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Shared expenses with step children

Dmiami76's picture

Hi everyone 

I've been dating my girlfriend for 2 years and she has a 6 year old and his biological father is mildy involved in his life. He picks him up every other week for the weekend. He's a good kid and we get along decent. We have recently moved in together and open up a joint checking account for house expenses only. I noticed that she put $85 for daycare and $25 for her son's haircut in with the monthly expenses. When I confronted her she got upset. The bio father pays $600 a month in child support. We split all the groceries and eat outs witch also incudes her son and I haven't said anything about that yet. My question is, "is this a red flag" lol

hereiam's picture

Those are not shared, house expenses, and I would not pay for half of them.

Not that I believe in nickel and diming each other, but those are obviously HER expenses, which she gets a good amount of child support for. And, those are not nickels and dimes, they add up to a bit of money over time.

Yes, it's a red flag that she expects you to cover half of her child's expenses (and that she got upset when you tried to talk to her about it). He's 6, now, what happens when he drives? Goes to a pricey, private school? Goes to college?

Make a list of the actual house expenses and tell her that is what you will be paying half of.

You are at the 2 year mark, which is generally when you start getting to know the real person, as their true self. Moving in together will also allow you to start seeing the real her. That's when some people let their guards down and show sides of themselves that they didn't want seen, before.

Any other red flags that you have noticed?

 

Dmiami76's picture

I think in general help with her son is expected and not appreciated. I'm also torn wether groceries for all 3 of us is a shared expense and we've had a couple arguments when I joked about getting his dad to pay me back for some happy meals after I picked him up from school.

 

Thanks for responding too

hereiam's picture

She should be paying a little more for groceries than you. Right now, I wouldn't really be concerned with the extra utilities for the boy, but the reality is, she has 2 people to support, you have one. As her son gets older, the food and utilities (long, teenage boy showers) will increase in cost.

Expectation that you will help with her son, with no communication about it, is not wise. Expectation without appreciation is just rude and entitled.

notarelative's picture

Haircuts, daycare, medical, sport fees, school, clothing, etc -- all of these are parent expenses. Parent, not boyfriend, not significant other, not stepparent, is responsible.

Buying a snack at a fast food place, when the child is in your care, is a choice. If you don't want to, don't. It should not be expected. If it's expected, it's her expense. If it's just something you wanted to do, just pay. 

She and you need to discuss this yesterday. Until and unless you get this organized resentment, on both sides, is going to fester until it kills the relationship. There will always be some inequality in splitting expenses. The key is finding the balance you both can live with.

Thumper's picture

Actually, your girlfriend should have handed you the cash for the Happy Meal.

Her lack of doing so is another red flag....she did not give you a chance to say "hey dont worry about it".

Please do not be taken advantage of....now you have heard it from us, it is all up to you how you decide to move forward.

Next why are you picking up HER boy from school. that is her job, or bio dads. Not the boyfriend.

 

caninelover's picture

Now is probably a good time to be clear that you won't provide financial support for her son, and expect her and the Bio dad to do so.

It sounds like she is expecting you to do so and those expenses were testing the water.

hereiam's picture

Yes, men are not the only ones who assume certain gender roles (like the woman will take care of her husband's kids). There are plenty of women who think the man should provide financial support, even for a kid that is not his.

OP-the kid has two parents to provide for him. Anything that you contribute (like the dinners out or whatever) is at your discretion.

hereiam's picture

Also, I don't want to say your GF is sneaky, well, I guess I do, because she KNOWS those are not "house" expenses. And, it wasn't an innocent oversight, considering she got pissed when you confronted her.

Dmiami76's picture

Yes it's sneaky, I'm not sure it's about the money I think she might be trying to push me into a husband and father role through manipulation, I'm not sure.

Thumper's picture

Sir, YES it is a red flag

where is the 600 going in child support? Do you see where is goes OR is she padding it in a private saving's account?

She should be paying you 2/3 of all expenses to your 1/3

PLEASE protect yourself before she becomes pregnant THEN you are really stuck.

sorry to be so blunt.

Welcome to step talk...

Does she work?

 

 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Sounds like the two of you need to sit down to talk about finances, responsibilities, goals and points of view. You need to spell out even the uncomfortable stuff, like how you like her son but he already has two parents who are responsible for his support. 

To be clear, you are not obligated to support or parent her child in any way. What you choose to do for him should be extra, not expected. Your gf is still a single parent, even if she lives with a SO. Sure, there's lots of room for compromise, but it's important to communicate clearly from the beginning so everyone knows what their role is and is not. The top two reasons for divorce are differences in parenting and differences in financial philosophy, so talk this stuff out now.

 

Thumper's picture

Hmmmmmmmmm

'just saying'...everyone.

simifan's picture

INFO: Where is the Child Support going? If she wants to deduct child expenses $1200.00 ($600.00 from ex & THE AMOUNT SO IS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE TO CHILD SUPPORT) should be going into the joint fund. 

This should have been hashed out before you moved in together. At this point, I'd have a counselor moderate as a 3rd party. 

stepmomnorth's picture

Since you have a joint account together now I would definitely sit down for a financial discussion together where the 2 of you can work out the expenses of the joint account together. I would get and paper and write down any expenses the 2 of you would like to come out of the account. I would make it very clear as to avoid confusion. I would also discuss which items are to be handled separately. This needs to be done before any precedent is set etc. For example your car insurance, any daycare and kids sports are to be handled individually, under a different account. I would also suggest having your own separate accounts to be used for things like dinners eating out, discretionary spending such as gifts and gas money. 

For example, my partner and I share a joint account. Our mortgage comes out. We each put half of the amount of our set monthly bills for internet, hot water heater and  gas. NOTHING and I mean nothing, else comes out of that account ever. We alternate getting groceries every week. We pay the roughly the same amount on groceries. Imo anyhow I don't like to get picky about who pays more for groceries, we all live together as a family. That's how I look at it anyhow. 

stepmomnorth's picture

Just throwing this out there but if you could figure out how much those set split bills are, each of you could put half into the account each month and ONLY those things come out.

If, after discussing you can't agree on how the joint account will or should be alloted, if it are me I would say NO to having a joint account altogether. You have to be able to trust each other with the finances involved with having an account together. This means it must be agreed upon how it will be used. 

WwCorgi7's picture

As many others have asked where is the childsupport going? She should be contributing more towards groceries. As far as haircuts and daycare that is her sole expense not yours. You are not responsible for that. Since this is all new you should get finances and your level of involvement in his daily care ironed out asap so there won't be any conflict going forward. However, I think the joke was in poor taste and made you come across as petty.

Sparkl3s's picture

That's a no from me, she has no right to get mad. I'm going to reach and say she was adding little expenses that should be her and her son's father financial obligations slowly to see if you noticed/said anything. 
 

I'm going to give you the same advise I've given childless woman, don't start doing anything you don't want to do for the step kid forever. Whatever you choose to do is up you but your girlfriend's son has a father. Have the "hard" conversations now of how you see your role in the relationship, his inadequacy isn't your fault or responsibility to fix. I went with dad's gf and now dad's wife, I help my hubby when needed if needed but otherwise I'm hands off. 
 

There are a few step parents on here that have embraced being a mom/dad but there aren't very many success stories, where they don't feel taken advantage of as ATMs or free daycare/maids/baby sisters. 

stepmomnorth's picture

Here in Canada, it's cut and dry. There is child support given. But above that, there is what is referred to as Extraordinary expenses. Do a google on that. It's expenses that are in addition to child support, such as daycare, sports and hobbies such as piano lessons and dental premiums and orthodontic braces. These extraordinary expenses are split between the 2 biological parents only, according to income. Not sure if this applies? Regardless these are her expenses and not yours. . Things such as haircuts and and clothing are paid by them also and not from joint funds. Theres sometimes gray areas. Such as my partner and I are out with his skids and I buy us all ice-cream or he's out with mine and we all get hot chocolate. So it's not black and white. But just have to over time figure out an agreement between the two of you of how you'd like these expenses handled. 

Dmiami76's picture

Thanks for all the replies, I definitely need some advice. She does have a job and we make about the same money.  She does seem to spend most of the $600 on her son but the more I think about $150 a week is a lot. For some reason she try's to get me to spend money on her and the kid from time to time. She talks about how I'm a step dad now and we're a family. I'm not sure if it's about the money or more a manipulation tactic to get me to take the role of husband and father since it didn't work out with the biological father. Dating a single parent is so complicated lol

Olivia2020's picture

and I'm still floored about a 2 yr old boy's $25 haircut? Not sure where you live (LA or NYC?) where a haircut for a kid is this expensive. I raised my son since his dad and I divorced when son was 6 yrs old. My son's dad remarried a few years later, I chose to remain unmarried while raising my son. I didn't expect my son's dad's wife to care for or pay anything for my son, while I received minimal child support, I earned a nice salary. We did have one agreement in place, that if I were to get stuck at the hospital (where I worked in downtown Dallas) and or stuck in parking lot type traffic and unable to pick up my son from afterschool care, I could call my son's dad to ask her or I could call her directly to see if she was available to pick him up before afterschool care closed. This happened only twice before I was hired at a hospital close to where we lived, our homes were 10 minutes apart. We all got along, no drama. I always thanked her and would send something she liked with my son next time he visited them on a weekend. The point is this...your SO knows that her kid's expenses are not your responsibility. Also, you are not a step-dad and dicipline and childrearing are best left to the two bio parents the little boy has in his life. Pace yourself, have the budget discussion with her and make sure you don't have a lot of money (or overdraft to your bank account) that could be used without a mutual agreement. 

Things get really foggy when finances are concerend and seems like clarity...now...is the best way to resolve this before it gets ugly. Both of you seem to have different expectations and discussing those right now are important. Just my two or three cents...and from living with someone several years ago (for a year) that kept track of the 40% I 'owed' for living expenses each month.  He put a storage unit rental fee, a unit that had no room for my boxes, so he expected me to pay half when he used all of it for him and his two kids stuff. 

Loxy's picture

I live in Australia and that would be the cost of a normal hair cut (ie at an average, not fancy hairdressers). 

stepmomnorth's picture

I would definitely use caution using the joint account together. Have the discussion, there has to be total transparency and agreement about how it will be used, for what type of expenses.

hereiam's picture

She talks about how I'm a step dad now and we're a family. I'm not sure if it's about the money or more a manipulation tactic to get me to take the role of husband and father

It sounds like it's both.

Why do you pick him up from school? There is nothing wrong with helping your partner out here and there, but be careful of getting stuck in that role. She needs to ask and not just expect that it's your job, she should be okay when you say, "no", and she should be appreciative when you do it.

I know this hard to deal with; you just moved in together, you have been with her for two years, and feel like you should be able to trust her. You want to trust her, but you have a bunch of women on this site telling you that you definitely have some red flags. We know how manipulative women (and single parents who want someone to fill that other parent role) can be.

Please don't overlook these red flags. You are going to have to have the tough conversation with her, and it might not go well. She is going to get upset and defensive, come up with justifications (we are a family), and when you disagree on certain points, she is going to claim that you don't love her or her son.

She works AND she gets 600.00 a month CS, there is no reason that you should have to cover anything for her son.

This is the stuff that can cause A LOT of resentment, over time. Draw your boundaries, now. It's a HUGE red flag if she gives you push back. She should be perfectly willing to support and take care of her own son. Being in a relationship with her, moving in with her, even marrying her, does not make you responsible for her son (that would be called, "adoption").

Dogmom1321's picture

HUGE red flag. Personally, I feel like she is taking advantage of you. It's not that she CAN'T afford a $25 haircut for her son. She just WANTS you to pay for it. Sounds like she is pushing you into a step-dad role to guilt you into these things (school pick up, etc.) 

Personally I wouldn't have a joint account at all. If rent is $1,000 each month for example, then she can Venmo you her portion. No need to put money in, if you have to monitor what it is being spent on. Especially if she is sneaky about it. When I moved in with my BF (now DH), he had a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo. I would give him 1/3 for monthly expenses and HE was the one that suggested it. He didn't expect me to cover a portion of his daughter's living expenses. 

SeeYouNever's picture

There is no right or wrong level of involvement for a stepparent. The important thing is you are doing what you're comfortable with. For some people that's nothing, for others they are more of a parent than the bios. For most it's in between.

You need to explain this to your GF. She might have certain expectations and desires for your role in the family and you need to explain you're not comfortable with that level. You may be later but right now the more she pushes it the more you question things. It's best to let it evolve naturally.

My thought is that anything a stepparent does for a stepkids is voluntary and should be appreciated, but not expected. Splitting living costs is one thing, but all those extras should be when you want them. I would contribute your half to this account and if she starts dipping into it for other things then explain that this is an account for bills only. Maybe you need to list out what the account is for like rent, power, water, cable, phone... And what it isn't for like entertainment, car notes...etc...

Ive been with my DH for 7 years now and we don't share accounts. You don't have to do it.

hereiam's picture

Been with my DH for 25 years and we don't share accounts, either. It's not a requirement and it doesn't work for everybody.

Harry's picture

Are still looking for that big Happy Family.  The one that did not work the first time.  She wants you to love SS as your own.  And take care of him as your own.  And all be happy together.  So a few hundred $ a month is no big deal for you. You must see this is how it's going.  Or going to be.  You taking SS everywhere, Very little alone time.  You taking SS on all vacations. 
Question. Do you have any alone time except when BF picks up SS. ?   Does she get a babysitter, and you go out alone?   Do you ever talk about doing adult things alone?  Going on get a ways?

You must realize this is how she see life.  It's your choice what to do  

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I agree that this is what she wants. Sometimes (like with Rags, who replied below), that can work if the couple prioritizes each other, makes time for each other, and if the stepparent is given the parental role by the bio (and, from what i can tell, if the "missing" bioparent isn't too much of a presence in the child and couple's life.) Also, though, the step has to be on board and they have to be on the same page. This OP is clearly not "down" for that, and it seems his SO is trying to force or sneak the responsibilities onto him. 

Dmiami76's picture

Now that we live together the only time we are alone is when BF picks up SS. I see now that she is doing exactly what you said. I always approached this situation like her and I where a separate thing from her son. I don't mind helping her with him here and there and he's a good kid, but we're not a traditional family. I also noticed that since she has full custody she was going to cut back on BFs visits (they always  have something to fight over) until I actually said if he wasn't involved in his life I wouldn't want to live together. I kinda feel like a sucker at this point lol

Rags's picture

Single people with children are looking for a family.  Single people without children are looking for a partnership.

It appears that this applies very well to your relationship with  your GF.

I was never looking for a family.  I am the childless partner in our marriage.   Interestingly, my DW was more focused on a partnership though certainly she was also  cognizant that I would have to be a decent enough man to set an example for her toddler.  
 

Blended family marriages require strong partnership and balance. At lest the ones where the partners are happy.

IMHO

Winterglow's picture

Full custody? Check the court order. It's very, very unusual for a mother to be able to dictate visitation. 

Glad you stood your ground. 

She's looking for a new daddy for her child as if fathers are disposable... 

Dmiami76's picture

They've never been to court, he has 3 other kids to pay for and they're agreement is verbal, but his name is on the birth certificate 

Rags's picture

We never had this conversation.  Not even while dating.  We met when SS was 15mos old.  We did not live together until we married the week before SS turned 2yo.  If we were on a date I paid.  We each paid our own bills.

After we married we blended finances and all income was family income.  Bills were paid, haircuts were obtained, etc.....  

stepmomnorth's picture

Ya that's not really a good sign if she is trying to have bio dad not involved in the child's life any longer.. 

Winterglow's picture

She's shopping for a new daddy... OP, ask yourself what will happen when she decides to move on to someone else when you've built a relationship with the child? Who's going to suffer the most? 

Loxy's picture

Does she share the CS money with you ie does it go into a joint account? If not, then I don't think it's fair for her to be asking you to split costs for her son.

That being said, I do think that when you take someone with a kid you will incur some additional expenses - it's part and parcel of the commitment so it's one you want to think very hard about. The time is also now to have these discussions, set boundaries and align expectations.

I've fully blended all money with my DH and we did that from the start. It works for us but I understand it's not or everyone. I do think though that you run the risk of constant fights if arguing over minor details like items on grocery bills etc. My skids tell me that BM and her husband fight all the time about the little costs ie grocery bills etc. So I'm assuming they mostly don't blend finances and it's a constant source of tension as a result. 

I'm also curious, what would happen if you had a kid or kids together? Would you still expect her to cover all expenses for SS while she's off work caring for your child? These are big questions you need to discuss now before you progress the relationship any further. 

I would strongly recommend counselling to support these difficult conversations and align expectations. It will also confirm one way or the other whether you have the basis for a solid relationship or not. 

Loxy's picture

Does she share the CS money with you ie does it go into a joint account? If not, then I don't think it's fair for her to be asking you to split costs for her son.

That being said, I do think that when you take on someone with a kid you will incur some additional expenses - it's part and parcel of the commitment so it's one you want to think very hard about. The time is also now to have these discussions, set boundaries and align expectations.

I've fully blended all money with my DH and we did that from the start. It works for us but I understand it's not or everyone. I do think though that you run the risk of constant fights if arguing over minor details like items on grocery bills etc. My skids tell me that BM and her husband fight all the time about the little costs ie grocery bills etc. So I'm assuming they mostly don't blend finances and it's a constant source of tension as a result. 

I'm also curious, what would happen if you had a kid or kids together? Would you still expect her to cover all expenses for SS while she's off work caring for your child? These are big questions you need to discuss now before you progress the relationship any further. 

I would strongly recommend counselling to support these difficult conversations and align expectations. It will also confirm one way or the other whether you have the basis for a solid relationship or not. 

Lifer33's picture

Having read all the comments I believe the biggest red flag is trying to cut the fathers visitation down and replace him with you. Does that sound like a good and moral thing to do?! 

Dmiami76's picture

They were always fighting when I first meet her, it was me that actually pushed her into him having regular visists so we could have some time alone. It's not just her, this is his 4th child and he really doesn't seem to care that much if he sees him or not. I am realizing that she is looking for a replacement daddy/husband and not really a partner/SD and I'm not really comfortable with that, espaecially since his BF will be coming and going the rest of his childhood. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

It's one thing to step into the parent role when the missing bioparent isn't in the picture. But, if he's coming and going, and paying, and she wants you to also do the majority of the work, and also paying, she is looking for 2 men to fill the daddy role. Greedy b-word lol. 

Also, not being sexist. A lot of men we write about want to "have their cake and eat it too", keeping both BM and the stepmom around and doing all the work. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think you are starting to see things for what they are, but in case you need reinforcement:

1.) Every other weekend visitation is pretty standard. 50/50 is starting to become the norm, but if a BM puts up any fuss, judges will rule that BM is the custodial parent and BF is the non-custodial. So, BF getting his son EOWE isn't him being "sorta involved". It's him being as involved as court has allowed.

2.) $600 in CS for one of multiple kids that BF pays for is a LOT. BF either makes bank or he's terrified of losing access to his son so he pays a large amount of CS for EOWE visitation. And $600, combined with what your GF should be contributing, is more than enough to support a child, ESPECIALLY since you're helping split rent and utilities (and any other "joint" payments like a cell phone). There is no need for you to help her finance her child outside what you might WANT to finance (like the occasional toy or Happy Meal).

3.) The fact that she told you that she wanted to cut down on BF's EOWE visitation and it took you saying that you wouldn't live with her (i.e. won't split expenses with her) should terrify you. What she'll do to one man she'll do to another. Don't let her get pregnant or you'll be paying $600+ a month for EOWE visitation and her trying to cut down on that further.

4.) