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Trying to be fair

(23 Posts)
sunnyday365 Wed 27-May-15 08:47:10

I have 3 dsd. The 2 eldest are 19 and 17. MY DS is aged 17 and learning to drive.

DSD1 and 2 have passed their driving test. DSD1 lives with Mum more than DSD2 and told us that Mum was paying for half her driving lessons. DP doesn't believe this but paid half anyway, suspecting that DSD1 was paying for the other half herself and was protecting Mum. It took her 18 months and 6 tests to pass. DSD2 took 4 months and passed first time. She did it the way DP asked and DSD1 didn't. DP paid for all DSD2 lessons as Mum refused to pay anything for her.

We bought DSD1 a car, insured and taxed it for a year. DSD1 is in full time work and we don't ask her to contribute to our home. DP regularly takes her out for meals on her own and has organised and paid for several repairs on her car.

DP has up to this point refused to provide DSD2 with a car. He wants her to be on my insurance and I have done this but feel very uncomfortable with it as I have now lost the use of my car a lot of the time. There are legal issues that he wants me to swerve. Basically I am the main driver but he wants her to have unlimited use of my car. This makes the insurance invalid but he is pushing me to "stop being so correct and everyone does it". I have explained that DSD2 would lose her driving licence if caught being the main driver when it is claimed that I am.

Because DSD2 is planning on going to uni, he knows that she won't be able to afford to run her own car, so feels that he would have to run it for her for many years. He feels this is unfair on DSD1. He has told me that if we get DSD and my DS a car to share, that he has to give DSD1 a lump sum of money each year to "make up for it" and to keep it fair. I have told him that he is comparing apples to bananas and as DSD1 has made the choice not to go to uni and work full time, then she is capable of running a car herself and he doesn't have to give her hundreds/thousands of pounds (which we don't have!) to make up for it.

I feel that I have to be the bad guy and tell DSD2 she still has to walk or get public transport, which is a bit unfair when DSD1 has a car she can use as she wishes.

I am feeling emotionally blackmailed. If we get DSD2/DS a car between them, then he will spend money we don't have "buying" DSD1 to stop her feeling jealous.

What is fair here?

OddBoots Wed 27-May-15 08:57:00

Does DP have a car? If so get DSD2 insured on that one and leave them to is.

Unless DSD2 is doing something like midwifery (in which case she will get a bursary) she won't need a car at Uni anyway. Likewise DS.

Otherwise maybe give DSD2 and DS however much DSD1's car, insurance and maybe additional learning costs as a lump sum each and be done with it all - they can spend it as they need/choose to.

goshhhhhh Wed 27-May-15 08:58:31

To be honest I agree with you, he is comparing apples with pears.
Personally I wouldn't pay for anything more than driving lessons & possibly insurance (or help with insurance). And....if at work pay for self. Now if dsd1 wanted to study whilst working I might help with that....
Then my parents didn't pay for anything & pocket money stopped when I got my first Saturday job so maybe my perspective is different. (i am not moaning by the way but my values are different maybe to your dh.)

Hassled Wed 27-May-15 09:00:20

But you've already bought DSD1 a car - so why do you need to compensate her for the fact the younger DCs will have half a car each? It makes no sense.

butterflyballs Wed 27-May-15 11:06:36

Personally I think you've done enough. If they can't afford to buy and run a car they don't have one. Seriously, if they want a car that much they will find a way to work/study and pay for one themselves.

When will it end? When the two finish uni will they want money each year that the oldest got? Will you be expected to just subsidise their cars forever more?

I am kind of stunned at the amount of adults who basically bankrupt themselves helping out adult children who quite frankly should get up and do it themselves. Can't afford it then get a job and save like everyone else.

Petal02 Wed 27-May-15 12:29:46

If your DP wants DSD2 to have unlimited use of your car, and you feel you're without it a lot of the time, then he's more or less given her your car, hasn't he, with the proviso that you get to use it occasionally.

Which is totally and utterly unfair (and don't get me started on the insurance stuff, because that's whole different issue). Why should you give up your car, and the independence that goes with it, just so that he can keep her sweet?

PeruvianFoodLover Wed 27-May-15 13:41:59

It seems such a shame that your DH appears fixated on monitary support, rather than the (arguably more important) aspects of parenting that cannot have a value placed upon them.
From what you've said in your OP, it seems that your DSD's are in need of some emotional support more than financial - why would DSD1 need to lie about her mum in order to "protect" her? Protect her from whom?
The fact that you say that one of your DSD "did things dads way" and one of them didn't, also suggests some unhealthy emotional dynamics - does your DSD2 feel obliged to do things the way her dad suggests?

