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Why children come first in a blended family

Jcksjj's picture

Thoughts on this article? My first thought was what an idiotic comparison...

--figureditout--'s picture

I actually left a church due to a similar line of thinking/rationalizing.  My SD lived with us full time.  She had serious mental issues and was hospitalized because we could not keep her from harming herself.  The associate pastor informed us that she was THE most important person in our home.  DH and I had 2 other children in the home.

shamds's picture

In demanding her new husband of just a year has and should leave some of his estate to her should  he die and especially since she doesn’t have kids with him but shr shouldn’t be left dry. If she did have kids with him who were minors then definitely some money should  be kept aside to help her with their minor kids

i don’t agree kids always come first as expense of your spouse

Letti.R's picture

Children and priorities have a place that gets juggled.
Being children of  a divorce doesn't give kids an automatic first place on the podium in all circumstances.
If one is stupid enough to marry someone with this kind of thinking, it is your fault, though I can not imagine what made the doormat life attractive in the first place.

Until I got to Steptalk, I had no idea what step parents struggle with.
I honestly believe you should be very wary of people's advice who have no knowledge of what having skids is like because they just do not understand.


ldvilen's picture

That's what I don't get!  If society thinks we are supposed to marry someone and be okie-dokie being at the bottom of the list every time for someone else's children. . . BOY! They sure must think we are all desperate dumb-butts!  Like we are so-so dumb-dumb that all they have to do is tell us to suck it up and take it, and we will for years and years.  Nope.  Not happening. 

Like I always say, there can be very little expectation that the bio-parents suck it up and take it and stay together for their own kids, BUT step-parents are expected to suck it up and take it every time for someone else's children?!  Again, what a crazy-backward world for us steppies.

TwoOfUs's picture


I also think it's very common for stepparents to get into these situations not realizing at all that they'll be put last every single time in the most ridiculous of circumstances...because their spouse pursues and courts them in the dating and pre-marriage phase. 

Then, once married...and they start to see their genuine needs put on the back burner for skid whims and luxuries...and they bring it up...all of society responds with: "Well. You knew he had kids when you married him!!!" 

Yeah. It's crazy and mixed up...and articles like this don't help the situation. I notice that this writer's "friend" didn't go off because of one dinner that got thrown over for a school play. The letter writer herself quotes this friend as saying that her husband always put the kids stuff ahead of her and that she felt like she never got alone time with him. Expecting our spouses to prioritize us sometimes and make time for us doesn't mean we're evil, trying to kick the kids out...or that we lack flexibility. It just means we're human. 

It's weird to me because in any other situation, the wife would get support from all sides...and therapists and marriage counselors would remind the husband that a marriage needs time and attention in order to thrive. No one would tell a wife who feels like her husband spends all his time at work: "Well. You knew he had work when you married him!!!" 

Nope. They'd work with the husband and wife to find compromises that work for both of them. It seems like only in the step-situation does "compromise" always mean "the stepmom gives grace, understanding, and flexibility to her husband without ever expecting any in return." 



Justanotherrefusingtobeavictim's picture

all of society responds with: "Well. You knew he had kids when you married him!!!" YES!!! I totally got this thrown in my face twice by DH sisters. Gets me so mad

ldvilen's picture

Further nonsense.  Like, we were supposed to know that our marriage would be thought of as sloppy seconds by pretty much everyone under the sun, and that our lives would further suck, suck just because DH had kids!?  I don't think so.  I've never read a romance novel yet where any step-mom had to deal with that.  Every romance novel I ever read re: SMs had to do with a few minor challenges, but certainly by the middle of the book, it is looking like dad and SM and kids are all on their way to being happy every after.  You know, just like for intact families.  Marriage is supposed to equal happy every after.  Now, most of us know that is not quite true for any marriage.  

But. . . in an intact marriage you can get married, have kids, and when those kids act up, get empathy, hundreds of websites to go to for support, etc.  Very few will retort back with, "What did you expect when you had kids!?  You knew it wasn't going to be easy!  Cackle.  Cackle."  On the other hand, what do SPs get when their SKs act up, Oh!, they are told, "You knew he hd kids when you married him," and suck it up and take it already will ya.  More of the never ending responsibility without authority.

But, if that's the case, and we are supposed to marry our men with children expecting a total last-on-the-list hell, then let's get the word out there ASAP, so these men (and women) can remain single the rest of their entire lives.  Because I can assure you, no woman would marry a man with kids expecting to be last in his life every time.  Last time I checked it was 2020 and not 1820.  Women are to believe in ther full value and seek out a marriage partner rather than feel lucky just to get a man, any man, and be around for cooking and cleaning and bedroom services.

sandye21's picture

"What did you expect when you had kids!?  You knew it wasn't going to be easy!  Cackle.  Cackle." 

sandye21's picture

"What did you expect when you had kids!?  You knew it wasn't going to be easy!  Cackle.  Cackle." 

tog redux's picture

Well, it is food for thought.  She is right that you shouldn't expect to inherit everything after a year of marriage, that makes sense to me.  But what about after 10 or 20 years of marriage? What if you are in the child's life since he/she was 3 and the parent doesn't have 30 years of history with the child to the one year with you?  What if the child is a horrible human being and you have stood by the spouse for 30 years?  What if the child stands to inherit scads of money from the other parent?  What if the stepmother is the reason the kids are estranged from the father (yes, it happens - not all stepmothers are good)?

I don't think there is an easy, quick answer. Frankly, I'd be upset too if my mother remarried now at 85 and left everything to her new husband. That doesn't seem right to me.

still learning's picture

What if the stepmother is the reason the kids are estranged from the father (yes, it happens - not all stepmothers are good)?

I can't imagine a stepmother being 100% at fault for children being estranged from their father. I know it's debatable but I believe men have brains and free will too right? If a father is estranged because of a relationship with a woman then he wasn't much of a father to begin with.  He's either one of those men who turned the responsibility of his relationship over to her and she said "Nah," or he could also be using her as an excuse to not have anything to do with his kids then blaming her for it. This happens all the time! Lots of men who walk away then blame someone else.  Not all men want to be fathers when the relationship with the childs mother is over.  Some want a "fresh start."

Swim_Mom's picture

I think when I first got divorced I would have agreed.  But as I went through the process of sharing my life with DH, I had a somewhat different outlook. We spent a lot of time doing our wills/trusts and putting a lot of thought into how we divide our estates, calculated equity split in our home etc. We settled very easily on 40/60 split - we leave each other 40% and remaining 60% is split among our respective children - his get 15% each of his estate and mine get 20% each of my estate.  The 40% we inherit from each other is to live well and then reverts back to kids (For example if he predeceases me, what's left of his 40% gets divided among my children, in addition to their initial 60%). We keep our assets totally separate. I do not want my hard work ever accruing to his kids.  

shamds's picture

Hubby was almost bled dry by the ex wife. She knicked off with nearly a million dollars from hubby illegally accessing his personal savings account he set aside for retirement. Hubby paid all the bills and exwife got a comfortable monthly allowance for personal spending and their joint credit card which she maxed out regularly. She no doubt spent that stolen money on her shopping sprees and not her kids but played the “oh poor me woman in court, judge oblivious to the fact she illegally hacked into hubbys private bank account”.

hubby only rose up the corporate ranks after divorcing her and most of his investments now (80-90%) were from after the divorce and when 2 sd’s ceased contact with him for 5.5 years because of pas and blamed him and not their mum (thanks to the brainwashing and conditioning). 

I have been married for 4.5 yrs and have 2 kids with hubby, i take care of him and our home (yes he bought the land and built it before marrying me) but this is the home he built after divorcing his ex. 

My husband doesn’t entertain the notion of leaving me dry and the skids looking to remove me or our 2 kids from any of his estate and inheritance as I have gone through hell with these 3 skids, hubby is disappointed in them all so he knows i’ve dealt with alot. 

Exwife on the other hand has her claws on all 3 skids and controls them, hubby didn’t work his arse off to have money revert back to exwife... also even though he was married for almost 15 yrs to exwife, she never supported him as sole income earner. She was supposedly a sahm and housewife who did no housework, no child rearing, nothing!! She went on daily shopping sprees with her girlfriends and boyfriends etc and was so hostile at home. Hubby owes her nothing and these skids for hubby are not automatically entitled to everything or a majority of things when they themselves have been a never ending source of problem and disrespect 

in the 4.5 yrs he has been married to me i have done way more than the ex-wife. He has moved money around as 2 skids are adults, he has sd14 and our 2 who are toddlers... he knows our 2 require way more financial assistance should something happen to him in the next decade as our 2 kids are too young to get a job...m

my husband told me he wants to gift each of the 3 kids from ex a lump sum amount each to use as savings (i doubt they are capable of savings) and its a large amount, enough to buy a house or put a big down payment for one. They have the money bio mum stole from hubby that they are entitled to. If she has wasted that then this is their problem... 

its not always a clear black and white what happens but i agree in the article this womans ego has been offended in the 1 yr of marriage (basically still in honeymoon stage). But i totally expect  a loving and supporting wife of the husband of say 2-3 decades does and  should get something

this article doesn’t address if the 1st wife was hostile and not supportive of her then husband (even though she gets nothing), it shouldn’t be seen well the new wife of say 5-6 yrs gets nothing if she has in fact sacrificed to support her husband...

so if in my case my husband was married for almost 15 yrs to a woman who sought to make his life miserable and was so hostile and affected his ability to rise up corporate ranks and then he divorces her and later remarries and say dies 10 years after our marriage, it just won’t hold up even in court exwife seeking her share of his estate of skids seeking to exclude me and the 2 kids i had with hubby and any subsequent more. I’ve been the supportive wife those 10 yrs of marriage which has allowed hubby to focus on his career so that we can live comfortably.

