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Spending/money - non resident v resident children

(54 Posts)
SpottyDottyOne Mon 06-Oct-14 12:02:29

Just wondering how others manage spending issues with resident and non resident children.

DSD is eow and one weeknight, so we pay her mum £360 pm via CSA. Far more than we spend on DS, but another issue.. Anyway, whilst she is here we'll have often bought DS new clothes/toys etc or we often pick up stuff when we're out and about. She always remarks pointedly whenever he has something new, and is v stroppy whenever she asks for spending money for days out with friends etc and we have to refuse - pointing out that she should be asking her mum for pocket money.

Just wondering how others manage apparent spending inequalities when you have a non resident child. It looks as though DS 'gets' a lot more, but DSDs share gets paid directly to her mum, so even though we do get her bits and pieces whilst she's here, her main stuff has to be provided by her mum. She doesn't seem to understand that all her expensive activities etc are actually contributed to by Dad's money too.

sanityseeker75 Mon 06-Oct-14 12:21:22

I don't really think about it tbh. We pay through CSA for DSD and DSS but they come to ours EW and send a lot of time at ours when it is not pre-arranged. If they are at ours and I go out and buy a treat then I will buy all of them. If it was something that one of them desperately needed such as a pair of shoes then I wouldn't buy the others just for the sake of it IYSWIM.

DS does get more off us in the way that he lives with us and we provide all his needs as his dad is flaky but then if DSD (her and DS go to same high school) wanted to go on a trip that DS did and I was aying for one I would ask her if she wanted to go and pay for her also.

I would never go and buy a treat for one and not the other if it was a toy or game or something but then I wouldn't hesitate if one comes with me to take out for cake and milkshake and not think that I needed to take cake home for others (my DS rarely comes to town with me).

All of ours wouldn't ask for money or treats though because they know if we have money we would treat them but if we don't we can't and live firmly by the rules of I want doesn't get.

That said the eldest SS only contacts us at birthdays and Christmas and only wants money off us and never bothers any other time (19yo) he on the other hand thinks that we only bother with the others (massive back story) and is now not speaking to us because we went on family hols in summer and didn't ask or pay for him to go hadn't seen him since day after boxing day when he turned up for his Christmas money).

wheresthelight Mon 06-Oct-14 13:47:59

you don't say how old she is so it's difficult to give too much advice.

if she is old enough to discuss it with her then perhaps explaining the situation is the best way forward. maybe ask her about things she gets/does at her mum's that ds is not involved in.

it is hard for kids to equate what happens in one house with another

robotroy Mon 06-Oct-14 14:34:52

I don't honestly think of the maintenance money as including pocket money tbh or for treats by us so if I feel like doing these I do it, though I confess we're not regular about this, I mean to but forget. I see this is difficult if you have other kids, so I personally would just give the same.

Although this should pay for clothes we're not against buying clothes, tbh I am so fed up with her walking round with huge holes and clothing moths and things which are so dirty and worn looking it looks like she's slept rough I have suggested that she have a small weekend wardrobe here 'to save her carrying clothes to school', which it will to be fair.

I agree it depends on the age, I mentioned to SD that her dad pays money to mum for her keep, not to take anything at all away from her mum, but just for her to understand that of course dad does this. She is a very curious and smart 9 year old so I explained that it's the law to do this but of course it's also what he wants to do because he's her dad.

I don't know how it is for you but I know that my step daughter has heard a lot about how daddy 'just left her', and sure enough when I explained she was hugely surprised. She has a lot of 2 family friends and so I wanted to bung a bit of positive press in for the dads! I'm sure it is confusing to the kids and a simple age appropriate explanation without any bias other then this is what's right and so actually it's also what's legal, I think makes it all make a bit more sense.

