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How do you get the ex and DC to understand when you can't afford something?

(41 Posts)
fedupandbothered Tue 31-Jan-17 18:58:08

(Name change)

Just that really. It's been an ongoing problem over the years and DH's relationship with his DD has suffered for many reasons but part of it is definitely the fact that we've never been able to afford the extras her mother could. He's always paid maintenance at the CSA level (we paid direct but regularly checked the calculator) plus extra for birthday parties, school trips, holiday spending money etc. We've often paid when we couldn't afford it and we and our children together went without as a result. DH has been made redundant twice in our time together (16 years) and had 2 extended periods of sick leave with no pay. He never reduced maintenance during those times - I essentially paid it and that was the right thing to do.

DSD is now an adult at uni and due to changes in circumstances we cannot give her money financially. We are living on 1 wage, I cannot work at the moment and our savings are 3 figures. We're literally living month to month on a very tight budget. We've explained this to DSD. She was angry at first but the last couple of months, she's started to be in more contact again.

We've managed to help her towards the deposit for next years's student accommodation and sent her groceries a couple of times via online shops.

His ex has just sent him a message (first one using this particular method of communication since 2009) telling him he should be giving her a monthly allowance because DSD is struggling to get a job in the university town.

He feels like shit because he can't help. We're barely making ends meet and just can't do it. Why can't they understand? We want to help but we can't. I don't think he's responded to the ex. I just feel so shit so I know DH feels 100x worse.

Mamamc123 Tue 31-Jan-17 20:15:06

To be fair DSD is an adult and will be getting student loans etc to help pay her way. There are always lots of jobs going about did students, shops, supermarkets, bar work etc so is she being picky?
With all due respect plenty of young adults pay their own way through university without any help from their parents, don't feel guilty - at this age anything you are able to or willing to give her is a bonus!

Mamamc123 Tue 31-Jan-17 20:16:38

Jobs for students* I meant

Also sounds like she's being spoiled. I'd tell her "we won't be able to pay our bills if we give you an allowance, you're an adult sort it out" and I'd give her a small amount to get get CV printed out at the local library 😂

RoundTheBend Tue 31-Jan-17 20:26:27

If he is paying child maintenance, is this not now going straight to the DSD?

Trying so hard to phrase this next bit properly...

My EXH and I split whilst our DD was in her first year of Uni. Trying to run two households was awful. Our DD was able to apply for a "hardship grant" where we both proved what our incomes and outgoings were. The Uni paid her a very nice sum which she did not have to repay. Think along the lines of £3K.

Our DD also had job after job after job. She babysat, waited at tables, sold soap in shops, you name it, she did it.

I think your DH has to be perfectly honest with his DD. Just tell her he cannot afford to support her over and above the maintenance sum. His DD is an ADULT. She has to learn that shit happens in the adult world.

She also won't be alone at Uni, there will be LOADS of other students in the same position she is.

AllTheLight Tue 31-Jan-17 20:29:56

I think the problem is that, unfortunately, a lot of men do try to get out of paying maintenance after a split. I'm not saying this is true in your case at all, but maybe DH's ex assumes he has more money than he really does and is choosing not to give DD any.

justdontevenfuckingstart Tue 31-Jan-17 20:36:59

I got a letter from the CSA a few days ago saying case closed, DD2 is at UNI.He and I are not obliged to support her anymore as with your situation. I wish I could give more and hate not being able to but she is an adult now. It has to stop somewhere.

F1GI Tue 31-Jan-17 20:42:22

I agree maybe she can apply for a hardship grant from the university.

fedupandbothered Tue 31-Jan-17 20:45:31

Thank you for your understanding replies. He paid maintenance until she was 18 then gave the money to her for 4 further months. She took a year out. She's now 19, nearly 20.

fedupandbothered Tue 31-Jan-17 20:48:59

I don't think she'll get a hardship grant as her mother earns too much and lives in a very exclusive housing development.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 31-Jan-17 20:50:57

Well her bloody mother can support her then! Surely?