If a parent has remarried and the new stepparent from day 1 has sought to remove the bio kids and not been a positive role model, god help the spouse if she has brainwashed him to give everything to her should he die.

thats those horror stories we hear of

STaround's picture

But would have come to same answers

1.  Marriage of people of a certain age (the DH had kids in his late 20s), I would not assume that the new wife inherits a substantial portion of the DHs estate.  Most of the money was earned before she came in the picture.  She did not stay home years to raise any of his kids (presumably).  But I would ask, did they have a prenup?  In most states, the wife is entitles to a significant portion (but less than half) of a husband's estate.   

2.  As to going to the play, did the DH not tell the wife.  When you have kids, you do do not get to go again to dinner every night.  I think every couple should be able to have at least one date night a week.  


tog redux's picture

Yes, the play is an apples and oranges comparison to the will issue.  I would never have pouted because DH wanted to go to SS's play instead of taking me out to dinner, in fact, I would have gone with him to support both him and SS.

But if it was the 6th performance of the play and DH had gone to all of them already, I might feel differently.  There are no black and white answers that apply to every situation.

STaround's picture

The most I have gone to is 2, and I only went to the second because my mom wanted to go, and she could not go to the first one, and she cannot drive at night.  Again, I stress communication between spouses.  The wife may have thought that if the play was on the mother's time, Dad did not have to go.   And of course, dad does not have to go, but I can see why he may have wanted to. 

But it is not about kids always coming first.  

lieutenant_dad's picture

The advice was bad, how the DH responded to his wife was hurtful, and the wife has some lofty expectations to only be married a year.

If she contributes to the mortgage or upkeep on the home, she should be entitled to her portion of the sale or to keep living in said home after DH dies. If he has a life insurance policy or other investments, then DW should get enough to pay off any debt incurred by her DH, any money she spent on his care, and any money to pay off his portion of mutual debts.

But to get EVERYTHING just because they are married? No. That seems unreasonable right now.

tog redux's picture

Yeah, it's not a black and white issue.  I don't know why people keep trying to make it one.

Letti.R's picture

Of course it can be reasonable: marriage is easier than actual gold digging...

Notup4it's picture

Finances in blended families are HARD to wrap your head around and they have so many moving parts and could have so many different variables.   I can see both sides.  This marriage is pretty new, but I think that maybe the person asking is worried about her FUTURE (30+ years from now)??  It comes across like gold digging, but what if she is simply hurt that she was planning to leave all of HER money to him?

What if the wife and him retired in a nice apartment and then he passed when they were both 80? She can’t work to support herself at that point, and he was the family she has and who she built her life with.  All of a sudden all of his savings and assets go to his sons, how does she afford to keep that apartment? What if she now has to move at 80 years old and to where? What if the sons have acquired more money than dad has by that point and are very comfortable in life?  Is it fair for her to give her husband her inheritance? Should she then be making it an even playing field and give hers to her niece and nephew? What if the couple are only ok financially together in old age but not independently?  

On the flip side I know it is also problematic leaving everything to the wife (or husband) and then essentially/possibly cutting your kids out of the inheritance. You don’t have this issue in a nuclear family. 

Working at the bank I have seen so much.... I have seen blended families where they are hiding money from their spouse and shoveling it off to kids (even when the couple is in financial trouble).  I have seen spouses who have totally cut kids out. I have seen kids swoop in in old age to separate a couple to get inheritance.  I have seen a widow in a panic and having to go back to work as a house cleaner because ALL of their money after 40 years was given away to kids. All of this brings out the worst in people, no doubt about it. 

I think the comment about the play was a way to diminish a serious concern the person asking had and to drive the point home that in ALL regards and forever she would never be put first. I would guess she is only a BM?? Lol. 



ldvilen's picture

I think the response sounds horrible.  For one thing, what a bad-a$$ analogy, comparing a SM who wants to go out to dinner, but is miffed that his daughter's event is going to be come first this time to a SM who expects to have the same benefits being married to someone as any other married spouse does.  Just proves non-steps usually don't get it.

It is a stereotype that most SMs are akin to little girls who are just jealous and want to hog all of dad’s time. Some are, yes. But most are not.

Then, you have the respond-er who gives the age-old and tiring rationale of they were there first, kids’ first, etc. It appears she has never been a SM, yet feels she can so easily dispense advice to her SM buddy and the letter writer. “They don’t know what it is like to be a BM,” she implies. Apparently, it doesn’t even occur to her that she equally doesn’t know what it is like to be a SM. Relationships go by the bond/ relationship and not by a time limit. Father-child, Husband-wife, for example. These are two completely different relationships, and by far the majority of SMs know this. It always seems to be others who think that whomever was there first gets first dibs, regardless. Of course, if you go by time limit, that is always going to put the SM last, which is the point of those who try to make this argument, I’m sure.

A marriage is a marriage. Husband and wife are husband and wife. An ex- is an ex-. I get miffed when people try to put time limits or use math-like equations to come up with a figure to justify when someone should be treated like a wife or can be invited as a partner to someone. Doesn’t matter if you are currently married one year to 20+ years. You are still a spouse and entitled to the same benefits and respect any spouse would be.

tog redux's picture

So you do think that a man should leave everything to his wife, and his kids get nothing?

I think that whether we like it or not, having kids from a prior marriage changes the dynamics. If the children in a marriage belong to both people, then there is likely not much argument about inheritance issues.

In our case, our will says that DH leaves everything to me, with the expectation that most of what is left goes to SS after I die.  So I suppose, there could be nothing left, and he's not making a trust for SS that keeps some separate for him that doesn't go to me. In that way I guess he is treating me as a first wife would be treated (I'm his third).

But we aren't fabulously wealthy, and there's a good chance that I will use everything we save, so he's taking a chance that SS gets nothing.  But if he came into the marriage with a lot of money, I could see him wanting to protect some of that for SS.

Also - so you'd be fine with my mother remarrying now at 85 and leaving all that she and my father saved through their careers to her new husband of one year, and none to her kids? Even though my father intended it to go to us?

To me, your answer of "a spouse is a spouse" is a black and white answer that doesn't necessarily hold water when people remarry.  There are always other factors to consider.

elkclan's picture

Yeah, I don't think that ££ that my partner's family leave to him is intended to go to me and (and thus my son) cutting my steps out of the loop. We will have a complicated set up so that money we accrue goes equally (even though he has 2 and I have 1), but any big bulk monies can get passed on.

that is not to say that if he inherited money that we would stick it all in an account just for his kids. No that money is for my partner to enjoy and I have already said that I want to travel when those kids are out of the house. (We are pretty frugal, but there are things I want to see!)

Jcksjj's picture

I guess my viewpoint on it is that it's up to the person or people who earned the money (if you built a life together long term I would consider that earning as a team) . I dont think kids should ever expect a monetary inheritance, they were taken of by the parents until 18 and that's where the obligation ends, after that, it's the parents choice if they want to provide further support and never should just be expected. Heirlooms that mean things to them and not SM I can see caring about.

Also, the kids are likely 25 to 30 years younger than the SM and also likely have their own spouse they are building a life with. They are less likely to be in need when the parent passes, whereas there's a good chance the spouse will be elderly and possibly need more help. Also, they will most likely end up being the one needing to pay anything off for the deceased spouse.

Bottom line to me is if you didnt earn the money yourself it shouldn't ever be expected- relative or not. Also, the whole idea of fighting over a dead person's estate is kind of disgusting to me. 

And comparing it to a kids school play...uh that makes no sense. At all. 

tog redux's picture

Isn't that true for the SM or SF, too, though? They aren't earning the money they are now benefiting from.  Let's use my mother again - if she remarried now at 85, why should her new husband benefit from the money she and my father earned, that he intended to go the children?

I agree that an inheritance is not guaranteed - but I can see why people fight over wills when they are cut out in favor of a new spouse.  Would you be OK with not giving your kids anything if you remarry?

ETA: DH got half of their retirement accounts, which BM paid 100% into - DH was in school because of his immigration status and unable to work.  I feel weird sometimes that I am going to retire on money that BM earned.  But I'm not giving it back because she's a raging bitch and she took way more than that amount in child support.  Smile

TwoOfUs's picture

I agree with you 1000%. DH was with his kids 10, 8, and 6 years before I came into the picture and 14, 12, and 10 years before we got married...but it's a different relationship. Also, studies show parents spend 90% of their time with their children by the time the kids reach 18. After that, they should be building a day-in, day-out relationship with their spouse. Not hovering over their kids.

DH and I have been married for 9 years next week. All his kids are 18+ now. I am certain that I've spent more time with him and love him better and know him better than anyone else in his life. He tells me daily how loved and secure he feels with me and tears up when he does so. It's also weird to me that we accept without question that married couples will put their spouse ahead of their parents/family of origin...but we don't have the same expectation for parents to put their spouse ahead of their children...even when those children are adults? It makes zero sense. Like, it's expected that the child will choose a spouse and put that spouse first, regardless of what Mommy and Daddy think about it...that's romantic. But if mommy or daddy decides to remarry (even after a death) no one blinks when the often adult children pitch a fit and everyone instantly starts "reminding" the new spouse about "her place" in this marriage. Ridiculous. 

