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Did I marry a family?

(73 Posts)
KaPe Fri 21-Aug-09 15:58:01

Hi all,

I am new on here, I have contributed to other threads before, but not yet started my own. Can I get some SM input please (especially interested in SM/BM input) to help me find a solution for our dilemma.

Background: BF and I split nearly 3 years ago, after a very destructive 7-year relationship. SM was involved in our separation, though she was not the reason for the failure of our relationship. We initially had a surprisingly amicable separation: split of finances (majority went to him) and care for DD9 (50/50) was agreed without major discussion. There are no financial payments from either party to the other, equal share of all costs for DD?s upbringing was agreed. What sounds like an ideal case scenario for eternal happiness was the start of nearly three years of warfare, with two court cases and now a complete halt of any contact between DD and BF (his choice).

What went wrong? Well, many things (and certainly I am to blame for some of them), but to summarise it, the lack of boundaries, different views as to how involved who should get in what.

SM brought two kids into their marriage as well (DD7 and DD9), along with our DD9 they are now caring for three children. From an outside observer?s perspective I would say their expectations as to what a ?family? (no matter whether blended or not) should be like are unachievable ? kind of a cross between ?Brady Bunch? and ?The Waltons?. You are probably wondering why I make this my business?

Matter of fact is that I didn?t marry a family, but it certainly feels like it. Since their marriage, BF (despite the 50/50 we had agreed) has dumped more and more of the workload concerning DD on me (I work full-time). I now have to do all her dental and GP appointments and most of her school projects. Projects that span over several weeks (whilst being sent to their house) are returned as they were sent there, no work continued. According to the teachers, the standard of her homework at their house is way below the standard she manages at mine (got that in writing). After falling behind, she was given quite a bit of extra work over several school holidays (which are shared) ? I don?t think he managed even 10%.

When I brought the issue up, ex called me selfish because I have no idea what life is like with three kids, and that he didn?t have the time to do chores with DD, because he now has three children. I made it clear to him that him marrying a mother-of-2 was entirely his choice, and that I still expected him to do 50% of all things that concerned our DD.

Now, what bugs me most is that they have lovely family outings every single weekend she spends there, and then they return her to mine without anything done that required doing (note: it?s not ME saying she needs to do her school work, it?s school) ? he says that they want to enjoy quality time as a family. The following weekend (mine) I then spend time with her catching up on all the things they missed ? so no quality time for me. The same applies to my evenings when she is with them ? tracking school uniform items he lost, liaising with teachers re missed homework, buying school supplies, ordering books she requires ? no cosy nights for me then.

Financially, I take over more and more responsibility for DD. I don?t know their financial circumstances, but he seems to be either unable or unwilling to continue the contributions we had agreed (we are not talking maintenance, we are talking about his contribution to school fees, extracurricular activities, music lessons, mobile phone etc. ? all actual costs). All I do know that they have a very extravagant life style ? to me it seems that he is reducing his financial contributions to our daughter whilst maintaining hers.

Am I really selfish for saying that BF should only take on what he can actually manage as far as his SDs are concerned? Can I really be expected to take on more that I can afford (financially, emotionally and timewise) so that they can play Brady Bunch?

I am trying to find a way of reasoning with him, as I believe that at least some sort of contact will be re-established sooner rather than later, and I certainly don?t want to go back to how things were before.

piscesmoon Fri 21-Aug-09 17:32:06

Have you tried asking him, in a non confrontational way, if he is happy with the present arrangement not that he has a larger family? It could be that he would prefer less than 50/50 on his part, which would ease the situation. Could the school not approach him to discuss the quantity/quality of work when she is with him?

piscesmoon Fri 21-Aug-09 17:32:49

Sorry-now instead of not.

KaPe Fri 21-Aug-09 19:11:34

Piscesmoon, thanks for your response. Thing is, I am in the UK all alone ... no family, my circle of friends is rather limited to work colleagues (due to a 90-minute one way commute and long working hours) who all live on the other side of London.

I have looked after our daughter for the past three months on my own, and yes, it is possible ... but I - as a woman - have no quality of life whatsoever. Childcare, work, household!

I came to the UK for him, and that's the reason why I am staying here. If he is unwilling to take her back for a meaningful period of time per week (and I am talking two or three days), then I would be better off back home, where I have a large family to support me. The same applies to 50% of all the costs and tasks that are involved with raising her.

It is unacceptable that he increases the size of his family by taking on someone else's children and dumps his responsibilities for his own daughter with the other parent. Yes, he wants her 50% of the time ... along with full parental rights for his wife (long list of conditions). But when asked what he intends to do about his responsibilities I'm told they have no time, I am selfish, sad etc. etc. etc.