RandomMess Tue 31-Jan-17 20:54:56

I think you just be very honest "we would love to help you but we are struggling to feed and house ourselves at the moment"

PoshPenny Tue 31-Jan-17 20:59:06

I think it's one of life's tough lessons that your DSD has to learn, money doesn't grow on trees and you haven't got any to spare at the moment because there's only one wage coming in due to illness. She needs to budget. Repeat ad infinitum to her mother if necessary every time she creates. If DSD hasn't got enough ££ then she needs to get a job, which is what my DD and thousands of others do, we can't afford to give her handouts unfortunately, I wish we could.

Aderyn2016 Tue 31-Jan-17 21:04:50

I feel for students because the amount they can borrow is linked to parental income. If her mother is on a good income, your dsd will only be able to borrow the minimum amount. It isn't always easy to get work as a student. It isn't like it was when we were kids.

Not to be harsh but her mum is probably resentful at having to pay more than your dh. From her pov, it isn't her fault that he had more kids/work issues and now cannot afford to properly finance his first child. It's all very well saying she is an adult etc but the state does expect parents to financially support student dc.
That said, all you can do is your best.

MaybeDoctor Tue 31-Jan-17 21:20:51

It sounds as if her mother is supporting her (and has been over the years if she has been able to provide the 'extras' you mention), but unfortunately her mother's contribution plus loan is still not enough to meet the costs of going to university. Loan amounts reduce if parental income is higher, but those parents don't necessarily have the cash spare for all sorts of reasons - eg. living in a more expensive area in order to get to that higher paying job! The relationship between loan, parental contribution and the actual cost of studying seems to be the elephant in the room with regards to university costs.

Absolute honesty is the way to go. Share your budget, it can only do her good.

OSETmum Tue 31-Jan-17 21:27:33

She's an adult. I didn't get an allowance from my parents when I was at uni and they are still together. I had to work in an all night bar and it sucked but it had to be done. If her student loan is based on her mother's income, then surely it's up to her mother to make up the shortfall. It's not her fault you have financial difficulties but equally, it's not your fault that she doesn't.

fedupandbothered Tue 31-Jan-17 21:33:34

Thank you again for being understanding.

Tbf Aderyn, her mum probably is resentful (and I do kind of understand that) but she left DH (3 years before I came along) and she also has another child so it would be unfair of her to expect him not to have more (or me have any). And no one knows what curve balls are around the corner. He's supported her as much as possible all the way to 18 and a little beyond.

I find it frustrating because she is the first in her family (on her both her mum and dad's side of the family) to go to uni so I think they have not prepared her for the fact that she'll need to support herself to a significant extent. But I went and I got a job and worked almost full time hours. My parents were only able to help me a little so I worked. As did all of my friends at uni.

Aderyn2016 Tue 31-Jan-17 21:58:04

I am sympathetic. The govt have really unfairly imposed this obligation on parents to support adult children. None of us saw this coming and it is hard. I am supporting ds at uni - he has just managed to find a job but even so, we need to top up and contribute to his bills and accomm9dation deposits etc.

All you can do is take exw out of the equation and talk directly to dsd and explain that you will help where you can but if the money isnt there then you cannot magic it up from nowhere.
I hope she understands that her own ability to generate 'extra' income is better than yours, as she has fewer commitments and probably a bit more time.

RandomMess Tue 31-Jan-17 22:06:33

I think the reality is that many parents can only offer their Uni attending DC a free room in the holidays and hopefully basic board as well! You can make her that offer too? Do you live somewhere that she should be able to get summer work?

NotLadyPrickshit Tue 31-Jan-17 22:15:21

OP I really do feel for you but at the end of the day she is an adult & she needs to learn how the real world works.

Ask her to write down her income & expenditure & then compare it to yours - I bet she has more spare than you do each month.