I get miffed when people imply that married love is somehow "lesser" than the love you feel for your children. I even see phrases on here all the time along the lines of...well, you are "just" his wife. Personally, I know many, many couples who would tell you that their relationship with their spouse is the most profound and important relationship of their life. These are all people I admire and people who seem very happy with life...mentally, emotionally (and financially) stable.  By contrast, I also know a lot of people (in first marriages and second) who give their spouse the short end of the stick in order to indulge and over-invest in their children. These are the kinds of people who would describe their children as their "best friends" which kinda grosses me out. By and large, these people come across as needy, insecure, emotionally immature, unhappy, and not very stable.  

I think it's a symptom of the devaluation of the marriage relationship in general in our culture...and the glorification of the parent/child relationship is a symptom of this devaluation as well...and of emotionally-stunted adults who would rather put all their love and energy into that "parent-child" bond than have a real, complicated relationship with another adult. 

It wasn't always that way. Until very recently it was assumed that the marriage relationship was the primary relationship of life while children were an extension of that relationship. The oft-repeated "kids must always come fiiirrssstttt!" is just unrealistic and terrible advice that results in unhappy kids and unhappy parents. 

In this scenario...I would think that the wife should expect for her husband to leave an inheritance to his children...but she shouldn't expect to be left out altogether or be put behind his kids in day-to-day life...including finances. The letter writer's response is just absurd and rude. 

Justthesecondwife's picture

The timeframe hierachy really bugs me. Why should it matter who came first or for what amount of time? Should an older children receive more in heritence than a younger one simply becasue they were in the picture for longer? No, of course not, so why is society so concerned with the length of time a couple have been married? A spouse, the person you have chosen to be your life partner regardless if it is one day or 70 years, should most of the time be afforded the same respect and consideration than a "first wife". 

I cannot abide by double standards, which happen in stepfamilies and second (or subsequent) marriages. If my DH was willing to do something for BM then he has set a standard, and should be willing to offer his "new wife" the same treatment and oppotunities. 

I supect my current issues may be clouding my judgement to some degree, however it ruffles my feathers when I know what DH did for BM, or facilitated, or let her get away with, but I am held to a completely different standard. I work ridiculous hours and earn a great income because I studied and worked hard (while raising kids as a single mom). BM didn't and still refuses to work. DH expects this of me, but would never have expected it of BM and supported her choice in whatever she did. I don't get the same respect, if I don't live up to the high standards that he has for no one else in his life, BM, skids, in laws etc, then I really hear about it. But he would, and has never, spoken to anyone else in the same manner. It feels like I am paying (lterally in some ways) for the sins of his past.

I expect my DH to provide for me in death (I hope this is a long log way away) the same way he had planned to for BM (along with other matters). For the record though DH came into our marriage with no money and I was the one with the house, assets and savings, so everything he earns (should it happen) will be from during our marriage and has nothing to do with BM, nor his kids and will have been facilitated and supported by me. 

I firmly believe there should be no expectation for any "child" over 18 to receive an inheritence. They should have been provided with the education (not necessarily paying for college -  paid my own way and was fine) and tools in which to create their own financial future. I will not receive any inheritence from my parents when the time comes (they have already told me they are willing their estate to a charity for research into the condition my baby brother died from) and I completely support their decision. I'm an adult, I don't need handouts from others. I didn't earn the money or help/support them while they earned it so why should I feel entitled to someone elses hard work? My siblings feel the same way. 

I've told my bios not to expect an inheritence but instead we are teaching them practicalities and tools which, if they choose to use them and have a work ethic, will provide them with the knowledge to secure their own financial futures. I didn't say it to be selfish or cruel, just so they aren't sitting around relying on handouts without making an effort to reach their own goals. I will hopefully still have the ability to provide them with something, but I would prefer to help them along the way in practical endeavours which assist them fulfil their potentials.

My DH has other views. He came in with no money and has significantly increased his quality of life due to what I brought into the marriage. He works hard but gave everything to BM (incuding full time maids, nannies, gardeners, luxury homes they couldn't afford) so she could choose not to work (too busy committing fraud and cheating on him) so he has to start from the ground up again. DH, despite having no assets or funds of his own, minimal retirement savings, to will to the skids, has taken out large life insurance policies for his adult kids, who choose not to work or study and make no effort in their own lives to better themselves in any way. Apparently DH thinks providing them a large cash windfall in the event of his death is a good idea. I will never understand it myself. It is one thing if DH had the money, retirement savings, assets etc for a comfortable life and future and wante to share some of this with the skids. But this is not the case, he is literally just paying ridiculous unnecessary insurance premiums so the skids will never have to do anything for themselves, and never earn their own money and get a jackpot when he dies. From money he didn't earn.  

Now if DH had come into the marriage with money and assets which he accumulated during his marriage to BM and with her help and had raised decent hard working kids I would have no issue with him willling funds to them, however as his spouse I would still consider my future needs to be more relevent as I am his life parter and support him and with far more limited time in my working life left and would expect him to put the marriage first. Just as I have done for him in my will.

Apologies for my rant, I'm just very tired of the "second wife" being marginalised in society and feel each marriage should be given the same respect and consideration. Sorry for hijacking your post!

ldvilen's picture

Actually, I think the bigger question is why would anyone want to marry someone else who did not appear to feel any obligation to care for them in their laters years, so to speak?  And, why would anyone marry someone else feeling no such obligation?  If an 85-YO w/kids marries another 85-YO w/kids, I'd hope that prior to getting married, they would have either figured it out before how to take care of each other in old age if something happens to the other, or love and marriage being what it is or what it is supposed to be, that they'd just assume that when one passes, the other one would inherit the big enchilada.  Some states follow this thought legally as well.  I'd never expect it to be, surprise!, you're not in my will.

Whenever someone starts to put years or applying math to an emotional relationship, the real reason for the relationship--love, taking care of each other, and being together the rest of your life--quickly starts to become devalued, intentional or not.  And, of course, we all have our own ideas of the number of years that should = it is now okay to start taking dad's wife seriously.  Is it 1 yr., 2 yrs., 1 yr. if SM stays quit and gives you big gifts, but 3 years if SM is being in your face a little too often, or 10+ years if SM is being really pissy?  And, why should it even matter what any child thinks mom's or dad's spouse should get for an inheritance.  In reality, and legally too in some states/ countries, as soon as they say, "I do," it means pretty much everything, at least property-wise and financially, is now ours vs. just yours and mine.  And, the age they say, "I do," or the number of adult children involved from previous relationships doesn't matter.

It's called marriage and not living-together for a reason, palimony and pre-nups aside.


Curious Georgetta's picture

His  assets and the lions share of his income goes into the trust .

He , his parents, and my sister all agreed, as the people who had financed his education and training, planned and sacrificed to make his life as convenient and comfortable throughout the process, provided start up funding for his medical practice, and helped him to build a successful practice, that the benefits from their time and resources should go to their only child and granddaughter.

He has only been remarried for a short period of time and the new wife has not contributed anything to his income, ability to generate income and absolutely nothing to his pre-marital assets.

The new wife signed a pre-nup, but her husband has purchased a summer home  titled to her and established a trust that will provide her with a modest income in the event of his demise.

All of that to say, that leaving the bulk of your estate to your children does not mean  that you have to or expect to leave your current spouse  impoverished.

In this case , the wife is not losing anything that she helped to create or sustain, but she is being provided for at a level far beyond what she has ever been able to provide for herself.

So not every man who wants to secure a future for his children and grandchildren is  doing so at the expense of the wife.



ldvilen's picture

I'm not going to poke any hypocrite bears this time.  I'm just going to say that if anyone actually reads my most recent post, I mention both a pre-nup and "I'd hope that prior to getting married, they would have either figured it out before how to take care of each other in old age if something happens to the other."  Apparently your brother did both with his now wife.  Good for him.  She's taken care of and his daughter and others are taken care of.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  By no means did I ever say, "Every man who wants to secure a future for his children and grandchildren is doing so at the expense of the wife."

STaround's picture

That in many states/countries property becomes ours upon marriage.  I do not think that is true, at least in the US.  Even in community property/equitable distribution property states, property owned before marriage, if not comingled, stays seperate.  No, one spouse should not be expected to give all property to a spouse and hope the spouse takes care of his/her kids (survivior's stepkids). 

I agree, and I said above, that there is a massive communication problem when a will is surprising.   I dont even see how this could be done legally, unless there was a prenup.  But many people of a certain age (and the LW has a kid in his late 20s), expect that much of their money will go to their kid.

No, a spouse should not be left destitute.  But an adult, either kid or spouse, should not expect all money from the Dad to avoid working.  I think it is fine to be SAHM with small kids.  But if no small kids, I dont think surviving spouse should complain about estate/will if he/she has not been wiling to work.   


ldvilen's picture

I'm not going to get into this either.  There are community property states where, "A community property state presumes both spouses equally own all marital property and it will be split 50-50 in a divorce."  Yes, there are caveats as to what quantifies as community property.  If we want this post to wind up with 2000+ comments, we could all get into it and quantify it here.

