...to want a say in how much we give step children for uni?

(364 Posts)
GinnyMcGinFace Tue 03-May-16 00:18:28

My husband and I have been together for ten years and have two sons. He also has two children from his previous marriage. His ex wife clearly hired a highwayman for a divorce lawyer because we have paid, religiously, £1200 a month for the children, plus half of uniforms, school trips etc. for years. She also got £250k in cash from the divorce and he got to keep the dog. Anyway, whilst the divorce agreement appears ridiculous to me, it was signed, sealed and delivered before I was on the scene so I've never really said much about it. However, the agreement is clear that it covers only until the children are 18-step daughter is now 20 and step son is 18. Both want to go to uni this year and have asked us-well, their dad actually-for financial support. He said of course we will support them, but it's a conversation we need to have altogether. His ex wife has lost her shit and says it's nothing to do with me and they aren't my children so I shouldn't be involved in what she called 'negotatiations'. I feel-as does my husband to be fair to him-that as this now sits outside of their maintenance agreement, the request is coming from our joint income and therefore I should be involved in making the decision about how much we can afford. My husband has made the point that whatever we agree for the older children we have to be able to offer the younger ones and my step daughter (I suspect repeating her mother) has said that her and her 'full' brother-her words-should be the priority.

I've always got on well with my step children and they adore their little brothers. They have become typical teenagers in that they only get in touch with their dad nowadays when they want something but he is not always that great at calling/texting them either.

Is it my business? Am I just an evil step mother bitch??

LouBlue1507 Tue 03-May-16 00:22:18

YANBU! Not in the slightest! You're married and it's a joint decision!

Personally I think they should apply for what loans they can get and learn a bit of responsibility by having to pay it off themselves in the end instead of relying on parents.

Good luck x

EatShitDerek Tue 03-May-16 00:24:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GeezAJammyPeece Tue 03-May-16 00:24:47

Maintenance agreement was binding until 18, when they become adults.
You and your husband discuss how much you can afford to subsidise equally each of the FOUR young people in your lives. Then discuss it with the adults in question, namely his son & daughter, your stepchildren.

RB68 Tue 03-May-16 00:25:51

they are happy to take your money (it belongs to both of you) its your business, however I would let DH do the negotiations knowing what you are prepared to give to them. They do sound thoroughly selfish and seemed to have forgotten their younger brothers have as much right to support as they do whoever came first. Plus they are also forgetting your contribution here.

Jeremysfavouriteaunt Tue 03-May-16 00:25:59

My DC are hopefully off to university soon and will definitely need top ups from parents for accommodation and living costs. Some courses make it difficult to work alongside them.

I think that a lot of agreements are until 18 or end of further education so I don't know if his ex wife could apply for this or not.

I do think that you should be involved but I also think that between you, there should be some contribution towards university.

2016namechangecomingalong Tue 03-May-16 00:26:28

YANBU to want input on this.

Are you still paying the £1200 per month?
We diverted the maintenance from DH's ex to the kids when they went to uni. She was perfectly fine with that. We never had a court or CSA agreement though as it was worked out between DH and ex initially then we just put it up from time to time.

VimFuego101 Tue 03-May-16 00:28:07

YANBU. What will their mum be putting in?

If I understand the UK system correctly they should be able to get a loan to pay their fees (and according to moneysavingexpert it's more cost effective to take the loan than to pay the fees outright due to inflation), and unless they are studying a really in depth course like medicine, a part time job will help cover their costs and give them work experience. So I would be happy to give them a small allowance and cover a food shop each term but would expect them to work too.

timelytess Tue 03-May-16 00:28:21

The one who butts out is his ex. The children are now adults, he can deal directly with them.

It doesn't necessarily follow that each biological parent will make the same financial contribution as they might not have the same financial resources.

Nocabbageinmyeye Tue 03-May-16 00:30:10

Surely the discussion is only for you and your dh though? You sit down just the two of you, after to a figure, offer it and they like it or lump it? The ex wife has no right at all to be there, they are adults. Yanbu to want to be involved but you should exclude the rest and only talk to your husband

Nocabbageinmyeye Tue 03-May-16 00:30:49

Agree to a figure

GinnyMcGinFace Tue 03-May-16 00:33:07

I'm not for a minute saying we wouldn't contribute-I went to uni having been brought up in one of the roughest areas in the country and had to do it on my own because my parents simply couldn't afford to help. It will actually give me pleasure to think that none of the children will have to struggle that much. I guess I just get upset-pissed off actually-that I am seen as less important financially; they wouldn't know it but I am actually the softer touch where they are concerned because I'm usually anything for a quiet life but I feel this is them flipping the bird once too much!