The financial obligations/expectations seem to be linked to far more complicated relationship issues between your DSD's and their dad - and I suspect that however the issue with the cars plays out, it won't resolve the underlying problems.

sunnyday365 Wed 27-May-15 14:56:54

I do understand that he wants to be fair and I do too. I think we both have different feelings about what is fair. I don't think throwing money at adult working children is the right thing to do when they A) Don't actually need it or B) We can't afford it. However, we have provided a lot for DSD1 and I feel it's not fair if we now suddenly announce that DSD2 and DS get nothing. There is a compromise in there somewhere.

Because 1 DSD lives with us and 1 DSD lives with Mum, the family dynamics are very different. There is a lot of jealousy between the sisters and I understand that DP wants to appease this. But in my opinion, it is DSD2 who has made lots of sacrifices because "it's OK, she lives with me" while DSD1 is seen as "disadvantaged" because she lives with her Mum.

DSD1 learnt to drive "Mum's way" and DSD2 learnt "Dad's way". Neither is right or wrong but ultimately if either parent feels they have no say how their money is spent on lessons, then perhaps it's not unreasonable for the parent not to pay. DSD Mum never paid a penny for DSD2 lessons. DSD1 has been known to lie to "protect" her Mum. I suspect she wants our immediate and external family to not look down on Mum for not helping her children financially or practically (long stories!).

Mum owns a car that she doesn't drive. She has chosen to give that car to her boyfriend whom she doesn't live with. Again, it's her choice. But I do feel a bit resentful that my DP is expecting me to provide DSD2 with a car when her Mum hasn't provided anything for her.

I absolutely think this isn't just about finances or cars. DP is really struggling to want to do the "right thing" and is frightened of upsetting his non resident adult child. I understand that but I think he is probably failing his partner and his resident child by expecting them to make all the compromises for him and his guilt (whether that be genuine or misplaced). I absolutely am angry at him for wanting DSD2 and I to commit fraud with my car. DSD2 could lose her driving licence if found to be insurance "fronting".

For background - DP ex left him for another man 9 years ago, so any guilt he feels isn't because he did the dirty.

I think a compromise might be to get a joint car for DSD2 and DS until they go to uni next year. Once they are in uni, it gets sold and if DP wants to let DSD2 have use of a car in the holidays, he can insure her on his car, and I can insure DS on my car if I want to. We then don't buy them a car when they start work as we will have already spent that money on them putting them through uni. Does that sound fair?

CandyLane Thu 28-May-15 10:24:28

I think you are doing too much for these young ADULTS.
If they can't afford a car, they don't have one, simple.
It's nice of you to want to help them out but I think this is going beyond helping, I feel strongly that throwing money at children is quite damaging, they're at an age where they need to start learning how to manage money and that if you want something, you have to work for it and save for it.
I wouldn't feel comfortable about a 17 year old (my own child or DSC) having unlimited access to my car.
That is YOUR car that YOU pay for, so if you both want it at the same time, who gets it? And if DSD does have a bump it'll be you paying the repair bill/excess and it's your insurance that'll shoot up next year.
I think when our children learn to drive we will help them out by giving them a lump sum to help them with the cost of lessons (probably as a larger than normal birthday/xmas present) and when they buy a car we will give them a bit of a boost, depending on what we can afford at the time, but it'll be just a helping hand rather than them relying on us.

sunnyday365 Thu 28-May-15 13:01:33

There are many issues here aren't there?

The first is whether you agree that buying cars for teens is necessity or not. I would have preferred to give them a lump sum and "help" them but not GIVE to them.

However, my DSC aren't my children, so obviously I have limited influence if my DP disagrees.

I have told him I am not prepared to have her on my insurance any more and won't be having my DS on my insurance either. He has agreed to get them a temporary car to share. But even then, he has told me this morning about a car he saw online which would suit DSD. No mention of my DS.

I also told him I have paid for £50 worth of petrol for her for the last 2 weeks for her to go out on jollies with all her mates in my car. No response.

Maybe when he is paying the petrol, he might realise just what he is giving away.

CandyLane Thu 28-May-15 13:22:41

Your DSD and DS sharing a car sounds like a great idea but I worry about how it would work in practice. Is it not opening up a big can of worms full of arguments? Eg what if they both want it on the same day? One wants to go away in it for a weekend? One uses fuel that the other put in etc, it's bound to happen.
I think if it's going to work there will need to be very clear rules outlined before it goes ahead.

rosepetalsoup Thu 28-May-15 13:53:46

I think just let your DS share your car and your DP, his ex, and his daughters can work something out between themselves? That's what I'd do. Each child has two parents who can provide for them.