Why wouldn't a spouse expect to give all property to their spouse and hope the spouse takes care of his/her kids?  This is someone they loved enough to marry, after all.  As a spouse, I'd sure as H- trust my current DH to take care of my kids more than I'd trust my kids to take care of my current DH.

Again, if they expect that much of their money to go to their kid, fine.  But, if you care for someone and love them enough to marry them, this is something you discuss and work out with your spouse ahead of time or prior to the marriage vs., as what I said above, "Surprise!  You're not in the will."

The argument isn't at all about avoiding work, although I admit some are trying to turn in into one.  The argument is that if you love someone that much to marry them and expect them to take care of you through thick and thin, then you also expect to take care of your spouse through thick and thin.  My mom, for example, has chronic leukemia and my dad has Alzheimer's.  Years ago, he could have gotten more $$/ month by not putting his wife as beneficiary on his pension. It wouldn't have even occurred to him to not do so.  His wife is his wife.  If he would not have done this, in a couple of years when he passes, she would have had only $500 a month to live on from her S.S.  And, I'm sure you would not expect an 85-YO woman with leukemia and diabetes and many other comorbidities to support herself.  Yes, she is my BM.  But, the love my dad has for my mother, if she would have passed years ago, he could have easily had for another woman, and another woman that he chose to remarry.  If that were the case, I would have expected that he would have wanted to have taken care of his 2nd wife just as much as my mom.

So, you see, I have no problem seeing dad and any SM as being married, husband and wife.  But, some. . . yes, they do, and it is far too many.

TwoOfUs's picture

Well...but he is selfishly expecting his new wife to provide care for a child who isn't hers while being unwilling to start a family with this childless woman. So I'd say he is doing some stuff at the "Expense" of his new wife. 

You can't tell me his "new wife" is never forced to watch the little dear while Daddy the Doctor is on call. There are a lot of doctors in my family, so I understand the hours that are involved. 

Unless their situation is very, very unusual and Daddy the Doctor is able to be home to provide ALL of the child care every time he has his daughter...then yes. He is relying on his wife to help his sustain his practice and maintain his household. All while she gets zero of the benefits of having her own children. 

Yeah. He sounds like a real champ.  

STaround's picture

Is presumably getting the financial benefits of being a doctors wife.  Living in a nice house, not worried about CC bills, etc. She made her choice.  She could have married a guy who would be open to having kids.

TwoOfUs's picture

Well...we don't really know, I guess. But we do know that, according to CG, his wife has expressed frustration with the amount of household money that gets spent on this kid in addition to CS. That's what first made CG show up here, supposedly. 

Now, we've heard that her ex BIL refuses to have additional kids because he wants to spoil this one...that the SM provides care for the kid and, with this comment, that the "lion's share" of his income is going into a trust for his daughter. 

Doesn't matter if some younger, "in love" and childless woman "agreed" to this situation...that doesn't make it any less horrible for her or any less selfish of him. I predict a second divorce in this man's very near future. And I hope this woman finds a second husband who will treat her with more care and consideration. 

STaround's picture

If the DH is stingy with her or if the DW is greedy.  Maybe she wants more jewelry, etc. 

We dont know if they discussed kids before they got married. 

Who knows if she will find a second DH.  The current guy can find an aupair to help with his kid. 

TwoOfUs's picture

Sure he can find an au pair. And maybe that's what he should have done. 

But it sounds like he wanted to enjoy the sex and household stability that comes with having a wife...without treating her like a wife in some very substantial ways. By it's very nature, that act is selfish and stingy. 

STaround's picture

Is he faithful?  does he cheat on her?

Does he provide a nice life for her (we dont know what her standards are)?

Is he polite and kind to her?


if your only measures are that he must give her control over all his money and have children with her, I would say, with all due respect, those issues should have been discussed before any engagement. 

TwoOfUs's picture

I never said nor would I advocate for all control over all money. In all situations, I think household financial decisions should be made by the couple together, not one person or the other. 

I also don't mean to assume more than I can know about a particular situation. I am only going by what's been said here on this forum and the unhappiness that has been described...but I shouldn't make that into more than it is. 

My main point is that, having talked to hundreds of stepmoms, one common theme I often see is this idea that they "agreed" to something regarding stepkids before fully understanding how that would feel or what it would cost them. We see this all the time. So I think any attempt to say: "Well...she 'agreed' to this arrangement" is disingenuous. People change. They are allowed to change their minds as more information becomes available to them. 

Whether she 'agreed' to the situation or not, the relationship as described seems incredibly selfish of her husband and unfair to her as far as I can tell. It's their business, of course...I'm just saying that just because someone 'agrees' to take the short end of the stick in a marriage relationship...doesn't mean they haven't gotten a bad deal...

STaround's picture

You say -- " I never said nor would I advocate for all control over all money. In all situations, I think household financial decisions should be made by the couple together, not one person or the other. "  

What exactly does that mean?  What money is household finances?  If you think the couple gets to decide where that money goes, and the couple disagrees, who gets the final deicison?  If I want to my daughter to take horseback lessons, does my DH get to veto that?  As long as I can pay for my share of the household, does my DH get to say, we should move to nicer house, get better gardner, etc?  And my kid not get horse back lessons? 

Of course people change.  My kid may want to go to private college.  An adult should be in a more stable financial sitaution.  

TwoOfUs's picture

I'm looking at household finances the same way the law would. In communal property states, anything earned or bought within the marriage is considered to be jointly earned and owned by both. Most states are not community property states, though...they are equitable division states, where income is attributed to the person who earned it. 

However, even in equitable division states, the courts look at support provided by the lower-earning spouse and divide up the property equitably...usually no less than a third is given to one the division essentially ranges from around 35/65 to 50/50 or somewhere in between. In no state does one partner in a marriage control 100% of the assets acquired within that marriage. 

As to how this shakes out in reality...I'm not sure. That is up to individual couples and how they decide to manage their household finances. I would never presume to tell anyone how they should handle their money (Nor would I presume to tell them how they "should" feel about finances in their marriage or where they "should" be in terms of their financial stability, incidentally. Crap happens, even to adults, and they have to adjust expectations. What we see a lot on these boards is men whose financial circumstances have been limited by divorce...trying to pretend like those limits don't exist and put the burden on their new wives). 

All I do when I talk to SMs on this board who are struggling with blended family finances is remind them that they do have a voice in decisions that impact their household. Given that there are typically so many voices saying: "His money, his decision" at them...I think it's a nice balance to remind them that the household money isn't "his" and that it makes sense that they would have an opinion in the matter. Their financial well-being is at stake, too. As Idvilen has already mentioned, elder care can become quite costly...and a couple's primary responsibility should be to each other as they age. 

But, according to many on here, the SM "should" just sit back and shut up and let the DAD take care of his kids...even if "taking care of" means providing an outrageous and unearned luxury that puts their family in jeopardy...that means their household suffers or they don't save for retirement or whatever. Even in these situations, they shouldn't be given a voice apparently. This is especially preached at them if they happen to be the lower earner or (GASP! and God Forbid!!!) a SAHM to their mutual children.  

I am simply reminding them that most first marriages don't work this way and that they do have a voice. I say this as the higher-earner in my own relationship. I would never tell my DH "My money, my decision" about any large purchase. It would be a discussion. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

She came from a very modest background. She lives in financial circumstances far above what she brought to the table. 

My sister has her own medical practice and her then husband was accustomed to a wife who carried her own financially.

His current wife did not seem to understand their expectations as to his unchanged relationship with his daughter. That situation has been effectively resolved.

MissDenise's picture

Yes trusts are important I have one, but she is also protected by state and federal laws should they divorce. Whatver income coming in is equally hers. Retirement accounts cannot be willed away so trust/wills/pre-nups do not ensure all you believe. The longer they are married they will need to update it.  I don't understand your "level" reference, doesn't matter if she didn't choose a career.   It doesn't negate her in.  Either way, financial planning is the married couples decision, no ones elses. 


STaround's picture

 A post nup can allow a 401K to go to whomver the owner designates.   Many people have them.  An IRA, even a rollover IRA can go to whomvever the owner designates.  Whether anyone WANTS to update their will is up to them.  They do not need to do so, becuase  you say so. 

Financial planning is up to people.   If some want to make it a couples decision, up to them. 

ldvilen's picture

A post nup?  Really!?  For some reason I can't see a lot of women or men signing on the dotted line for that one.

STaround's picture

Typically the prenup contains a clasue that a post nup will be signed.   In theory, one party can refuse to sign, but i doubt they would accrue signicant rights in few weeks.  A post nup is needed as one cannot sign away 401K accounts prior to marriage. 

TwoOfUs's picture

THis isn't actually correct at all. I have both a 401K and an IRA that I began before marriage. My little sister has always been the beneficiary...but my financial advisor told me that would be overridden and my spouse would be the beneficiary automatically unless he signed paperwork releasing his claim. 