What do all the "normal" (as in not blended) families do when the size of their families increases ... they can't dump their responsibilities with someone else, can they?

piscesmoon Fri 21-Aug-09 19:36:42

It is a very difficult situation-I have a relative in a similar situation, where he is trapped in this country, in a life he doesn't want. I wish I had an answer-hopefully someone will come along with practical experience.

colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 19:40:18

Unfortunately, you're asking him to treat your daughter more favourably than the other children in the house that she stays in when she sees her father. If you aren't happy with the way the 50/50 split is working, it is up to you to change it.

She won't get as much time and attention when she is with her father and his partner because between them, they have 3 children. their time is divided. That's the way it is. Financial circumstances change and if he can't afford school fees, he can't afford them. Is he paying you maintenance? If so, give him 1 weekend a fortnight, take the maintenence and leave it at that.

KaPe Fri 21-Aug-09 19:41:29

Sorry, did not answer to the suggestion re school. School did get involved, but told him only very vaguely that we all have to sign from the same hymn sheet for her to succeed.

Shortly thereafter, we had a major issue at school, which required the involvement of the headmistress and the school counsellor. During a meeting the counsellor made him aware that (based on a conversation DD had with a teacher) his expectations (mainly on her involvement with her new family) were not entirely reasonable ... leading to a major hissyfit and then to him withdrawing completely.

Not even a trained counsellor could convince him that Brady Bunch is simply not reality.

KaPe Fri 21-Aug-09 19:59:07

I am not asking for favourable treatment, but rather for him to pull his weight. Fact is that GP appointments and dental check-ups and similar have to be attended. I assume a family of three where the parents are still together have to attend these as well if necessary ... or don't they take their kids to the dentist?

He clearly told me that he cannot do these things because his spare time (when he doesn't work) is "family time", which is spent with all of them together. A trip to the dentist is not considered family time.

No, I don't get maintenance, this is something we never considered necessary due to the 50/50 arrangement, and I am very hesitant to introduce this now. It seems to me more like he doesn't want to pay for the school fees (rather than not being able to) ... I understand that this must be a difficult situation for him, but this is something he should have considered before. The school was chosen by him, she has attended it for five years, and I am hesitant to take her out now ... currently it seems to be the only place offering her some stability.

Also, they do have terms and conditions, meaning I will have to give them a certain period of notice. There is also the fact that I cannot take her out without his consent ... and so far he has not stated he wants her out. He is merely delaying every single payment and not giving me a definitive statement whether or not he intends to continue payments at all.

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Fri 21-Aug-09 20:22:41

I think you are comparing your life as a parent with one child to a family where there are a number of children and the added dynamic of step siblings. You ust can't do this.

This is one of the reasons I chose to not accept any maintenance or essential contributions from my ex as soon as he had his own child as IME money is always an issue to fall out over, and you can never treat different children in exactly the same way.

I am not sure where I stand to be honest on school fees, I do want to say that if he has made a commitment to pay the fees then he should continue to do so.

mrsjammi Fri 21-Aug-09 20:29:03

Message withdrawn

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Fri 21-Aug-09 20:34:17

I was also going to say regarding homework, I would not put dd homework before a day out with the family. dd will be 8 in a few weeks. We may choose to do something that supports dd in her homework such as a trip but we probably meet your Brady Bunch description as we do something every weekend.

mrsjammi Fri 21-Aug-09 23:52:53

Message withdrawn

KaPe Sat 22-Aug-09 02:01:34

Guys (or rather girls), I do not expect ex to attend dental appointments or GP check-ups or similar WITH me, nor do make any of the appointments. Every second appointment reminder gets forwarded to him, and it is up to him to make the appointment and attend. Not every appointment, but every second one. Any costs for private appointments, btw, are covered by MY health insurance, so this is not a money matter.

As for finances ... I seem to have given you the impression that his SCs get less. This is incorrect, factually at the moment he contributes more to them (per child) than he contributes to DD. All of them have similar activities and lessons ... the only difference is that he contributes to theirs, but not to ours. The school HE enrolled them into might not be private, but is in one of the poshest areas in the country, hence he faces rental payments three times as much as before in order to enable them to attend. In addition to that, I am stuck with a coach bill for when DD lives with him! I have to point out that he was the one who moved!

As things stand, I am paying more for DD than he does ... so indirectly, I am paying for his SCs. Dynamics or not, how can I work full-time, do most of the footwork for DD AND pay for the pleasure of doing so? Just imagine it the other way round ... if BM (your DH's ex) had another baby by whoever, would you pay for that?

KaPe Sat 22-Aug-09 02:15:31

Mrs Jammi, are any of your children (step or birth) pick'n'mix? Would you give either DH or ex the option to choose which bits they want? Our DD either comes warts and all, or not at all.

SM cannot decide that she isn't interested in education (such as homework or projects or similar), but want an input in education and discuss with teachers (what exactly would she discuss?) and (most importantly to her) attend concerts and plays.

