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to ask dh to think again about maintenance payments for his daughter?

(120 Posts)
clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 10:27:44

I have a step-daughter who will be 20 at Christmas. She started University last Sept, and has dropped all contact with her father, despite him regularly sending emails/texts/voicemails. She never answers her mobile to him, never replies to his emails or texts. We have no idea why not.

He has always paid maintenance for his children, and when her older brother became 18 and left home, dh continued to pay 2/3rd of the previous maintenance to their mother, as he understood teenage girls are expensive to run.

Contact with dsd became patchy about 2 years ago, but she was busy, always had a good social life, so we left things in her hands, made it clear that she was always welcome, just call when you want us.
It took dh 5 calls last year just to find out what her A level results were.

When dsd went off to university last year, dh asked her to let him have her bank details, and he would pay her maintenance direct to her. Right she said. Didn't let him know, despite reminder emails. So he is still paying it to her mother.

We last saw dsd at Christmas, and as I say, she refuses all contact ever since. As far as I know we haven't done anything to offend her.

I have never begrudged my husband meeting his obligations to his children, and tried hard to be a friend to dsd thru her childhood. I also resolved never to interfere with dh's dealings with his first family.

But I am now reaching the conclusion that enough is enough.

Apart from anything else we don't even know if dsd is still at university. She could have dropped out and not told us.

Relations with dh's exw have never been good, and she doesn't respond to phone messages either. He still seems reluctant to cross her, so currently is finding excuses not to make poper attempts to contact her to find out about dsd.

Meanwhile, I get more and more frustrated, and am trying sooooo hard not to resent the money, but I'm losing that battle. We would like to put ds into private school, but can't really afford it, that maintenance money would make a difference.

I tried to discuss this with dh last night (I raise the subject now and then, don't nag), but he just asks me to change the subject, cos he's going to get angry.

He did say he will stop paying at 21, but that's another 18 months.

BTW, I wasn't part of the original break-up, didn't meet dh until 3 years after he had left exw.

LIZS Thu 12-Jul-07 10:42:14

I don't think it is unusual to continue to pay while sc's are in full time education. Teenagers can be terribly self centred and your dh wil be naturally defensive of her and anything to do with her. Hopefully it won't be forever though and perhaps you could get him to focus on putting some more money aside for your ds'education then.

TranquilaManana Thu 12-Jul-07 10:48:32

i think youve got to suck it down for another 18months. at least thats not far away now, is it.

clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 10:55:28

but seriously, she may not still have a university place.

dh is continuing to pay while she is in education.

My view is that if he doesn't pay the maintenance, then either dsd or her mother will contact him, and then he can find out what is going on.

is it too much to expect a 19 y.o. to acknowledge her father, who hands over 200 / month?

Caroline1852 Thu 12-Jul-07 10:57:41

Not being cheeky or anything, but if you resolved to never come between your DH and his first family, why are you now saying enough is enough?
Personally, I think he should continue to honour his obligations, for various reasons. 1. It is possible and likely that she is still at Uni and stopping maintenance may make continuing difficult (if he stops paying and she drops out he may become the scapegoat). 2. Maintenance payments are not paid in lieu of access. 3. She is an adult now and if she does not want to see her dad that is up to her (disappointing for you all I know).4. There is only another two years at most til the end of her first degree and it is surely better to honour these financial obligations. 5. At some point she will grow up and might even apologise!

TranquilaManana Thu 12-Jul-07 11:09:34

hes not paying so shell call. she is not for sale.
hes paying b/c its his responsibility to do so. and good on him for honouring that responsibility.

if their relationship is strained now, stopping the money as a form of leverage to speak to her will not improve it. in fact, behaving as he is, she is much more likely to one day come back and explain/make up/apologise/want to be part of his life.

clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 11:10:33

But caroline, yes she is an adult now, and should start to take some responsibility. She now has responsibility to her father, to at least let him know she still exists.
He has never made a single demand on her, has always stayed in the area to see his children regularly (and we both gave up career opportunities for this), surely it isn't expecting too much that she occasionally replies to an email. We're not even asking her to give up her time to see him/us.

And I say 'enough is enough' because I can see how much he is hurt by her, and because our son could get some benefit from the money.

LilRedWG Thu 12-Jul-07 11:14:07

Unfortunately, teenagers are selfish! I think you may just have to bite yor tounge until she's 21. I knowit must be awfully frustrating, but you've managed up until now, just keep going a little longer.

Speccy Thu 12-Jul-07 11:21:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

obimomkanobi Thu 12-Jul-07 11:23:39

If he stopped sending the money it could sound the death knell on any relationship between your DH and his daughter.

She is only 19. I hardly spoke to or saw my folks at that age!! And who knows what info she is being fed by her mother.

Ultimately she is just as much his child as your son is, and the financial and other commitments that got with being a parent do not end at an arbitrary age. And parental love and support should always, always be unconditional IMO.

Also, unless he is paying her tuition fee's/hall fee's £200 a month aint that much dosh in the grand scheme of things.

Caroline1852 Thu 12-Jul-07 11:37:19

Clumsymum - Your comment: "And I say 'enough is enough' because I can see how much he is hurt by her, and because our son could get some benefit from the money." [shock} And there was me thinking you would probably donate the money to charity!

Reallytired Thu 12-Jul-07 11:44:52

Well you got another 18 months of payments. or roughly 3,000 quid. Its not that much compared to the cost of private ed. Did he pay for his first family to go to private ed?

Even if she is not at uni then the money is useful to help set home or whatever she wants to do.

batters Thu 12-Jul-07 12:47:54

Yes, he should continue paying the money, £3000 is a drop in the ocean in reality.

His dd's financial welfare should not be reliant on whether she is happy continuing her relationship with him or not. She sounds very unhappy to me.

Judy1234 Thu 12-Jul-07 12:48:52

Has your husband shown you a copy of the court order from when he divorced saying who pays what? That would often be the starting point. Frequently they contain a legal obligation to pay the mother or father money until the children leave university. Ours says whoever the children liuve with I pay all 5 sets of school and university fees as I earn more than my ex.

Assuming there is no court order (stopping paying without the order being varied is not lawful) then under the child support agency rules he only has to pay to 18 as I understand it.

So it all comes down to that court order. Investigate that first and may be tell us here.

I have 3 at university and their father never ever contacts them which is very very sad the converse of what you say. IUf they ever call or leave a text he does what your SD does and just doesn't reply.

By the way if he knows her university and subject it's not that hard to get some information about where she is etc. Does he know the subject and place?

cornsilk Thu 12-Jul-07 12:52:54

Yes he should pay it unless you're certain she's not in the education system.

meandmyflyingmachine Thu 12-Jul-07 12:54:47

He should continue paying just to keep the lines of communication open if not actually active. Imagine her response if she found out that her maintenance stopped so you could send your ds to a private school.

I remember my mum once leaving me a message when I was that age that said "we're all OK here, if you even care" - and I have a wonderful relationship with my parents. I was just enjoying my first year without them.

And glad you worked out how old she was! Was this why you were asking BTW?

NAB3 Thu 12-Jul-07 13:06:16

If she was still living with him he would probably be funding her so what is the difference? I can see why you may be frustrated but she is his child just as much as the one(s) you have together. Can you not hang in there for another 18m?

NAB3 Thu 12-Jul-07 13:07:27

God forbid were you two to split you would want him to pay maintenance to your child wouldn't you?

clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 13:16:53

Well thanks, as I know, I just have to shut-up.

I continue to be VERY ANGRY that dsd can't just acknowledge that her father wants to hear from her, and quite shocked that this seems (by some here) to be acceptable behaviour. Yes I was probably a fairly inconsiderate teenager, but my parents would have taken steps to put me in my place if I had treated them or anyone else in the family this way. Just cos she's busy (possibly at university), doesn't excuse everything,

I have to say that it has crossed my mind that sd may choose to avoid contact with her father BECAUSE she's no longer at university.

Whether or not dh put his first family thru' private school is irrelevant Reallytired. In fact we did discuss it when sd was 11, but her mother would never have gone for it (political issues there).

clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 13:18:27

YES NAB I would,

But I would also expect my child to have some regard (and respect) for his father.

NAB3 Thu 12-Jul-07 13:19:06

Maybe she doesn't feel he has earned it?

Feedmenow Thu 12-Jul-07 13:19:29

Clumsy, I have read quite a few of the other posts but not all so may repeat something someone esle has said.
IMO, she is now an adult and your dh shouldn't HAVE to pay out a penny for her, regardless of whether she's at Uni or not. So anything he does pay is very good of him and I think that she should damn well be grateful for it. I sure as hell wouldn't accept that kind of money off anyone, parent or not, if I didn't like them and didn't have the decency to thank them/show some respect and I think she is taking the p**s by doing that. She is an adult and should damn well start behaving like one!
Secondly, I think your dh should DEFINATELY only pay the money to her. Once again, she is an adult and should be taking responsibility for her own finances. Obviously I don't know any fine details, but the exw could be keeping some or all of the money herself....for all you know, the dsd might not even realise he still pays! I would contact dsd (if I were your hubby) and leave a amessage to say that he thinks she should manage her own finances and he wants to transfer the money direct to her, so he's cancelling the standing order to her mum and will immediately set up a new s/o to dsd when she gives him the details.
What others have said about any kind of disruption/ultimatum making things harder in the future, well sod it! Just cos she's family, doesn't mean you have to get on/like her. As I said before, if she's accepting his/your money and can't even have the manners to be grateful, then she doesn't sound all that great anyway!

clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 13:21:52

Thank you Feedmenow !!!

I don't expect gratitude (tho it would be nice), but I do think some acknowledgement is reasonable.

clumsymum Thu 12-Jul-07 13:22:50


Why should you think that?

StarryStarryNight Thu 12-Jul-07 13:22:59

In my first year of University I hardly spoke to my parents at all, I was so busy with my studies, and also, I found the change from living at home to living on my own (abroad I should add, maybe) so big I did not want contact with my family for fear of bursting out crying! I just had to cope. For all you know she is just busy with studies, assignments and exams, and adjusting to her new life. A wise man (maybe Sting?) said "If you love somebody set them free", and maybe your husband should not push her, she will be back in her own good time. If you really want to know what she is up to, it might be better to get in touch with her mum and ask her outright?

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