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Is our financial arrangement completely dysfunctional and am I wrong to be fed up with it?

(78 Posts)
Frombathwithlove Tue 31-Jan-17 23:59:46

I posted this in another section on MN, but one of the poster's suggested I put it here instead ☺

This will probably be a bit lengthy, so you might want to grab a coffee!
So, the basics are: DP and I have been together 7 years and live together in a rented house. Both married before, my 2 DC live with us and DP's 2 children live with his ex and her partner. DP works full time and I work part-time (at least 30hrs/wk spread over 3 jobs). I receive maintenance from my ExH and DP pays maintenance to his ExW. I also receive child benefit for DC's.
That's the basics! The rub is this; DP and I pay 50% each of rent & joint utilities. We pay our own individual bills independently (i.e car insurance, credit cards, pension, catalogues etc and we run a car each). We have separate personal bank accounts that our wages go in to - mine also has CB and maintenance going in to it - we have a joint 'bills' account that we pay our 50% in to and the direct debits go out of that.
Alongside this, I fully support my dc with EVERYTHING! From clothes to school trips to Christmas & birthday presents. On their birthdays we all go out for a meal and I pay. DP earns approx. £10,000 pa more than me , he pays maintenance for his dc (as mentioned before) and sees them for 1 day every weekend. If DP, my DC and I go for a coffee/lunch when out, I pay. I buy all the necessary things needed for the home (decorating, furniture when needed, soon to be flooring & carpets too). We also pay an amount in to the joint account to cover food, 50/50 again - it never covers the cost of food though, I always have to add to it.
So, the whole 'separate the finances' came about a few years ago when DP was moaning about what I prioritised when it came to money. I got really cross and worked a ratio of what we should pay, along the lines of: he earns x % more so should pay more (I know that sounds arsey, but it was how I felt). DP didn't like the ratio and said that there were 3 of us (me & DC x2) and only 1 of him so why should he pay more? He said it wasn't happy with it and agreed 50/50.
So, here we are. I feel like a single parent within a relationship! But, actually worse off than a single parent; because if I was truly on my own I would get assistance from the DSS!
Would this annoy/upset you?
(In fact, is it so garbled that you lost the plot ages ago?)

From posting in the other section, it became clear I needed to give some more details, so for clarity:
My income, including maintenance and CB is approx. £15,000 pa. His income (after paying maintenance for his dc) is just over £25,000.
We live in a Housing Association house.

I don't expect DP to support me whilst I work part time. I cannot work full time due to the hours of my main employment not fitting in around my DC, and he cannot help me with childcare due to his job. I work three separate jobs that do fit in around the DC.

MommaGee Wed 01-Feb-17 00:52:00

Firstly how old are your kids? I think its sad that 7 years down the line he can't even pay for a coffee and cake if they're with you.

I think on the basics so rent, utilities he ahod be paying a little more than you as he's earning a fair bit more than you.
Food I'd expect 50/50 so I'd tell him you need more, or is he arguing there's 3 or tou for that too? There isn't 3 of you and 1 of him, there's one family

Why are you buying household stuff individually? Get a price and the him you need half towards it.

You basically have a house share arrangement

Out2pasture Wed 01-Feb-17 02:36:35

I'm another to see this as a friends with benefits relationship.
You and him are raising a family together, blended yes but still a family.
Until the children are independent there is usually not an excess of disposable income.
I would decide how much "fun money" each of you need per month, for your hobby whatever. Subtract his maintenance payments. Then put it all into a communal pot.
At the end of the month any leftover money goes into a joint savings/holiday/extra debt repayment etc.
If he's bitter to pay towards your children then that is a sign of his true colours.

BellaMoon Wed 01-Feb-17 02:56:51

@frombathwithlove

this matter actually affected a previous relationship of mine. if there's one thing that will divide opinion in a relationship you can guarantee it'll be money, religion or politics!

i do find your situation slightly dysfunctional only because it clearly isn't working for you! there does seem to be a bit of "having his cake and eating it" on your DPs part.

i don't have a solution i'm afraid as that's something that only you two can negotiate BUT stand by your views, don't compromise just because 50/50 sounds "fair". since when was a relationship always 50/50? at
times it's 25/75 on way, then 80/20 the other. as long as both parties can agree their % then a relationship should work. seems to
me you're definitely doing more than 50%.

hope it all works out for you soon

LemonSqueezy0 Wed 01-Feb-17 07:12:21

I'd have another chat with him and be a bit firmer about what is fair, and what isn't. Obviously if he doesn't want to 'pay for your kids' that's his right... But you'd need to decide if that is someone you want to be in a relationship with. How is he when he interacts with the DC? It's not 7 days, or 7 weeks in. It's been 7 years. It seems a bit tight to me to be honest. He's happy to see you struggle and actually pay more than he does, as long as HE think it's fair. Like youve said, you'd be better off financially without him, maybe you would be emotionally too. Just a thought.