I did offer to ex for SM to attend any concerts when two are put on (twice a year we have an afternoon and an evening show). I did offer that the parent whose week of residence it is should have first choice of which show to attend. Ex's response was that the parent who doesn't have care that week should not be allowed to attend at all, unless the parent with care gives prior consent! NOBODY and NOTHING is going to keep me away from my child's school play!

To clarify, SM is unable to attend shows when I am there because she has told everybody (including DD) that she fears for her personal safety because I would beat her up. I have never spoken to SM in my life, never communicated with her at all, never made any threats against her. I saw her once at court, where SHE approach ME, and in full view of court security verbally abused me and blocked my way to escape. I left without engaging into a conversation, just walked out.

ChocHobNob Sat 22-Aug-09 10:52:51

KaPe , you said : Am I really selfish for saying that BF should only take on what he can actually manage as far as his SDs are concerned? Can I really be expected to take on more that I can afford (financially, emotionally and timewise) so that they can play Brady Bunch?

I don't think you're selfish for wanting the best for your daughter, but your ex has taken on another family and maybe he is doing what he thinks is the best for all of them. All that he can manage, it's just his actions are not up to your expectations. You cannot change the fact he has another family so all you can do is your best for your daughter.

If it got to the point where he could no longer manage the 50/50 care and the 50/50 financial responsibilities, you have 2 choices. Bite your tongue and get on with it ... or change it. If you can't decide it amicably between the two of you, mediation or court would be needed, but maybe custody needs adjusting to 75/25 for example and instead of him not living up to his financial responsibilities, he pays you maintenance.

I don't think there's any point in being annoyed and hoping he will change because he wont. He has another family to consider as well as your daughter so it's up to you to try and change things for the better for you and your daughter.

MaggieLeo Sat 22-Aug-09 11:01:41

I think it sounds a tricky situation.

I am a single mother and I sometimes feel exhausted by all the homework on top of everything else. The thought of doing 5 days worth of homework in 2 or 3 days would wreck me!!

You need more support and you're not getting it. If you returned to your own country would you have supportive parents and an extended family for your child to grow up amongst? What would your daughter think?

KaPe Sat 22-Aug-09 11:22:31

Yes, I would have support there ... but I am not convinced it is best for DD (and me, as a matter of fact). She is stable here, has got her friends, school and not to forget her Dad. Whilst there is no contact at the moment, moving away would mean no chance for things to improve between them. Also, I've got a good job here and a house and some friends I'd have to give up. This would really only be a last resort, meaning if there was no financial contributions and no contact in the future whatsoever.

I did yesterday contact a mediation service, and they are now going to invite him. Don't think it'll do much, we did it before and failed miserably, but maybe this time around it will work. I doubt he will accept though because even last time around, he wanted SM to attend, which I didn't accept.

Ultimately there would obviously be court, to get a school fees order, or alternatively the CSA. Can't see how that is going to improve relations though.

I guess I will have to give this some more thought.

ElenorRigby Sun 23-Aug-09 19:30:30

My initial thoughts...
*Your child's father has a responsibility to a biological child of his before the non biological children of a new W/P.
*I have a feeling his wife is setting the agenda and putting her kids first

Ive not read the thread btw just your opening post.

Btw2 FYI I am a SM to DSD6 and DD2

ElenorRigby Sun 23-Aug-09 19:33:13

and mother to DSD's lil sis DD2!

MayorNaze Sun 23-Aug-09 19:39:13

i think you need to go to court and get it all written and agreed in a nice long legal document.

i know it sounds drastic but then it is all legal and in black and white, there are no grey/muddy areas, i appreciate and understand you want to keep things as amicable as possible but it sounds as if it is beyond that.

and i speak as a stepmum in possession of a residency order for my dscs.

KaPe Sun 23-Aug-09 22:55:37

Well, I managed to get in touch with him by email and asked him outright whether he is going to continue his 15% contribution. His answer was that I should contact the school bursar at the beginning of the term to find out whether a payment was received.

This will be the third time I am taking him to court ... I won two times (if you can call this winning).

There are several prohibited steps orders in place against SM ... and ladies, I know you stick together, but SM happens to provide "adult services" ... proven fact!

ChocHobNob Mon 24-Aug-09 13:15:31

I might be being really thick, but I don't understand your last sentence KaPe, sorry.

prettyfly1 Mon 24-Aug-09 22:59:09

Hi Kape - I was about to say that actually I understand your feelings about your dd being shoved out - but something in your last post caught me - where has that come from? Are you concerned for your childs welfare?

mrsjammi Mon 24-Aug-09 23:28:37

Message withdrawn

mrsjammi Mon 24-Aug-09 23:29:33

Message withdrawn

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