No, we pay £600 per month now as my step daughter turned 18 and then decided to take a year out to go travelling. She never asked us to contribute which is to her complete credit, she did that on her own. I suppose I'm also peeved because hey haven't actually looked at how much it is going to cost, how much they can borrow etc and then asked us to help with a definite shortfall, they simply appear to have asked for a blank cheque. From their dad. Because apparently I get paid in dog shit and confetti....

cleaty Tue 03-May-16 00:48:15

You are right, but they are young, and young people can be selfish and thoughtless. That is really not unusual.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 03-May-16 00:51:38

Just pay them £600 a month each while they are at uni , it doesn't have tone complicated.

GrinAndTonic Tue 03-May-16 00:56:19

It has nothing to do with the childrens mother. Now they are legally adults it is a decision between you and your DH how much money you give them. I would let the DC get jobs/bursaries/loans and then give an amount based on that.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 03-May-16 01:04:38

It sounds as though you feel poorly treated by being excluded after all this time love kindness etc. That sounds fair enough.
I suppose I'd try to see them as feckless teenagers and rise above.

I guess that they and their mum might think they have a better chance of persuading their dad without your input? Perhaps she and they see this as a discussion to be thrashed out with him for his spare cash and to extend his financial burden toward them whilst they attend uni.
My maintenance deal, for instance, is until the end of further education..perhaps they think that something could be done but don't want to burden you with either the negotiations or monetary commitment

Beepbopboop Tue 03-May-16 01:10:37

My parents couldn't afford to help me at uni. And I got hardly any loan and no maintenance loan.
Why should you pay and have no say in it? You're married so your finances are joint. I think they are getting way too much but anything you give should go to them directly.

MadamDeathstare Tue 03-May-16 01:16:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lurked101 Tue 03-May-16 01:27:00

£600 a month each at uni is way too much, they are not children and can take loans.

Half it and pay £300 each? It works out at about £70 a week, which is well generous. If their mother's income is low they will be eligible for full loans, and if it isn't they can get some from her, and the loans.

Even with this level of income they will be quite well off students!

TBF, having had two at that stage myself I have a bee in my bonnet about this. Lots of their contemporaries lived lifestyles that someone on £40 k a year would struggle to replicate.

Want2bSupermum Tue 03-May-16 01:31:05

My parents are divorced and my Dad had to pay maintenance until my brother graduated. We all had visions of him graduating at the age of 50 because the monthly payment was stupidly high. To his credit he graduated in four years, taking an extra year to spend more time practicing Arabic. His course was fully paid for by the Army and he was given £10k a year for living expenses during term. He also did deep sea diving on oil rigs which was extremely well paid.

His DC should be looking at courses and figuring out how they are going to pay for it. I would have your DH check the original agreement to see if its specific about what the payments are meant to cover. It might be that the exW was supposed to pay for university. If that's the case you have that in your back pocket if the exW gets feisty. You guys should however contribute something and use the discussion of financing to talk about their career choices plus the fact that post graduation they are on their own financially but you will always support them starting out in their careers.

Just5minswithDacre Tue 03-May-16 01:32:58

It's meaningless to quote maintainence figures unless you also quote income (or divorce settlement sizes without disclosing all assets ). The highwayman snark makes me wonder how U you really are.

Italiangreyhound Tue 03-May-16 01:35:39

YANBU at all.

It's totally your joint decision and it really is nothing to do with their mum.

Want2bSupermum Tue 03-May-16 01:35:46

lurked I am totally with you. Some parents were paying hundreds each week to their DC and I had to make it work on £48 a week including rent (it was the early 2000s). All these parents paying lots to their DC just inflated prices. It's extremely frustrating, especially when everyone assumes your parents are giving you £££ when they are not paying a penny.

Those parents who paid ££££ had kids who took coke instead of skunk.

Just5minswithDacre Tue 03-May-16 01:37:40

grin@ coke instead of skunk.

Janecc Tue 03-May-16 02:03:04

If no provision was made for education past 18 then no provision was made. His ex can rant if she likes and it changes nothing. Her input will not be beneficial, she is being irrational about her children being more important than yours and really she needs to put her tiger mummy away, they're adults now. The two of you should decide what you are able to pay and their father present the offer to the children. From the figure you are quoting, your dh must be a higher earner and a caring father. I'm sure he can figure something sensible and workable out with you and the children.

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