Ellisandra Wed 01-Feb-17 08:18:23

I think you need to think about the quality of your relationship separate to the money, too.

But in money... I think it's totally fair that you pay for your children. It's not the only way of doing it, it wouldn't be my way (I have 2 late teen stepchildren to be - engaged though we don't live together currently - and often split bills in half, which means I'm subbing my fiancé as I only have one small child). So not the only way or my choice - but it's not wrong.

The issue for me would be contribution to the house.

Don't be a martyr or your own enemy - why are you choosing to pay for the decorative stuff alone? Though - whose name is on the tenancy? If yours alone, could be why he sees carpets as your choice and your cost. Just because you're 7 years in, doesn't mean you can't break it off tomorrow. If I wasn't feeling totally committed I would buy carpets for my boyfriend's house...

But back to the 50/50 split. I personally think that should be according to income or even adjusted to have same personal spends - though that's complicated if you make your children expense an outgoing rather than from your spends.

Anyway... on that according to income, just watch out for tax. If you have maintenance and CB in your £15K you'll be paying minimal tax. If he has £25K after CM, he'll be paying tax. So that's not exactly £10K difference, but less. Or are you giving net figures?

Firstly, work out if the relationship is worth the aggro. If not - bail.

If it is, agree a new split.

Frombathwithlove Wed 01-Feb-17 08:22:24

@MommaGee
My children are 13yrs and nearly 10yrs.
DP does make comment that he doesn't eat hardly anything in the house!
I naively thought that when a man enters a relationship with a woman/children package, he would go some way in supporting them? I think maybe I live in the dark ages! I am staunchly independent in general and would never expect to be a 'kept' woman, but it just seems really unfair that I have to be constantly juggling my finances to keep up - whilst DP is comfortably supporting himself and going out at the weekends with his DC. I know his ExW's partner financially supports her and my DP's children and I have pointed this out to DP, but he is resolute that what he is doing is fair.
Financial disputes just breed contempt, and I am getting fed up with DP not being able to see why I feel like this!

Ellisandra Wed 01-Feb-17 08:23:40

TBH, it might seem minor but the biggest red flag for me here was him not paying for coffee when you're out.

Carpets - could be your tenancy, or your choice and he's not bothered about new ones

50/50 bills - on one level that IS fair, why should he subsidise you? (especially if you have affordable HA rent and now only pay half of it?) And he has subsidised your kids to a certain extent if he's paying 50/50

Your kids - well, they're yours.

That the 50/50 on food isn't enough and you're topping up - does he know? As with the decorating, don't be your own enemy!

But the odd coffees... I couldn't see a partner positively who did not put his hand in his pocket for something like this, sometimes!!! All other things can be spun and argued and there are different opinions. But that shows his core personality - mean.

Frombathwithlove Wed 01-Feb-17 08:26:17

@Ellisandra
They are net figures I gave (give or take a few pounds)

Frombathwithlove Wed 01-Feb-17 08:29:09

The house is in joint names.
The flooring is a necessity not for aesthetics - it had to be removed a few years ago and has never been replaced, at the moment there is bare concrete in half the downstairs area!

Ellisandra Wed 01-Feb-17 08:32:33

I think you need to be honest about your own feelings.
You are a bit contradictory - you say twice you don't expect him to support you - but you clearly do.
That's not a bad thing, you'll have plenty of people say that's what a family does. Not everyone will - but it doesn't make you a gold digger!
So be clear with yourself what you think is reasonable.

Separate to him, you earn a low wage for someone balancing 3 jobs and doing close to full time - you're 4 days, effectively. At 13 and 10, you don't necessary need to provide the same level of school pick up. If you choose to, fine. But honestly in your position I'd be looking to maximise my income in one full time job with progression prospects.

Ellisandra Wed 01-Feb-17 08:36:10

So, as it's joint names - how does it happen that you pay all the flooring?
What happens when you say "right - we need to get that concrete covered, what's our budget and how long for you to save up half of that?"

I'm stuck on my point about the coffees out though. I'm OK with a split that means you pay for your children - not the only way, but a valid way. I could even see a logic to him paying only for his own coffee - though I personally couldn't be like that. But him letting you pay... mean with money, mean with love. He wouldn't be for me.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 01-Feb-17 08:38:11

I'm really conflicted on this.

Firstly, the context is everything though - is he a good partner, is he involved with your kids, does he support you in other ways? The way your finances are split makes you sound like flatmates - how is your relationship?