In fact imagine how you would feel if you didn't know dad gives mum money, you would unnecessarily feel quite sad thinking the other kids get things from dad but not you! Keep it light though it can't seem like a criticism of mum, you don't want to undermine efforts she and any stepdad are putting in. No matter what you do end up paying out for stepkids, it's just nature if you see them in need or you're going on a fun day out you can't say, 'not you!'

purpleroses Mon 06-Oct-14 16:06:42

It's an issue for us too - DSC's mum is paid a large amount for each of them - more than enough to cover their food, clothes, share of bills and pocket money. But their mum gives them very little pocket money so we end up topping up the eldest quite a bit (as she's old enough to be out and about with her friends a lot - the younger ones would be more likely being taken out by us, so we'd pay direct)

It's frustrating as it does seem unfair for DH to be paying twice over, but I'm also conscious that DSD (the eldest) has felt on ocassions that she's been a bit of a pawn between her parents efforts to make the other give her financial support. So sometimes I think you have to sacrifice your principles (and your money) when their mum is depriving them of things she should pay for in order to extract more money from their dad. It makes me cross that DH's ex does this but it's just not fair on DSC to keep refusing to pay. Eg - we end up topping up pocket money, buying clothes, paying for DSD to buy her own food when she's off with friends, etc - even though their mum should be doing this.

If your DSD is old enough to understand about money, who earns it, what it pays for, etc then I don't see why your DP shouldn't explain to her that as she lives wtih her mum mainly he gives her mum £360 a month that is to contribute towards her food, bills, etc - make it clears this is not "DSD's money" for her to choose what it goes on - but money for her mum to pay for things, including things she might not think of like gas bills. But that DSD should therefore expect her mum to pay for hobbies, clothes, etc. As robo says - why would you not want her to know that her dad supports her financially?

On a practial note - I try to find times to go out and buy my own DCs things when the DSC are not around when possible.

Also - if your DSD wants spending money for days out with friends whilst she's with you, then you probably should be giving her a bit of money. That's a very grey area that her mum might well consider not her responsiblity.

Are your DS's toys things that only he would play with? Could you buy toys that are for sharing a bit more often? Obviously DS would play with them more because he's there more, but they could be notionally for both DS and DSD.

thebluehen Mon 06-Oct-14 16:30:05

We pay maintenance and we pay for ALL luxuries for the dsc as well as a lot of necessities. It's incredibly frustrating to pay over the maintenance and then pay out hundreds more every month.

If we choose not to pay for something, mum tells the kids we are mean!

But all is ok now because dsd2 came to live with us full time, so you would think the tables have turned for one child, at least? Nope. Her mum doesn't do or pay for anything for her. Apart from offering to buy her some school uniform for Xmas, that is! hmm

syllabub1 Mon 06-Oct-14 16:42:40

We have similar issues. We have DSC EOW and pay a substantial amount every month to their Mum.
DSD seems to be on a constant mission to get as much money as possible spent on her every time she is here, although she doesn't come right out and say it it is clear that she is jealous that (in her eyes) Dad spends more on his resident children than he does on her. Every time she comes she wants to do expensive activities, we can't go in to a shop without 'can I have, can I have?' yes I know it's normal for kids to ask for things but it's pretty extreme asking...even if we went in to a DIY store she would find something she apparently wants. I suspect she doesn't really want many of the things she asks for, it's more about Dad spending some money on her.

There's been times I've felt like mentioning to her about the maintenance we pay her Mum - that her Mum and step Dad's household income is probably about twice the amount of our household income and that's why Mum can afford to spoil her but unfortunately we can't afford to do that and that's why we don't waste money on things we don't need - but I don't think kids need to know about all that stuff, not yet anyway (she's 9).

But in answer to your question, how we handle it is - they all get the same amount spent on them at birthdays and Christmas. Most of what they need is given to them then, I never buy any toys for any of the kids other than at birthdays and Christmas's.
Other stuff is bought when it is NEEDED. Even with my own two, if I buy DD something, I don't feel obliged to buy DS something because there will another time when DS gets something and DD doesn't.

When we go for a day out they all get given money before we go so they can decide what they spend their money on which 1) prevents the amount they ask for stuff and 2) then there can't be any accusations that one child has had more than the other.

Don't feel bad about buying things for your DC but not buying things for DSC.