FaithLoveandHope Fri 29-May-15 19:13:04

I'm a PhD student and only now can DP and I afford a car. We couldn't afford one throughout my undergraduate degree and to be perfectly honest, we didn't really need one. The only reason it would've come in handy is for picking up DSS but we managed on public transport. Assuming your DSCs don't have DCs of their own yet, I can't see why they'd need a car, particularly those going to uni. Sure it can be a great luxury but definitely not a necessity and you really can make do without it. Chances are there'll be a local supermarket close by to their residences and public transport around universities is normally pretty good. We're a long way off helping DSS with driving yet (he's only 5) but I suspect we'll try to help with lessons if possible but if not then he'll just have to fund it himself same as we did. I think your DP is going above and beyond for his adult children. As others have said, I think it could open a huge can of worms sharing a car. I second what others have said - insure your DS if you wish but leave DP to sort out DSD on his own insurance. Why's it got to be your car, why not his??

sunnyday365 Wed 03-Jun-15 09:01:19

Thanks for all the replies.

Unfortunately I don't think the car sharing is going to work either after having a chat with DP last night. He keeps referring to the shared car as "DSD2 car" and is telling me what sort of car it will be. No mention of my DS at all. I tried to talk about ground rules for having the car and feel I got nowhere.

He is also insisting that if we buy a car (£800) we must keep it for 5 years in case they need it when they come home from uni. We are expected to tax and insure it for that time. I also suggested we put some cap on the unlimited ferrying of friends around and that we monitor mileage or ask for a contribution for petrol (ie, expect them to get a part time job). He has told me that he expects to pay for whatever petrol they want.

DSD2 has done 80 miles in the last 2 weeks in my car just taking her mates for a drive (this doesn't include her going to the cinema, school etc). I am not prepared to fund this short term, let alone over 5 years. DP hasn't offered me a penny in petrol money.

I suggested that DSD2 be insured on his car in the holidays if that's what he really wants, but he dismissed my comment.

His car is more valuable and more powerful.

19lottie82 Thu 04-Jun-15 14:32:10

He is also insisting that if we buy a car (£800) we must keep it for 5 years

This is a bit optimistic surely, unless he is going to pay for a load of repairs, that will more than likely prove to be uneconomical for a car that age?

I'm afraid you just need to stand up for yourself and stop letting your DH tell you what to do.

Teenagers very rarely "need" a car, and to pay for one when they work full time live at home and don't pay digs is just ridiculous.

19lottie82 Thu 04-Jun-15 14:33:12

But yes, I agree. Let your DS use your car, if you want and let your DH organise the use of cars for your DSC.

19lottie82 Thu 04-Jun-15 14:35:55

Sorry for the third post (damn, I wish there was an edit feature!). Why can't DSD2 share her sisters car, rather than yours? A teenager has her own (exclusive car), her full time wage to herself, yet you need to pay bills but are expected to share your car?? I'd be telling your Dh to do one!

MeridianB Thu 04-Jun-15 14:51:45

Wow, sunny. There is a lot of dismissing and waving aside of your views by DP.

In these circumstances, with such crazy existing and future plans, I'd call my insurer, remove DSD from the policy and let her and DH know. Then leave them to work out a solution with his car. You are NOT being unreasonable!

OddBoots Thu 04-Jun-15 19:38:17

Do you each have your own money? If so I don't think you have much choise but to remove dsd from your car insurance and you do whatever you feel right for your ds and he can do whatever he feels right for his dd. At the moment he seems to be deciding and you seem to be paying.

sunnyday365 Mon 08-Jun-15 14:23:05

"Why can't DSD2 share her sisters car, rather than yours?"

Because her sister doesn't live with us, she lives with her Mum. In theory she could share her car when she is with her but DP wouldn't want that because "i bought DSD1 the car for her exclusive use" and to be fair, it would cost a lot to insure DSD2 just for EOW use. Of course, me buying my own car with my own money doesn't entitle me to the same right though does it?

DSD2 has driven 80 miles in 3 weeks just driving her mates around so far not including other journeys she has done. I have overheard something that I think means she is now planning on taking them camping in it next weekend!

I pointed out to DP that I didn't much like being a free taxi for all her friends, he said when DSD2 started to do that, he would have a re-think. Perhaps when he is paying the petrol, he might be forced to pull his head out of the sand!

MeridianB Mon 08-Jun-15 14:35:56

What would happen if you just put very small amounts of petrol in so she has to buy some? It's irritating but she cannot go far if it needs topping up - she'll have to buy some herself. Or would she just ask your DP for money?

In my day, we shared petrol costs between everyone in the car except the driver (who had bought and insured the car) which seemed fair.

sunnyday365 Mon 08-Jun-15 14:46:06

I had thought about doing that but feel it's a bit childish. She would ask me or DP for petrol money and undoubtedly leave nothing in it for me to get to work the next day, so it probably wouldn't acheive much apart from inconveniencing me and stressing me out on the way to work! (We live several miles from a petrol station). I don't really want to "punish" DSD2 but I do want to be treated fairly.

MeridianB Mon 08-Jun-15 15:02:38

Yes, it would be childish, you're right.

I keep coming back tomy original suggestion. She comes off the insurance and takes it up with her father.

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