That said, it is absolutely his right not to want to support you financially or indeed to support someone else's children financially. I wouldn't do it. But then, I wouldn't move in with someone with children.

I think it's fair enough to split the utilities and rent 50/50. Household improvements - that actually depends if the tenancy is in both names. Food bills - maybe the amount of household money just needs to go up a bit? Not buying a coffee or cake when you're out - dumpable offence in my book, far more than the other things you've mentioned.

INeedNewShoes Wed 01-Feb-17 08:39:09

Does he ever pay for coffee/lunch when you're out? Does he ever treat you and the kids to anything?

If not, this sends quite a negative message.

Mittensonastring Wed 01-Feb-17 08:47:09

I'm a great believer in 50/50. There is a very long thread going on about finance in another section and I'm one of the few that doesn't mind the extent that 50/50 can go.

The only way your going to feel happy is if he does contribute more by the sound of it. So while you wouldn't be a kept woman by any means, my sister is one, her lover bought her a brand new car and take her clothes shopping with an unlimited credit card.

So you have to decide how much of a deal breaker it is for you and if you hate it that much if you want to split up over it. Because then everything would be 100% yours to pay.

OllyBJolly Wed 01-Feb-17 08:51:04

Yep - the coffee/cake thing would be a deal breaker for me. Rest of it fair enough.

When DH moved in, he contributed one third to the bills. Effectively, he was still contributing to my 2 DCs who probably each cost more to keep than he did. When they moved out eventually, we moved to a 50/50 split. I still fund most of the house repairs/improvements as the house will never be 100% his. Again, fair enough.

What the ex and partner spend on his DCs is totally irrelevant to your situation. You are getting a fair deal with the 50/50. As a PP said, you might want to look at increasing your own income.

PollyPerky Wed 01-Feb-17 09:11:04

disregarding the actual figures for a moment, it sounds as if your DP has ongoing resentment about 'paying for your children'. (Even though he doesn't really.)
It comes across as him wanting to pay for him , his own kids and nothing else.

Is he generally tight fisted with money? I mean, not buying you and your kids a coffee when out is really mean! He doesn't sound a very nice person tbh.

I think you need to sit down and have a frank talk about how you feel. He needs to pay more towards the food bills, and if you are living with concrete floors that's ridiculous! Why isn't he willing to cough up for flooring?

£40K net income if you are renting through a HA is not a low income.

I think you need to re-assess your views on a relationship - you seem to think he ought to support you financially- in fact you have said this in your post. Why? If you are doing 3 jobs and bringing in only £15K net, why not look at getting one job that pays better and then you aren't reliant on him? You sound confused, but in balance he sounds mean.

Frombathwithlove Wed 01-Feb-17 09:11:43

I think, from reading all these posts, that I need to change my views. I find it hard to grasp DP's attitude because finances were a big stalling point for me before he moved in. I had been well and truly left high and dry by my ex at the end of my previous marriage and it took me a long time to climb out of the debt that he had left me with. I discussed, at length, with my DP the fact that I would be worse off financially if he moved in with us, and his living with us would mean some degree of support. He basically said that he would be (happily) 'taking us on' as a family and would expect this to be financially as well as everything else.
I really am not a 'gold digger', if I was there are far more lucrative avenues I could take.
I can see from the majority of replies to my post, that I have unreasonable expectations and I will just have to change my expectations.

ofudginghell Wed 01-Feb-17 09:18:59

Up until two years ago we had one account where everything went In and came out of but we only had one wage so was easier.
Now we have a joint account and both pay the same amount each into it every month when we get paid.
This covers all household bills,petrol,food shops (we set a budget of £80 per week).
This also includes car payments bike payments insurances and tax etc.
Even down to the dog food is halved smile
Then whatever we each have left in our individual accounts is ours.
We have a holiday tonpaye for so each month we pay the same amount out of our personal towards the holiday.
We are currently decorating our hallway so he paid for paint paper tools etc and I paid for carpet. It came to roughly the same.
Anything needed for the dc we will cover out of our personal but share it equally unless we choose to buy stuff individually that's not really needed that's up to each individual.
Works for us.
And no subbing. Dh used to be so crap with money and I got sick of subbing and it draining my account which is why we do it how we do.
I have my own money to do what I wish with each month and so does he.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Wed 01-Feb-17 09:20:42

I wouldn't be happy with this arrangement. When I got together with DH, he had full custody of his two sons and I had no children. We moved in together within weeks (because I couldn't afford my rent after my ex had moved out of our flat) and completely merged our finances - we each earned around £12k at that point, plus DH received maintenance and child benefit for one of his sons (the other was 18 and unemployed, and contributed nothing to the household). We saw all money as a pooled income to use to maintain the whole family, and had a joint account where everything was paid into and bills came out of.