STaround's picture

401K -- unless spouse has signed (i.e., the post nup), goes to spouse

IRA -- not protected by Erisa, possibly state law.   See  The Ninth Circuit addressed this issue in Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. v. Debickero, 593 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2010). In this decision, the Court held that rollover IRAs are not covered by ERISA, reasoning that the scope of ERISA is limited to an “employee benefit plan that is established or maintained by an employer, employee organization, or both.” Because an IRA account is “established and maintained by an individual personally and not by his employer or any employee organization, thus it falls outside the scope of ERISA.” The Court further reasoned that with respect to an IRA account, “there is no employer oversight, no ongoing employer commitment, nor any potential for employer abuse.”

Now, it could be that your IRA custodian or advisor wants to avoid problems and is suggesting it be addressed wtih a post nup 

ldvilen's picture

Do you really think anyone cares about this intense level of detail that is clearly meant to get away from the subject at hand and instead prove "you're always right!"  This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, by the way.  If you can't win an argument change the argument to one that you think you can win.  Most lawyers (and many politicians) have this perfected to an art form.

shamds's picture

Stating he remarried only for a short while and his new wife has not contributed to his income in any way... if she is a stay at home housewife, is she not maintaining the home and possibly traditional role of housewife?

i have a few drs in our family who all chose to marry traditional women whom they knew would take care of the home and kids while the husband focussed on a career but thats not to say the wife isn’t allowed to work, just that she tends to handle the bulk of chores/errands etc.

so is the new wife in this case, is she not a cleaner? A gardener? A cook? Grocery shopper? Laundry person? A babysitter for the sd? A chauffeur or taxi for taking and picking up sd from school.

i’ve been married 4.5 yrs to my husband, never would he say that i haven’t contributed to his income in anyway. He’s able to keep getting payrises and focus on his career because of me because i maintain our household, i care for our kids, i cook, i clean, i do the grocery shopping, i plan our holidays, i do errands for hubby when he asks etc. 

He was married almost 15 yrs to the exwife who did jackshit.... regrding supporting him, their home or their kids. She doesn’t get to be more important than me ever purely because she was married for 15 yrs.

you need to remember curious georgetta, its not always the length of marriage but the actual quality of it...

Curious Georgetta's picture

The quality of his marriage. I cannot speak to that. He has a live in housekeeper who he kept for continuity for his daughter after the divorce. 

His financial decisions were made prior to his marriage and th current wife signed the pre-nups so I can only assume that she was satisfied.

Whatever her contribution to the marriage ,it is not financial. He and my sister both agreed that everything that they were doing in terms of a career was for personal satisfaction and for the financial benefit of their 1 child.  The divorce did not change thst. They were in agreement as to the lifestyle, type and quality of education, travel experiences ,and long term financial security that they expected to provide for this child. Neither was dependent upon the other for their personal financial support but both were in agreement as to what would be the daughters.

He did and continues to do all of that and still provides for his current wife. So one can leave it essentially to the kids and still not leave the wife impoverished.

shamds's picture

sahm and stay at home housewives although not earning a financial income tend to save their spouse/partner money by taking care of household chores, doing errands and caring for the child. They support their spouse/partner when they are down or stressed from work so its not ever that they do not contribute in a financial way. 

Is he not benefiting during tax time from being married to his wife? In many countries when married you have a higher tax threshold or higher medical benefits etc so the husband is benefiting financially and the wife is contributing in her way towards finances.

is your bils wife not satisfying his needs? Is she not making him happy? Is she not providing companionship? If she is then although in your mind there is no dollar figure she contributes, her husband is reaping the benefits of being in a relationship with her which contributes to him being able to focus on his job and earn the money he does and in a court of law, a sahm or housewife is seen as contributing to the success of her husbands career.

Its really sad there are people that seriously think stepmums, subsequent wives or sahm and stay at home housewives do not contribute financially. Thats bollocks.

my husband is the sole income earner and quite well off despite us living simple lives. He gives me an allowance every month so i can keep it in my overseas bank account as i am from overseas, he also knows i handle grocery shopping. Yes its from the money he earnt from his job that he transfers to my bank account  but if i didn’t do all the chores and maintenance of our home, get the online grocery shopping done for our household meaning hubby, our 2 toddlers and ss20 when he is home, guess what?? There would be nothing to eat. In a court of law i am not as you say “not contributed financially to the marriage”  because i have done all these things. By all accounts that personal allowance i could very well keep everything to myself and not do the grocery shopping etc but i choose to do this as the wife and mother of our 2 kids. I want us to be comfortable at home so i do contribute.

you’re way of thinking is one of the major reasons when a bio parent passes away that the skids and exwife are in court saying i was married to him for 20 years  and had 3 kids, he has only been married to her for 5 and had 1 kid, they haven’t been in his life long enough to earn a portion of the inheritance. 80% of his estate was earned prior to them marrying and having a kid together. 

Sorry but thats not the way it works. All kids regardless of age would inherit. Even in intact families if a parent dies with say 3 kids aged 22, 20 & 10, do the eldest 2 say we should get 80% of the estate as our little sibling has barely bern alove long enough while mum or dad earnt that money? Of course not, we know that wouldn’t fly in court

plus lets face it, majority of the “1st wives” are angry upset and jealous their exhusband has remarried so them and their families often are negative about the new spouse, they are not given a chance from day 1. 

STaround's picture

Are married to other doctors or other professionals.   Aupairs are very common for school age kids in our community.  They can handle running the kid around and child's laundry, school holidays, etc.   There are many online grocery deliver services these days.  

shamds's picture

i know alot will say they also marry the same profession becaus they are more understanding. My bil is a teacher and married to a teacher/psychologist 

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

In this case I don’t think the woman is entitled to half of her husband’s property should he pass away. She didn’t contribute in any way to its growth. Now 5 or 10 years down the road? Yes I think she should have a share of it and the longer she’s with him the more I think she should get.

To say children or spouse comes first is oversimplifying a complex topic. Minor children’s needs and want’s should come first for the most part but that doesn’t mean the spouse is ignored. We as adults are able to care for ourselves and in general can be more flexible. For example the kids come first when they are with us till 8PM. That’s bed time and me and his time. Throughout the rest of the day they need to be the priority for their wellbeing.

Now once we are looking at adult children the spouse should be first for the most part. They are the person you live with. If that relationship isn’t strong it will disrupt the rest of your life. Adult children are also capable of taking care of themselves at that point and should be creating their own life apart from their parents.

STaround's picture

If the DH and DW are older, leaving money to the surviving spouse may mean that the children of the surviving spouse end up with most of the money. IMHO, that is not fair.  

I think there are some hypocrites on this board, and they expect that they will outlive their DH, and their kids will benfit. 

Most people do not leave big estates.  But for those that do, it is fair for to arrange that the kids get part of their parents estate, and it does not all end up with the kids of the second to die.  Some people here have commented that not is a problem, they expect to outlive their DH.  

ldvilen's picture

I think the only hypocrites here are the ones who perhaps live in an area where, "Aupairs are very common for school age kids in our community."  How much does someone in that kind of community have in common with most of the women here (or anywhere for that matter)?  And, by the way, according to current statistics, 80% of women outlive their husbands, so to make that assumption is correct and it in no way implies delusions of gold-digging or such.

I think there are more than a couple of women on here, younger women, I believe, who live in upper-class society and somehow think that the way it goes for them and their friends and neighbors is how it should go for all of society.  Most women here and most women in general do not fall into that category.  There is a quote I read once that 80% are poor, 1% are rich, and the rest fall inbetween.  If you are closer to that 1%, how can you even begin to relate to the experiences of every day women?  Sure, you can use book-learning and the couple of experiences or so you have when you dare to venture into a Walmart in a "lower" class neighborhood.  But, real experiences, and most importantly, REAL empathy is going to be lacking.

If you add that that type of woman may not even have ever been a SM, then you can easily see where some leaning toward upper-class woman like that coming here sounding know-it-all and hoity-toity can come across as very unnerving, unsympathetic and even cruel.  It is like when Marie Antoinette said, "Let them Eat Cake," to the masses.  Too many people not in the know think they have the right to tell SMs to "Let them Eat Cake." We hear it all the time, and unfortunately not just from know-it-all, hoity-toity types.

STaround's picture

I said in my community, and a lot of this thread was about a doctor's wife.  I was assume a doctor could afford an aupair.I get it that women generally outlive men. 

That is why I find it greedy to take the general position that the surviving spouse should inherit all. If you are concerned about working class people, for the most part, there will not be much of an estate. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

Opinion among many here that women should be provided for; rarely is the question posed as "what financial arrangements have you put in place to support your husband?"

 it is suggested that if a woman is cooking and cleaning and providing consortium and mutual sexual engagement that she is entitled to be provided for in some way. 

Of course , each couple is free to plan and provide as they so agree, but truth be told a housekeeper and a lady of the evening or one who is simply free with her favors could provide those services and not be entitled to assets or any percentage of a 401k.

My comparison is only slightly absurd. I find it offensive to hear women not being told to prepare themselves to be an equal or equitable financial partner. Women should be preparing and contributing for and towards their own retirement. If they have children, they should be contributing and planning for the support of their children.

This notion of women needing to be provided for is why do often women in this site say" I cannot afford to leave " or I have to begin planning and saving to leave"

If  on the day that you marry you do not being any assets to the table then you have no right to expect ownership interest in the assets that the other brings to the table.

No one should expect more than they came prepared to give. If you lived your life not preparing for your retirement and future, why is it the responsibility of your new spouse to do so?

If you did not care enough about your own future to prepare adequately, how is your partner less caring than you when he or she adopts the very position that you took in regards to your future? Should they love you more than you loved yourself or them?




ldvilen's picture

Really!?  I just love it when young women come on this site and proclaim to know what the women's movement was about or that they know all there is about equality.  I was in the trenches during the women's movement, and I never interpreted it as women were supposed to act more like men.  I interpreted it as men were supposed to be more like women, meaning that men were supposed to be more open, kind and considerate.

What does it mean to have equality?  It is shame that so many women interpret the way for women to be equal is to be like a man, except for having boobs and a va-jay-jay.  Now that women can supposedly burb and fart and sleep around and be just as vicious in their attacks as men, in addition to earning money any which way. . . is that equality?  God, I hope not.

Exaggerating, I know.  Bentsen said to Quayle during a 1988 vice-presidential debate, "I served with Jack [John] Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. . .  Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."  Similarily, I'm saying:  I served in the trenches during the equal rights movement.  Lived it and helped launch it.  And, you, young lady, have little to no clue what equality and marriage is all about.  It certainly isn't about putting material things, such as money on a scale and expecting everything to line up even-steven. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

and Bella were in the trenches, they were advocating for equal pay, equal opportunity, equal recognition, equal RESPONSIBILITY, and equal protection under the law for women. They did not view females as little women who needed to be protected and provided for: they viewed women as being able to provide for and to protect themselves and in doing so they were not becoming  men but becoming equals.

Preparation, planning, working, achieving, providing are all gender neutral attributes. The recognized that women belong not only in a kitchen or bedroom but in the boardroom as well.

It is demeaning and degrading to suggest that a woman should need a man to provide for her retirement or that up in marrying a woman has a right to expect ownership interest in assets to which she has not contributed.

Better to teach our daughters to strive, prepare, and earn that which she desires to own. That concept will permit her to enter marriage as an equal. Obviously, partners make personal choices specific to their interests, long term goals, and future expectations.

Betty Friedan once said " It is easier to live through someone else than to become complete yourself, "

Why continue to encourage women to place responsibility for their futures on someone else rather than themselves becoming complete?

Recently, a poster said that she had been married for 8 years and her husband would not let her work. One sympathetic responder suggested that she tell that to the judge and she would probably get alimony.  I wondered why no one said what if the judge asks "just how exactly did he stop you from working? "

 There are still inequities in terms of pay and access to certain positions, but nothing that prohibits women from planning for their own futures and retirement. Under employed males are expected to make those kinds of plans. Women don 't get to draw a bye in that area because of gender or economic  disparities.






Sandybeaches's picture

Get a grip here people we are not talking about a man providing for a woman!!!!!!!!!  We are talking about a couple providing for each other!!! EQUALLY!!! In the event of one of their deaths!!!  This article just mentions the man left most everything to his kids I would have the same problem with it if a woman left everything to her kids and nothing to her husband when they are to share a life and a household and expenses...  The kids should not benefit monetarily!! Family Heirlooms Yes money no!!! Unless both are dead and then the estate of BOTH can be left in trust divided equally!!!

ldvilen's picture

Did they view adult children as little women who needed to be protected and provided for?  Because that appears to be what you are advocating. 

Well. . . what is worse?  An adult child who expects to inherit because of DNA or a wife who expects to inherit because she has been there for her life partner through thick and thin?  That is the question.  Because, apparently some people think it is okay for an adult child to obtain wealth without specifically working for it, but it is not okay for a wife to obtain wealth "without work" even tho. she has been by her husband's side, supporting him in every way, every day, every step of the way.  

This has nothing to do with equality, and you should know that.  Looking things up in a book and twisting them in such a way as to support your anger towards women who "don't work" isn't going to change any of that.

Curious Georgetta's picture

who do not work. That is a personal choice, and some couples agree that one or the other of them will not work but be supported instead. That is a !mutually agreed upon choice.

I find objectionable  and offensive the position that by virtue of marriage what was yours instantly becomes .ours , and that the person who has never worked to cotribute  anything to that process now thinks that he or she should have ownership interest.

Many women who subsequently marry successful men will say " I maintain his home and allow him to work without worrying about those things.  Truth be told , he was working and succeeding when you found him. His life was being handled in a way that was not limiting  or  impeding his  success. In these cases   the  man or woman just latched on to some one  else's success for an easy ride.

Now if both parties choose this route as the way for them that is great. It becomes a  mutually implemented plan.

In my personal view , any man or woman who enters a relationship or marriage with the view and expectation that they are entitled to more than they are prepared to give is not a partner but rather a taker .

I think that Pre-marital assets should go to children  minor or adults. Jointly acquired assets belong to the couple , and assets independently acquired during marriage should go to whomever the owner chooses to stipulate.

Finances should be discussed in great detail before marriage and revisited during the marriage.


ldvilen's picture

Wow!  You find it offense that marriage = ours vs. just yours and mine.  Really?, women latch on to someone else's success for an easy ride?  Hmm.  I happen to know for a fact that there are several women on these pages who earn or earned more than their husband's did.  I'm one of them.  Yet, I don't think anyone would ever accuse my husband of latching on to me for an easy ride?  Your line of thinking is very old fashioned in that sense.

Marriage is not a business arrangement in my book.  I understand some lean toward liking it that way--generally wealthy individuals, and, yes, some step-families, but even with those step-families, at the base of wanting everything so seperate is prior wealth, a lot of it, combined with a later-in-life remarriage.  Pre-nup, post-nup, contractual marriage, whatever you want to call it. . .  If that pops your cork, fine.  However, for someone to think that every marriage should be so, and especially marriages between bio-dad and his new wife or bio-mom and her new husband, NOPE.  No one has any right to insist that every marriage be business-like, largely yours and mine, but little ours, except for maybe in the bedroom.

Again, as I alluded to earlier, if you are from a wealthy background and have no step-mom experience of your own, you are not going to be able to relate much to the average woman or the average marriage, SM or not, where most, I assure you, marry for love and are following their hearts vs. being so-so worried about their own or someone else's pocketbook.  The vast majority of spouses, step- or not, want to take care of and share equally with their spouse.

You and others were going on and on about a "free" ride.  Well, might I again suggest that if you are backing pre-maritial assests going to children, minor or adults, then are they getting a "free" ride just through virtue of DNA?  Very few minor children contribute financially to any household and even very few adult children do.  Most adult children just show up at mom and dad's a couple of times/ yr. during the holidays and other gift giving-getting type events.

Meanwhile, a wife, SM or not, is contributing far more to the household and her husband more than any child, minor or adult, would be.  I would never say this in a million years otherwise, but since you want to be so focused on money for some reason, it seems to me any spouse is getting a lot more financially from their spouse than from any child?  "Processes," past or present, still need to be maintained or grown.  After all, you seem H-bent on taking any emotion out of the equation.  So. . . let's take that emotion out of both sides.  If you are looking just at who is contributing the most financially or otherwise, I'd say even a non-working SM would win.  She's cooking and cleaning and playing the perfect hostess for potential clients, etc.  Kids, on the other hand, would just be contributing carrying on your DNA, for the most part, and sucking up your finances.  If you want to act like there is no emotion between SM and dad that you'd even have to recognize, then let's make it a fair field and act like there is no emotion between kid and dad that has to be recognized either.

Gimlet's picture

You honestly have no idea what it means to be born into any class other than your own, do you?

We don't like to talk about social class in the US because of some absurd idea that all it takes is some elbow grease and strong bootstraps and anyone can be upper class.  In fact, socioeconomic mobility in the US has been declining for decades.  There are many reasons for this and I am happy to expound and provide citations if desired. 

Many of the women on this board who can't afford to leave aren't sticking it out to be "greedy".  Many of them help to support their households, but lack the ready cash to cover the expenses of starting over.  While that might be small potatoes to someone in a different social class, it can be a huge barrier for someone who is not earning much or who is transitioning back into the workforce.

This also doesn't mean that they "don't care enough about their own future to prepare adequately" either.  You clearly have no idea what it is like to be born poor or working class and have to fight your way through your environment, through school, through the own trappings of your social class, as well as other barriers to establish any amount of financial security.

But sure, yeah, go hire an au pair ladies. 


shamds's picture

Businesses as sole income earners like electricians, plumbers etc. Their wives are sahm, they help run the business by doing the accounting, reception and appointment bookings and tax returns. Their husbands simply do the work. These women should not be told they need to prepare their own finances and secure their own retirement.

they not only help run this business, without them there would be no businessas they ensure it flows smoothly and efficiently 

marriage is a partnership meaning both contribute in their own ways and some families/marriages both are happy with say the wife being a sahm if they can afford and manage it due to nature of the husbands work. I know a few fifo wives whose husbands work in mining sector as fly in fly out where they could be gone a month straight and home a week before going back to work a month straight. 

These families are financially comfortable due to husbands income and wife manages the kids home etc and tend to not need credit cards but this is the dynamic that works for them and when kids are older, sure some choose to work part time..

if marriage is a partnership, curious georgetta saying both are responsible for their own financing of retirement seperate of their spouse is living a single life. As a sahm or wife who takes care of the home, her husband, errands and groceries bills etc no wife like this should be told she is not entitled to anything of her husband and she should have thought about financing her own retirement!! Her contributing to her husbands quality of life, marriage, his business and focus support  of his career means a real genuine appreciative man values and respects this because he knows its no easy.