I know student accommodation is quite expensive up here (I'm in Scotland - it's around £100-150 per week depending on the uni) is there any way she can get a flat with other students rather than stay in student accommodation which should bring her costs down a bit.

Evergreen777 Tue 31-Jan-17 22:21:08

I'd encourage her to apply for a hardship grant, if only to get her talking to her DM about her finances and realising what she could afford. You could also offer to use your household income on the application - that may not be allowed, but would show willing and again help her to realise that her DM is in a position to help her out a bit financially and you and her dad are not currently.

Lunar1 Tue 31-Jan-17 22:41:14

There is an expectation that parents will contribute and this works out really unfair for those students whose parents could but won't help. The calculation will have been based on the resident parents income and won't have included her dads circumstance.

He needs to explain this to her and explain how tight the situation is right now. Is there any help he could offer that is more practical? Pickups/drop offs at the start and end of term etc?

The one thing I would do, it if things improve in the future financially for you, I'd put something aside for her. So her dad and you could contribute in some way to another significant milestone.

My family weren't in any position to help when I went to uni, but could help my younger brother when he went as things had improved by then.

When I got my first house after uni my step dad took me shopping for a fridge, freezer and microwave. It came to £250 and meant the world to me that he'd helped me long after any obligation had passed.

He'd felt bad that he could help my brother but not me and it really meant a lot that he helped me out later on.

fedupandbothered Wed 01-Feb-17 02:07:26

Allthelight I think she definitely thinks we have more money that we do. I have a feeling she thinks that we can't possibly be as poor as we say we are because she isn't (if that makes sense).

Aderyn I've told DH that I think he should ignore and not reply to his ex's message (although obv it's up to him) as I think that he should keep discussions purely with his DD. She's nearly 20 and so he has no need to have any kind of relationship with his ex.

Randommess We don't live close enough to be able to do that as we live in another country although we've always made it clear that she will always have a bed at our house no matter where she/we are. She has not stayed over at our house in over a year and probably only stayed approx twice a year in the 3/4 years prior to that (when we were in the same country and only an hour away). She stopped wanting to come to us when she was about 13/14 and it was more fun to go to the cinema with friends at the weekend rather than spend time with us (not going to the cinema because we couldn't afford it).

NotLady She definitely has more disposable than us - she managed to get to 2 concerts last week (although granted I don't know if she had to pay for her own tickets, please don't think I begrudge her her down time). She's organised a house share for September and we helped her with the last part of the deposit.

Evergreen Thank you. I'll get DH to suggest it (I doubt she'll do it but all we can do is suggest and offer the information).

Lunar We're not close enough to be able to help with pick ups etc as we are actually in a different country to her which is why we've done online shops etc. We'd definitely like to help more in the future once our own situation is better.

Thank you so much to everyone for replying. DH feels like he's being such a shit dad but he's really done his best within the parameters he's been allowed. Sadly it's always come down to money but I remain positive that one day she will understand.

swingofthings Wed 01-Feb-17 08:32:39

I think she definitely thinks we have more money that we do

She definitely has more disposable than us

Surely just as much she doesn't know the true picture of your finances, maybe you don't know hers either?

I think you have two choices, either justify your position financially in the hope that she can get the true picture and appreciate that you really are doing your best, or ignore her and let it be.

Feeling guilty quietly is not going to help anyone though.

Longdistance Wed 01-Feb-17 08:45:36

At 20 she can bloody well get herself a part time job. At least it would show on her CV that she has a work history too, when she comes out of uni, and much to a lot of family and friends over the years I've known, haven't been able to get jobs after uni, due to not having any work experience.

She might get a shock from actually having to work, and the reality of it.

SheldonCRules Thu 02-Feb-17 17:55:44

I can see why his ex and daughter might be cross. He had existing financial commitments but extended himself to more children and a non working spouse and now she comes last in the pecking order.

Paying minimum CSA does not make him father of the year.

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