I had been in an abusive relationship prior to meeting DH where I was financially abused as well as mentally, physically and sexually, my ex earned much more money than me but refused to pay any of our living expenses (not even his own) and took loans and credit cards out in my name. I was still paying these back for 5 years after moving in with DH. I would be concerned that your DP doesn't see himself as part of a family.

BertieBotts Wed 01-Feb-17 09:25:41

In my mind, yes, if you move in with someone with children on a relationship basis (not as a lodger or something) you are effectively forming a family and adults in a family split responsibility for children. The reality is when you have children you're not able to work as freely as you can without them. So the balance of responsibility in a house should reflect that. When one person is doing more of the care they can't contribute as much financially but they are making up for that in doing more of the work of childcare.

If he didn't want to take responsibility for the children he shouldn't have moved in with you. It can't be an equal relationship when you're living so separately. I just can't understand what goes through people's heads. Weird.

Itscurtainsforyou Wed 01-Feb-17 09:27:34

Hmm - I think rent/bills/food should be 50:50 tbh (so you need to renegotiate the amount he contributes to that imo).

But I think he should treat you all to coffee/meals from time to time as he has more disposable income and that's what you do for family, isn't it?

Just a thought op - I know that sometimes child maintenance payments can be reduced if you're living with a partner and their children - is this the case here? If so I'd be looking to see how much he's "saved" with this arrangement and suggest he chips that amount into the pot.

littlemissangrypants Wed 01-Feb-17 09:28:53

Op would your partner pay for things if you got ill? Or would he let your kids go hungry?
I live with my partner of 5 years. I have worked in that time and he still paid the majority of bills as he is a high earner. He treated my kids as his own in terms of paying for them since day one. He always said we were a package and he wanted us to be a family.
I have a heart condition and mental health issues so no longer work. I am returning soon hopefully but again partner said to go part time to protect my health. He has never once let my kids go without even when I stopped earning. He has bought my kids pants and socks and has even taken them for haircuts.
DP considers us a family. He never resents when the kids (15 and 17) need things. He attends parents evening and generally does whatever he can to make family life go easily. He even refused to move in to our family home as he didn't want to invade the kids space. They decided when we moved out and he even got them to pick their rooms and approve houses before the move. The three of them have a very close and loving relationship.
I don't think I could be with someone who wouldn't even buy my sons a cup of hot chocolate. Do your kids know he never buys them anything? Also what happens to the food bill when your kids get older? Will he resent having to pay more when the teens eat you out of house and home? Teenagers cost a fortune and if he already feels like he is funding them he may get more resentful and angry as they become more expensive.

BertieBotts Wed 01-Feb-17 09:28:55

It's not about him moving in and you completely stopping work and being totally reliant on him. It's just about the fact that when you move in as a couple you're expected to take on joint responsibility for the children. The benefits system rests on that assumption. So does the calculation of child maintenance.

I also find it really mind boggling that an adult in a relationship could watch their partner work three jobs and struggle to make ends meet while they sit comfortably off and don't even contribute to a day out? confused It just doesn't come across as a serious relationship. It's like your living situation and the time you've been together is out of step with the way you're [plural] acting financially.

mrssapphirebright Wed 01-Feb-17 10:15:32

I think the issue here, form what you have said, in my opinion is that your dp sounds a bit tight.

I have a similar set up - married for 4 years to dh, have two dc (age 14 and 15) with exh. Dh has two dc with exw and pays maintenace. they do not have overnight contact with dh (long story), but he sees them every saturday. I don't get any maintenace from sxh as we have 50:50 contact arrangement. We go halves on stuff like trips, uniform, clubs etc.

Dh and I both work full time and earn about the same. We live in a mortgaged house, which is mine and in my name.

This is how we work it. Our individual salaries are paid into our own accounts. We have a joint account that the mortgage, household bills and food comes out of. We transfer in enough to cover this, plus a surplus off £300 for emergancies, holidays, treats etc. This equates to about £1600 a month - we pay £800 each into it.

Whatever is left in our own accounts is what we have to ourselves so to speak. In reality he has more individual outgoings than me (child maintenance, car finance etc), whereas i pay our more for my dc than he does (teenagers are expensive!!).

He doesn't moan that our food bill feeds my dc. I can see your dp's point about him not eating as much as you and your two dc combined, but IMO thats just petty. My dh sees it as household food shopping.

If we go out for dinner with my dc then i will pay. I always pay for my dc's activities, treats, pocket money, birthday presents etc out of my money. He pays for stuff for his dc out of is money. We are both happy with this.

However, when we do stuff just me and dh he will always pay, or we use our joint account.

He will happily treat my dc too, ice creams, coffee's, lunches etc when we go out.

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