goes into the household account and is exactly the same (more or less to the penny) to the amount that goes to the CSA from our household finances for the DSC.

As long as DD has what she 'needs', I don't think that my ex has any right to dictate how much I spend on her.
It's unrealistic to expect the RP to contribute 'the same amount' as the NRP towards the DCs - because if they are earning less, then they would be assessed as paying less, and similarly, if they earn more than then their CSA assessment would be higher

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 21:37:03

Yes, I think you are thinking along the same lines as me NotaDisneyMum. I think it would be artificial to seperate the streams of income out. If you live in a family the resources are pooled and need to be spent fairly. If you start separating money out then this will inevitably cause discord and resentment. How does that benefit anyone?

needaholidaynow Sun 05-May-13 21:53:10

But then again why should an NRP pay money towards children that aren't theirs? Talk about resentment.

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 22:03:51

But he is presumably paying what the csa say he should pay. The amount will not alter regardless of whether op lives alone with the children or has a partner.

needaholidaynow Sun 05-May-13 22:21:34

Oh I know that. I was just saying that shouldn't the RP put the money aside for the children that the maintenance is for? Although yes you could argue that it goes towards bills and other household expenses, but in terms of new clothes and school trips, savings or treats etc, maybe the RP's children will have more than their stepchildren. The point is that money is for their upbringing and nobody else's.

I think the solution here is for your dp to sort his work situation out and support his own children. Sorry to be harsh, but it's not for the NRP to support another man's children, who he has nothing to do with. It would be unfair for your ds to have more money than your dss especially as he's older, but your dp needs to step up to the mark and provide the extra for his kids not your ex.

mynewpassion Mon 06-May-13 08:09:52

So if a woman with children moves in or marries a man with children from a previous relationship and earns considerably less than he does, she should expect that her new partner to not financially support his stepchildren?

NumTumDeDum Mon 06-May-13 09:21:46

Exactly. You just can't do that. Say op gets £500 a month and earns £1500. She spends £2000 on bills, mortgage and clothes and activities for her children. If she spends the maintenance first she's spending it on her children and not her stepchildren. It is just arbitrary and artificial to say the nrp is supporting the stepchildren when he isn't. His money goes to the bills for the children. Op then earns the rest to pay the rest of the bills and for the stepchildren.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 06-May-13 09:36:45

in terms of new clothes and school trips, savings or treats etc, maybe the RP's children will have more than their stepchildren

What a brilliant way to create disharmony within a family!

The OP says to her DSC, "no, only my DS can have clothes from Superdry, because he's got two parents financially supporting him and you've only one - tough luck, you'll have to make do with primark"

Mmm - really?

Cravingdairy Mon 06-May-13 09:37:51

Does the payment cover the whole of your rent/mortgage and home upkeep, council tax, car costs if any and utilities? You would still have to pay these if it was just you and DS living together. And that's not including food, clothes and activities for DS. Never mind pocket money and holidays.

Stepmooster Mon 06-May-13 09:51:35

My DH pays more maintainence for his son than the other father of his ex's other 2 older children. He also gives DSS £20 pocket money every fortnight and pays for his mobile and laptop extras. He used to buy DSS designer clothes but since we had our DD that stopped (a complete waste of money in my eyes), along with regular trips to theme parks and expensive mini breaks. DH is a reformed Disney dad!

DH doesn't resent the money he gives the ex, and knows it will go towards the other kids and her and DH's living costs. He does however tell DSS to ask his mum if he wants more clothes etc just because we can't afford to pay for them too.

I think the only person who is going to be resentful is DSS when he gets older, if he ever finds out how much maintenance his mum gets. I can see why he might kick off if he starts feeling that's his money.

Teens can be sneaky the father may not have told him, a bank statement carelessly left around or something could have been enough for him to find out.

I don't think you should let DS dictate how you spend the money. No harm comes from learning the value of money, as opposed to being spoilt rotten.

BruthasTortoise Mon 06-May-13 11:01:23

But surely there's going to be disharmony when the DSSs reach 18 and get their savings which the OPs DS won't get? It's tragic that the DSS mum has passed away but she did make sure that her children would be financially provided for and I'd imagine there would be uproar if the OP suggested that money be added to the family pot when the DSSs turn 18.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 11:37:11


Say the OP's children do have two parents financially supporting them, then that's a good thing right? Why on earth should the OP's ex pay money to her (for HIS children) only for it to go towards her stepchildren??

He's not responsible for them!

NumTumDeDum Mon 06-May-13 11:50:02

What do you want her to do, split the house into two apartments? Utterly ridiculous. He pays what the csa say he should pay and she tops up the rest.

millie30 Mon 06-May-13 12:00:33

I was under the impression that the CSA can reduce the maintenance payments of a NRP if they move in with a partner who has children even if they are not the NRPs biological children. Certainly a lone parent will lose benefits if they move a partner in, even though that partner is not the biological parent. So it seems to be recognised that blended families will have some element of sharing finances and partners supporting children who are not theirs.

Not sure why the OPs situation is any different to this, and if her ex is paying the CSA rate he is unlikely to be single handedly supporting the OPs household, rather just making the necessary contribution to his child, as he should.

BruthasTortoise Mon 06-May-13 12:04:08

You're right about the CSA but many lone parents feel it is ridiculously unfair that their children's standard of living drops because the NRP pays less when they move in with someone else who has children. I can see their point in much the same way as I can see the OPs ex's point.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 12:08:04

Wasn't saying that at all NumTum. But say the ops ex is highly paid, then obviously his children are going to have a better lifestyle than ops stepchildren aren't they? Sometimes life isn't fair.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 12:21:08

Also, I am assuming that since the OP has started a relationship with a man with children, then she is taking on some sort of "responsibility" for the stepchildren, as you do. Which, of course, means that her own child now gets less from her as money has to be stretched further to meet the needs of all of the children.

Why must her ex also have to pay for that decision? The decision to form a family with a man who has children? To the NRP his children are the children he has with the RP and it would be fair to say that her stepchildren wouldn't even flicker in his mind. So the money she pays towards her stepchildren, you could say he is "making up".

purpleroses Mon 06-May-13 12:25:44

Living with someone saves you loads over living alone. If the OP lived alone she'd have 100% of all the household bills, and only the food bill would actually be lower. As it is, she says she pays 2/3 of them. So her DS is probably better off than he would be if she weren't living with her DP and DSC.

Having similar aged DCs within a household who being given different amounts of money creates a lot of tension. It's unavoidable in our household as DSC's mum gives them lots directly, but we at least make sure that we try to treat them equally when they're all here.

But child support is not money "for the children". It's money to the other parent so that they can provide for the children. This includes providing a roof over their head, food, and childcare. If the OP's DP is helping out by looking after the kids whilst she goes out and earns money that is really none of her ex's business and her DS ought to be taught that people contribute to a family in different ways and that relationships are about give and take and about not always keeping count of who owes who what.

Can't see any need to be putting money aside just to "match" the money left the DSC by their mother. That money is, sadly, all she'll ever provide for them. Whereas the OP's DCs will hopefully have two surviving parents who can continue to help them out (and leave them money in their wills) well into adulthood if they want to.

BruthasTortoise Mon 06-May-13 12:38:06

Purple the OP has already stated that she and her children have less since her DP and his DSs moved in. And I think the money left by the DSSs mother is relevant although I'm basing that on the assumption that since it is paid monthly, as opposed to a lump sum when they reach 18, the intent behind it was for it to be used for her DSs living expenses. Of course I could be wrong by I know that my and my DHs policies/pensions are set up to pay out an initial lump sum then a monthly figure. If the DP is choosing to hold that money in savings for his sons as opposed to putting it in the family pot then would it not be reasonable for the OP to do the same?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 06-May-13 12:38:34

Wasn't saying that at all NumTum. But say the ops ex is highly paid, then obviously his children are going to have a better lifestyle than ops stepchildren aren't they? Sometimes life isn't fair.

And if the NRP chooses to raise the DCs standard of living when they are with him, then that's great - he can take them on extra holidays, shower them with gifts etc - and of course the remaining DCs will have to live with that injustice (as they see it)

I am struggling to see the benefits to any family members who live in a situation in which some of the DCs are treated more favourably (financially) than others. Just because there is money available to indulge one DC over the other two doesn't mean that is the way it should be.

Oh, and my DDs maintenance is taken into account as part of the overall household income when my DSD applies for a bursary to college so my DD will go without (in our home) in order to fund DSD college expenses.

BruthasTortoise Mon 06-May-13 12:42:55

Sorry scrap my last post! Just reread the OP and it's not clear how the DSSs late mothers policy is paid out! Sorry again smile

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 12:44:35

So the NRPs children are only allowed to feel the benefits sometimes? That's not fair. He is their father and if he is able to provide nice things for them then they shouldn't miss out in any instance, particularly due one of their parents making a big life change that they had no say in. (That's not a dig OP)

purpleroses Mon 06-May-13 12:47:51

Bruthas - yes you're right. It depends whether the late mother's policy was intended to support her DS's after her death, and their dad has just decided that it should go into saving for them, or whether it's money that simply can't be accessed until they're 18.

If their dad has just decided that it should go into savings, but is relying on the OP to help support them in the meantime whilst her own DCs don't have savings accounts, then that is rather unfair.

Viviennemary Mon 06-May-13 12:51:37

I think it's very wrong that maintenance money that an ex pays for his own children is going to support someone else's children. Perhaps part of the money should be now paid in clothing and holidays and so on. This is bound to cause resentment if children know their father is giving money for them and they are not receiving it.

Is this the time to explain what his money goes towards - ie share of mortgage for roof over head, water bills, transport - cost of to/from school, car if he expects to be driven around and dropped off, heating bills and food. He'd be srprised how much he costs to feed. Then there's clothing.

He will probably try and say oh well, I'd rather not have the heating on in my room or something random but he has to see that its not just £x he's not getting. He is getting it!

Clothes allowance - and an expectation of what he has to buy with it - is a good idea (ie you'll pay for one pair of school shoes a year, if he needs/wants more he pays). If you have a family event, he needs to be able to dress smartly ..... set the boundaries for it so he understands how to budget it.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 06-May-13 12:52:58

So the NRPs children are only allowed to feel the benefits sometimes? That's not fair. He is their father and if he is able to provide nice things for them then they shouldn't miss out in any instance, particularly due one of their parents making a big life change that they had no say in. (That's not a dig OP)

But the DCs have already missed out financially because their parents have split! The combined amount of money available to spend on them by parents has dropped because there are now two households to maintain, not one!

A NRP who feels aggrieved that the RP isn't buying his DCs 'nice things' isn't much of a parent, IMO - there are far more important things in life than the latest gadgets and school skiing trips.

Viviennemary Mon 06-May-13 12:54:00

I didn't read about the savings pot. Even more unfair. Perhaps the saving pot money should be split between all the children.

Want2bSupermum Mon 06-May-13 12:57:13

The children should be treated equally but monies paid by the OP's ex should be only spent on their children. Any excess should go into a separate savings account. They will need it when they are older.

I would give a lesson' on money by getting a months pay in pound coins. It will look like loads. Then take out tax, NI contributions and council tax and put the money to the side. After take out mortgage, utilities, food and savings (for that holiday he didn't want to go on - cheeky monkey). He will see there will be a small percentage of coins left to pay for all the other 'stuff' that he thinks he should get.

You are the parent so what you do/say goes. He will have his chance soon enough! He might be 15 but he would struggle to last 5 mins in the real world. He is being a typical teenager who is stuck at the horrible inbetween stage of childhood and being an adult. Sod chores, I would send him out to get a Saturday job. It won't be easy to find work and the rejection might make him a little more thankful for what you provide.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 13:05:56

Well then NADM, any money left over from the maintenance, could be put away for the OPs child for when they are a bit older. And if she wants to treat her child to something nice with the money then good on her. If it was me in this position and I was receiving maintenance for my two children, then anything I have left over I would put away for them and them only as it would be money from their father.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 06-May-13 13:11:18

I think I would try to match the savings that the step children will have. That way the dc are all on an equal footing both in the home and once they hit 18.

I don't think you can be allowing your ds to dictate how you spend your money.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 13:11:49

A NRP who feels aggrieved that the RP isn't buying his DCs 'nice things' isn't much of a parent, IMO - there are far more important things in life than the latest gadgets and school skiing trips.

But to that NRP, an "important" thing in life isn't to support his ex's stepchildren.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 06-May-13 13:29:27

My ex placed a great deal of value on DDs relationship with DSS - and will put himself out to ensure that relationship is maintained.

What kind if parent disregards the existence of their DCs step-siblings?

Some of the posts on this thread come across as very 'grabby' - defending a DCs 'right' to live the highest standard of living in terms if material things with no thought as to the quality of life in an emotional and experience sense.

Fortunately, my ex recognises the value of the non-monetary things that our DD benefits from with me - and he financially indulges her when she's with him. Surely she's got the best of both worlds and isn't missing out because I choose to share my life with her SDad and the DSC? DD and I would definitely have a higher standard of living if we lived alone.

Mutley77 Mon 06-May-13 14:02:13

I really think there is a big issue here that you (and your ex) are contributing more but your step-children are getting more (in the way of their trust fund) and your children are effectively losing out. That seems TOTALLY unfair to me. And if your own children realise what's happened they are likely to really resent you too.

I think you need to take action asap to ensure that your children end up with a similar savings pot to that of your step children. The extra from your wage and your ex's maintenance shoudl go directly to that IMO.

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