My husbands ex wife has not worked in 25 yrs, she was married for 15 of those years to my husband and had quit her job right after marying him. When i married my husband we wanted kids together and had 2 close in age and when they were nearing school age i would resume my studies so by the time both would be in primary school i would be able to hopefully go to fulltime work and hubby wanted to retire early because he has worked hard especially since his divorce and i am happy with that. Never would hubby consider i get nothing and skids get 80% or majority. We have 2 kids together and want a few more (to be evaluated in a few years time), i have done more for him in the 6 yrs we’ve known one another compared to the 15 he was married to exwife and hubby knows it

my husband agrees giving a lump sum savings to his kids that he had with ex but not the bulk since they are ungrateful, disrespectful and sought to make life difficult for him. They have not been appreciative one bit.. plus he has 2 toddlers with me whom he is financially responsible for and knows they require the most financial assistance since 3 skids mostly have. If all kids were adults then i see hubby trying to do his best to split fairly. 

Also most people in the world are not doctors running their own practice so to use their example of being financially independent to the rest of the population is unrealistic and cocky. We marry people from different backgrounds and financial status. So what if 2nd wife came from a poor uneducated family and worked as a sales person when she met a rich businessman or doctor. Did she work to earn a living?

i know alot of senior bankers and ceo’s who have stay at home wives and working wives and they see what they earn as being split  amongst kids and wife and not to say to a wife or 2nd wife she gets nothing

its fairly obvious majority of step families do not blend, its smart to have wills in place or address this early on in marriage when you realise especially with subsequent kids from a second marriage/relationship thats the kids from prior relationships do not have half siblings best interests to heart so you do need to figure out early on that all kids especially minors are taken care of to adulthood and that the mother of these minors is supported to care for them.

MissDenise's picture

That's how it often works. You find out WHO you married during sickness, stress, and yes making your wills. 

I wouldn't expect someone to put my name on assets they owned before married. It's up to both of you to own and acquire things together. That being said I wouldn't live in someone elses home. Either we sell it or rent it out, and buy ours together. If one dies they don't lose their home, it's right of suriviorship. So the other spouse is protected. I remember seeing the story of Robin Willaims. His greedy his decended upon his widow within days of his passing. Robin and his wife should have planned better.  

I also wouldn't want to marry a spouse that chose to keep everything separate. We put our income in a joint checking/savings. Pay the bills from that. If my husband said his kids come before me I'm pretty sure I would start taking measures to protect myself.  The husband in the article is a creep imo. How about caring about everyone equally???? I guess when he gets ill she'd better call the kids to change his diapers etc. 



STaround's picture

1.  You say that you would not expect anyone to put property in  a spouses name on marriage..   What if you cannot afford to buy a house togehter?  

2.  Everything I read about Robin Williams, his late wife was the greedy one.  Why do you assume his kids would the greedy ones?  

3. Why are you saying the DH in the artilce is a creep?  It seems after one year of marriage, the wife wants all his goods?  So who is greedy?


There can be greedy people of all situations.  Second wives, First Wives, Husbands, kids, whatever.  

MissDenise's picture

I explained he shouldn't have said that to her.  That was lame. There's always a compromise, sell one home whereby the proceeds stay separate. Save to buy a home together etc. That's what we did. The article didn't say she wanted everything to go to her. More of the statement he made.

Robin's kids had 2 or 3 of his other homes and contents. They also wanted the contents inside Susan's home, AND right after he died. That's pretty crass imo. They ended up settling out of court.


STaround's picture

We do not know.  Unless you can cite something in a paper, I do not see who is crass.  

They may have been afraid the wife was going to sell stuff.  

CLove's picture


This is why marriages and second marriages fail - because of this kind of mentality. I JUST had a convo with a cousin of my hisband. She is newly divorced and no kids She thinks that children should always be first without exception, always (even grown children), and she cited an example of an auntie (an older sister of my husband). I had to just zip it because I know that behind the scenes, the two parents go out, have a great sex life, do for each other, and also, their youngest daughter is a total brat, and they are in a bunch of debt because they paid for expensive schooling for one of their children.

Yeah. The writer/marriage coach/whatever who wrote this article is a quack.

Just last night we were discoursing with friends about how Toxic Feral wanted to move back in. DH was explaining how after about 2 years of no contact,  relationship, she wants back in. He told her "ask CLove, you need to talk it over with her and she refused."

Everyone agrees that livng with a bratty asshole who doesnt have any consideraton just doesnt work.

So, no life doesnt work that way, kids dont get to be the center of the Universe.

MommyT's picture

I can understand the DH setting up a trust for his kids but the wife should always come first.

Sandybeaches's picture

First a second marriages  Will should be no different than a first in terms of what is left to a spouse.  I also think that with more than half of marriages being second marriages and even third I think the legal terms of who can disinherit and inherit is likely to change once we have the first landmark case to go by ..but until then .... 

With that said my simple answer that I will go in more depth with later when I have more time and everyone disagrees with me  (LOL) is the spouses reasonability financially is to their spouse be it a first or 12th marriage.  You are sharing finances and building a life with your spouse.  The only issue I see is family possessions you may want to pass down to your kids.  You want to make sure they stay in your family and go to your children.  Your children who will have a spouse of their own someday ... But your children are responsible to pay for themselves not get left so big inheritance to help them out.  It wouldn't happen in a first marriage.  No one would ever think of leaving everything to their kids not the mother or father.  I think a second marriage is no different.  Certainly include them on you estate as getting something but I think your responsibility is to your spouse the person who shares your bills and your life.  


STaround's picture

Are you in the US?  State law on inheritance (that you cannot generally disinherit a spouse, absent a prenup) is the same for first, second or twelth marriages. While spouses cannot be disinherited, the law generally provides they must be given a certain percentage and/or homestead rights.  If you want the law to provide that all property must go the surviving spouse, to me that seems that is up to the state legislaturers.  I dont see that happening, but try to lobby for that.   The fact is, people can leave all their assets to a spouse (in most states) if they want to. A prenup can be drafted to provide that assets must go to the spouse.  

There have been plenty of cases regarding estates.  Spouses challenge prenups, various heirs assert testator not competent.  What do you think a landmark case will say?  

Most people in this country will not leave much an estate.  Of course I don't think a spouse should be left destitute.  But do you think it is fair to leave an estate entirely to a spouse, who  may then leave the remainder to his or her kids?  And omit the kids of the first to die?  Or who may remarry and leave to a new spouse?  That certainly would not be my intent. 

Every situation is different.  I would anticipate that a very small estate would first pay expenses of the estate and then likely go the spouse.  If an adequate size, an  estate might provide for college of minor children of the decedent.  If very large, and no college needed, then I would expect some to go to kids. 

MissDenise's picture

In every marriage especially after a number of years both are on bank accounts and deeds.   Most people may end up using a lot of their assets especially if long term care etc. is needed. A lot of health issues can impact your estate. If one of us dies the property transfer to the other so the other spouse is protected. We'll make sure the kids get something, and personal stuff. I think life insurance is good to leave to kids because it passes directly to them. 

Sandybeaches's picture

Yes I am in the US. I meant Landmark case in disinherited Step Children.  Meaning that if you were in a second marriage and designated property to be left to your children that the surviving spouse couldn't write out the children from receiving It legally and they would have. No claim as today's guidelines are written.

Before everyone jumps on me this is only if someone designates it to be this way.  I think this is why a lot of people write their Wills the way they do in second marriages because steps can get written out in the surviving spouses Will and have no claim.  

I have been through the uncomfortable better do this now because when step dad dies we have no claim on grandma's China set if we don't take it now. I can tell you it is hurtful and awkward!!!


STaround's picture

The answer to me is the spouse who dies should have all family personal property go to the kids on their death.  Survivor can get every day plates from Target.   It was heartbreaking to read about Sean Lennon having to buy his father's memorablilia off of Ebay after his stepmother sold it.  

Sandybeaches's picture

sorry hit save twice


TwoOfUs's picture

I guess I'm just really glad that I married someone who loves me and cares about my wellbeing both while he's alive and after he is gone. We have mirror wills that leave everything to the other spouse. He understands that we are building a life together, and that a marriage is a partnership in all things. 

The fact that women outlive men doesn't mean that they are "greedy" or "hypocritical" for wanting to be treated as next of kin (which is how the law does and should treat spouses). It just means they wisely understand that they may need more retirement...more support for longer...than their husbands will need. No one should leave their spouse worried about how they will survive after they're gone for the benefit of kids who are still in their prime earning years. That is selfish and wrong. 

Now, if both spouses are older and have built up assets prior to a second or third marriage...then, yes. I do think the wills probably shouldn't or won't be mirror wills as that's not necessary at that point. But people are living longer and retiring later, and even a couple in their 50s may still live 30-40 years together (still over half of their adult lives, in other words) building assets and providing each other with companionship and support. 

STaround's picture

To say that all assets should go to survivor, and then to survivors kids.   Without estate planning that can and does happen.  The widow typically gets social security, and that should be factored in too, imho.  

Yes, people live longer, but not many build up assets after a certain age.  

A lot to consider, I certainly do not think widows should be left penniless.  But I also do not think that when anyone marries someone old enough to have kids pushing 30, they should expect him to re-tittle and will her ALL his property.   That is what the OP appears to want.  I agree, the response was callous.   But if my DH expected this one year into our marriage, I would be put off. 

Sandybeaches's picture

I actually don't think that is what the article said at all.  I don't think she expected everything I think she expected something.  After all they are starting a life together that could also last the same amount of time as the 30 years it speaks of with the children relationship.  

Let's face it the writer who responds to her responds by comparing her situation to a woman that is upset about a missed dinner and a dance recital to her real life situation of a what was to be her future if she is left alone after her husband dies, is ridiculously incomparable.  One is a one night frivolous thing to a whole life decision and discussion.  So I only mention this not in response to you but response to the article in general and its basis that is unrealistic as that response is apples to oranges.  

But with all of that said the children should get family heirlooms most definitely ... but if this was their mother and not a second marriage would anyone think that the kids should get everything and the surviving parent nothing?  If both contribute to the house which on some level ALL do then why should it be left to kids and not a surviving spouse?  If it is his house that she moved into when they got married, then sell it and buy a house you both own and it is deeded to both of you. 

Your spouse is the person you are sharing finances with and should be the other half of your estate.  Your kids will have their own spouse, life and house to do that with later.  I am not sure why anyone thinks you need to leave money behind to adult children that should be able to take care of themselves. Adult children are not dependent on their parents income but a spouse is. Kids did not contribute to the expenses of the house the spouse did so why should the kids get a windfall if their parent dies. Family heirlooms absolutely!! Money that should go to your spouse NO 

If there are kids from both marriages set up a trust that includes the house and when BOTH spouses are gone ALL kids get equal shares.  


STaround's picture

Actually, the LW said the kids got most, and that she get something.  She wanted more.  Even if the marriage lasts 30 years, one could ask, were any significant assets acquired during the duration of the second marriage?  Did LW not acquire any assets?  Will she not get social security upon the death of her DH, and how much will that be?

Of course the reply was awful. 

If the second wife is much younger, then the kids may never see any of the estate if it only goes to them after the death of a young SM. 

Sandybeaches's picture

LOL!!!!  Assuming, even asking if ANY assets were acquired after a 30 year marriage is so laughable... Of course there would be assets.... ummmmmmmmm anything acquired during the marriage is an asset and this is not what this is about.  

Any married couple sharing a life, house and bills would of course miss the contribution of the other spouse husband or wife should they die.  It doesn't matter what this woman receives in Social Security or her own assets, she has created a life with this man and therefore she should or he would, which ever dies first should be the beneficiary of the estate.  As I have stated numerous times the children should most definitely get family heirlooms but should not need to benefit from any Monterrey value of the father's estate.  

STaround's picture

When people retire, they generally stop acquiring assets. Of course we do  not know how old the LW's DH is, but he does has a kid pushing 30.  Once people hit 65 (and for some, years before that)  they start depleting assets.  So there might be assets, but none acquired DURING a marriage starting at a certain age. 

Again, as I have said, most people in the US will not leave an estate of any size.  At best, it will cover funeral expenses and other debts.  At that point the widow(er) will have to decide to downsize.  It is only for people with appreciably more money that the question of division of an estate exists.  

My DH owns what we call our vacation home and I own what we call our primary home.  Each home goes to our kids.  The time to discuss all this is PRIOR to getting married.  I don't agree with LW being surprised, but we need to know more facts before we come to the conclusion that her DH was not fair. Does she have any property?  Any retirement funds of her own?  If all the money goes to her, will it then go to HER kids and HIS kids twist in the wind.  Disregarding that is not fair.  I don't want my money to go my stepkids (and there  is nothing wrong with them).  

Many people here seem to count on THEIR kids profiting from the policy of surviving spouse gets it all, as they expect to outlive their spouse (likely a reasonable expectation).  How can you say that is fair? 

Sandybeaches's picture

You are assuming a lot about the Letter writer also…. Including that if you have a child pushing 30 that you are near retirement age.  I married the first time very young and was 47 almost 48 when my son was 30 not even close to considering retirement…. I wish!!! 

"So there might be assets, but none acquired DURING a marriage starting at a certain age. "

Really???  Again Assuming how would you know that about marriages in general and their assets? and also what someone would leave in an estate?  You are also assuming someone dies of old age instead of at an unexpected time.  Always a good idea to plan what will happen at death but it often times comes at an unexpected time.  

Also many people acquire their “vacation home” at or near retirement so there again that thought process is assumed and not necessarily accurate. 

She may or may not have assets of her own frankly that doesn't matter.  If anyone is worried about assets going to one or the others kids only, then set up a trust which only goes to children when both spouses have died.  Make all shares in the trust to each child equal.   Kids did not contribute to the household or expenses there is no reason to leave them money.  

Sandybeaches's picture

My answer was in general this is not my situation at all.... 

However I have been through it as the child in the scenario.  We had a bad situation when my mother died.  My Stepfather whom to that point I had adored and my mother had mirror Wills however it didn't quite go the way it should have. 

After a tremendous amount of arguing I had to buy many of my family heirlooms at a garage sale....  It truly was heartbreaking and destroyed the relationship with my stepdad... It could have been so much comfort to have him in my life after my mother had died. 

My mother and he had been married 32 years a good share of my life.  To add to it I couldn't afford to buy all of the things I wanted of hers and had to let some go.  Truly heartbreaking.  I guess sometimes you really don't know people and how they will react.  

ldvilen's picture


Swim_Mom's picture

...some of the posts here expressed skepticism about a post-nuptial. We have one, simply because we didn't get the pre-nuptial done in time. We have 7 kids between us; it was highly necessary. We spent about 18 months on the post-nuptial/trusts/wills - we are lucky because my Dad is an estate planning attorney. The way i felt when we first got married is different from how I felt a year later, and it continues to change. Before we got married, we naively spoke of "all of our kids".  It did not take me long to realize I will never be a parent to his kids nor think of them even remotely as my own, but he is a Dad to mine (mainly due to age of kids at time of marriage and the fact he lives with my kids...but also most of his kids are very strange to say the least).  I thought that I'd want to combine finances when he is done paying his ex wife maintenance (9 more payments!!), but I don't see that happening. I just cannot fathom a dime I earn going towards skids. However, my feelings of "us" continue to increase, if that makes sense? Meaning I would want to be sure he is taken care of - (not that I did not initially) and he wants to be sure I am as well. In my opinion, this topic needs to be revisited on a regular basis over time.

Rags's picture

Nope, kids never come first in a family whether that family is blended or not.  The adult relationship at the core of the family is the only top priority. Period.

If not... then the marriage is far more likely than not... temporary.

Minor children are the top relationship responsibility but never surplant the core adult relationship as priority.  They do not come first. Ever.  When those kids become adults... they are not even on the scale of important.   Yes, love adult children. But... it is up to them to privide for themselves.  

This person is... an idiot.

MissDenise's picture

The wife merely expressed feeling slighted by her spouse for having most of the estate go to his kids. Then of course the nasty comment which would have been a big red flag for me.  If they were married a year there's plenty of compromise. A life insurance policy, buy a home together with mortgage ins. incase eithers dies.

I could go on, but there wasn't any reason for his comment, or to leave her out. A healthy marriage should include your spouse being secure as well. Length of marriage doesn't matter, but she should have told him before the will whereby they could come up with something more fair. Not complain about it later.  On the upside they can redo, or update their will/trust down the road. Sadly the husband put a big dent in his marriage.

Rags's picture

Nope, they don't. They don't come first in any family. The marriage comes first. If it doesn't, it is in all likelihood doomed to failure.

The author, and the DH... are idiots. The wife is an idiot if she puts up with it.

The DH will soon be on wife #X+1 with this adult child worshipping BS.   It isn't his leaving his estate to his kids. After all he and SM have only been married for a year. It is the dipshit's "my kids will always come first" ball-less non man failed father bullshit that will end this marriage. And it should end earlier rather than later.

IMHO of course.

sandye21's picture

This article was written by a 'Life Coach'.  Minimal training / time frame to be a 'Life Coach' according to Google:  'Investing in Professionalism. The ICF's minimum training program puts you through 60 hours of coach training and 10 hours with a mentor to build you as a professional. You then need 100 hours of experience coaching actual clients before earning certification.'  A grand total of 170 hours, or at 6 hours a day, 28 days.  And this qualifies the author to publish life-guiding 'advice' on the internet!

My next job:  Life Coach!!!  LOL LOL  The sad thing is some poor soul is going to take this garbage seriously.

ldvilen's picture

Well, here are the five most overpaid professions according to MarketWatch: Mutual fund managers, washed up pro-athletes in long-term contracts, CEOs of poorly performing companies (a big one!), orthodontists, and motivational speakers and ex-politicians.  

I think we could put life coaches in the motivational speakers’ category.  And, especially if they have some sort of axe to grind too.

SCDad01's picture

New to the site and this is the first thread I clicked on.  Ironic since kids coming first is the reason our blended family is no more.  My DW and I have been separated for a few months and she finally told me that although she loves me dearly and wants to be with me, her BD/BS will always come first.  And since her BD (10) is not happy and doesn't always get along with my BS/BD, she wants to divorce.  She even said she wishes we could fast forward 10 years down the road so we wouldn't have this issue.  Obviously I'm a firm believer your spouse has to always come first.  This is all very recent, so I'm struggling to comprehend it all.