Have you spoke to her Mum about spending money? It could be that she's just trying it on eg getting pocket money off mum and then trying to get it off Dad too.

Asteria Mon 06-Oct-14 16:45:56

This has been a massive bone of contention in our house recently. DH gets very twitchy about all of our DC having equal presents etc, but where his DC have two sets of parents my DS only has us. DH pays for maintenance plus ALL clothing/footwear whilst DSC are here. Their mother has a very small family and as such there are not many presents from her side (as DH sees it) although the DSC have a stepfather, so his family give presents AND they have massive birthday parties with their mother and smaller ones when they are here, so effectively they are getting a LOT more than DS. Let's not forget that Father Christmas visits both houses too. Then there are the presents we get them and the presents that my family give them.
DS doesn't get any maintenance from his father and only has this home for the big birthday and Christmas stuff. He does have very generous godparents, but I got very upset this year when DH dug his heels in about DS's birthday and eventually he didn't have a party. Even little things like my wanting to decorate DS's bedroom have met resistance - we completely renovated DSS's room and DSD had everything painted and new curtains - so far DS has been allowed to cover the walls with posters and that is it. I suggested stopping to get ONE £12 roll of Marvel comic wallpaper and DH freaked out about wasting money.
I do feel like I am having to compromise my level of parenting to make DH feel less guilty about not seeing his children on a daily basis.
When they are all here we treat them totally equally regarding treats and stuff like that.

Sorry - bit of a hijack but I am just realising as I type quite how upset I am about this and whenever I try to raise it with DH he dismisses my points or just gets really cross with me.

purpleroses Mon 06-Oct-14 17:16:15

but I don't think kids need to know about all that stuff, not yet anyway - but syllabub - your first paragraph illustrates exactly why a child needs to know about that sort of thing! Because your DSD incorrectly thinks that her dad doesn't spend as much on her as he does on his other children. How sad for her. He is supporting her by paying money towards her upkeep at her mum's but she doesn't realise this, so thinks she's missing out and isn't as important to him as his other children. sad

Money does matter to children - and supporting your children financially is an importnat part of being a parent. Dads in together households who go out to work all day tell even very young children that they do this in order to provide money for the household. They don't grow up believing that daddy just leaves the house all day because he doesn't care for them as much as their mum does. I can't fathom why you wouldn't want a child to know their dad pays their mum money towards the costs she then has in supporting them confused. In most cases the reason they're living with their mum most of the time is probably precisely because their dad was the breadwinner prior to the split. All that's happened on splitting is that the transfering of money from the (main) breadwinner to the other parent has become more formalised. But they still need to know that this happens.

But what you then do when their mum doesn't pay for the things you think she should pay for is a much harder question to answer. And one you probably should leave the child out of as far as possible, certainly if they're young.

Whatever21 Mon 06-Oct-14 20:46:18

My Ex pays £240 pcm for 2 DCS. He earns in excess of £80K per annum.

DCs know that Daddy gives me money to help bring them up - that it covers the sum total of fuck all, for what it costs to bring them up, remains my secret.

When he has them, rare, he takes out what he spends on them from next months maintenance - but do not worry, he told them to ask me for spending money when he took them on holiday for the first time in 3 years. It works both ways. He also told me DC1 needed bigger trainers - yes fourth pair so far this year - his feet are enormous and growing fast - be bought £ 40 trainers and deducted it from the maintenance - yeah!! Bought DC1 a bike for his birthday from both of us, so took half the maintenance to cover it. Not sure what he thinks, I feed, clothe, pay for the swimming lessons he insists on etc etc

SpottyDottyOne Tue 07-Oct-14 07:49:22

Whatever21 - Am assuming your ex is self-employed for him to pay so little for two children? My DH is on 10k less than your exH, and £360 is just for one child.

Everyone replying saying they just pay x,y, z out on top of maintenance - how do you afford to do that? I mean I'd love to be able to buy DSD things she needs on top of the maintenance, but in reality it's only small things here and there. All meals, trips out, holidays etc she's a part of. But we can't really do much more than that - funds wouldn't allow it.

There is a big age gap between her and DS (12 years - DSD, and 15 months -DS), so their needs are v different. DS is still in the stage of outgrowing all his clothes every three months, and needing new age-appropriate toys/books. Plus I'm home with him rather than him being at nursery, so we're always off to a zoo, farm, soft play etc during the week.

ItsFunnierInEnochian Tue 07-Oct-14 07:56:04

whatever shock thats disgusting! My ex earns 25k and pays 250 for our 2DDs.

As for DSS we pay no maintenance. Years ago custody was 50/50 split and DHs ex was told by CSA that he didn't have to pay a penny and as she was claiming his tax credits and child benefit she should actually be giving him half of both. Then DSS moved in with DH full time and she barely saw him, and refused to pay maintenance. Its recently (last year) gone back to a 60/40 split (60 at his Mums) as he missed his brothers. We've paid half of his secondary school uniform as we were so shocked at how much it costs. They all get same amount for Christmas and birthdays and if we go on a day out we book it so we can take all 3 kids and they all get same amount of treats etc.

ItsFunnierInEnochian Tue 07-Oct-14 07:58:04

Also my ex refuses to pay anything extra for uniforms etc as he already pays. Lives with his parents and has next to no outgoings. hmm I gave up asking years ago.

purpleroses Tue 07-Oct-14 09:15:58

But if your DS is only 15 months, then his needs aren't expensive surely? Can't you just say to DSD that you can't afford X, Y, Z (as well as telling her that her dad already gives her mum money for basics). I can't ever remember spending more than a few £ on fun things for 15 month olds - clothes are clearly necesities at that age - though you can get really nice second hand stuff for littlies. As for trips out in the week, how does DSD even know what you do with him in the week? I mean he's too young to tell her surely? You don't need to lie to her, but there's no reason to rub her nose in things you've been up to that cost money if she's feeling hard done by. And if you're at home in the week with DS, then take him out clothes/toy shopping in the week, not at the weekend with DSD. She's not really going to know how much the clothes you've bought are costing him is she?

sanityseeker75 Tue 07-Oct-14 12:08:14

I would second what purple said. At 15 months treats and toys do not need to be done when DSD is there, especially as she is only there EOW and one night in the week.

whilst she is here we'll have often bought DS new clothes/toys etc or we often pick up stuff when we're out and about this does seem a little bit like rubbing her nose in it and as you say often it doesn't seem like this is just happening every now and then.

I get that you want to spend money and do things with LO and money is and can be an issue but by the sounds of it your DH is paying about 43% of gross income which seems very high especially as average is about 20% and some I believe get protected if you have a child living with you - have you thought about asking for the case to be reviewed and then maybe giving some of the difference to an account for DSD so that she can have some of her own spending money without having to ask for it?

catsmother Tue 07-Oct-14 14:54:04

Sorry for hijacking a bit too but wanted to respond to Asteria ...

.... I think you're always going to be on a bit of a hiding to nothing trying to "equalise" things between two households once you take extended family into account. My stepkids for example have a much larger family on their mother's side and therefore get swamped with stuff at Xmas (which they waste no time in boasting to my kids about hmm) but thankfully my kids have never really risen to the bait.

What I do find unforgivable though is how resistant your DH is towards spending on your son. How, just how can he justify making the stepkids' rooms lovely but veto spending £12 on one bloody roll of paper ? There's absolutely no justification for that - it's mean, and it's nasty as well as showing quite outrageous favouritism. Your son must presumably realise there's a big difference in how he and the stepkids are treated, and if he's too young to see that yet he will sooner or later. Ditto the lack of birthday party - poor boy.

I can't think of any justification for such a mean minded attitude - especially when all the kids are treated the same when they're together (which they should be of course) but your home is also your son's only home and you are quite entitled to provide a basic level of "treats" (??) for him such as a nice room and a party if it can be afforded. Well, quite obviously, decoration for some children can be afforded so really he hasn't a leg to stand on. In view of this he has no damn right to dismiss you or get angry with you - at the very least he owes you the courtesy of responding to your points and "justifying" his attitude - though god knows what that would be. I expect he knows there's no justification and that's why he gets defensive - but it sounds like a horrid situation for you and your son. Reading between the lines, does he resent the fact that you get no maintenance for DS and he's therefore unwilling to pay for "another man's child" ?

Asteria you may like to start another thread of your own perhaps but really, this situation is appalling. Sorry to have to ask but do you really see a long term future when your son is sidelined and treated like a 2nd class citizen ?

(apologies for hijack again).

Asteria Tue 07-Oct-14 16:40:41

Mini hijack - just had a blazing row (this has been brewing for a while) with DH. He finally saw my pov and admitted that his massive guilt about not seeing his DC as often as he wanted had made him behave like a dick. I made it clear that I was not going to tolerate DS having restricted treats etc to assuage his guilt. He forgets that DS moved to the other end of the country so that he could be closer to his DC.
Should be ok now. I did break a lovely glass bowl in spectacular fashion to drive my point home blush
Sorry OP - over to you!

Whatever21 Tue 07-Oct-14 22:50:04

Asteria - do not agree with the pettiness of decorating, tryly pathetic.

but do I get this right - your DS is not your partners - but you expect him to spend the same on your DS as his DCS - and the ds own father does not contribute.

I may have read that wrong.

FlossyMoo Wed 08-Oct-14 09:53:23

£360 pm via CSA

I am assuming this is to pay for food for the month, electric, rent, gas, water, travel, clothes. Which is the responsibility of both parents.
Just as all those things for your DS are the responsibility of his parents yet you spend extra money on him for treats and deny your DSD. How do you think that looks to DSD?

Having a blended family can be a financial strain on all concerned. It is difficult to find a balance where nobody goes without and nobody is over indulged.

If you can't afford to treat both children then don't purchase things for DS in her presence it is quite a cruel thing to do. I have 4 DC's and it would be like me being out with all of them but only buying one of them something.

Petal02 Wed 08-Oct-14 10:29:31

Asteria - I think your comment about guilt hits the nail on the head “my DH finally saw my point of view and admitted that his massive guilt about not seeing his children as often made him behave like a dick”

We’ve heard countless tales here about guilt-ridden non-resident fathers whose guilt completely overrides common sense. Leading to all the usual Disney parenting and ridiculous levels of spending and overcompensating. Not sure what the answer is though!

Asteria Wed 08-Oct-14 11:09:31

It is really tough. I did point out to DH (after clearing up the broken glass and starting smoking again!) that DS is with is 100% of the time and DSC are with us 40% of the time, so it is difficult to get any balance right. He did see that if we had the DSC all the time then we would do the same for all of them. He also saw that we have no control over the level of parenting in their other home - if their mother chose to spend the cm money on her hair then that wasn't my DS's fault. There is a lot more going on here though as DH's exW is emotionally abusing DSC. I think his guilt is weighing very heavily as he knows that SS and the family courts are about as useful as a chocolate teapot in these situations.

Whatever21 Wed 08-Oct-14 22:34:31

asteria - is ds your partners child.

You say ds father pays no maintenance.

this is a huge factor

Asteria Thu 09-Oct-14 00:33:33

DH is not DS's biological father. We have only been together for 2.5 years.

Whatever21 Sat 11-Oct-14 19:17:50

Asteria - you want your DP to spend the same on your DS, which is not biologically his, as he does on his own DCs.

This makes up for the fact that the actuall father is a waste of space.Whilst putting the pettiness of rolls of wallpaper aside - why should he provide everything for your DS. I think to be fair he is actually doing quite well and insisting on parity between all the kids on presents is sensible.

The fact that your DS father does not front up for his son - does not make your DP responsible for everything for your DS. He does not have any reason to feel guilty - he is not responsible for paying for everything for your DS - you and the kids father are. It si not his responsibility to equlaise parties and presents because his DCs have a mum and other house and your does not.

Smashing bowls because your DS does not get as much as his DCs, is unfair

JustShakeitoff Sat 11-Oct-14 20:16:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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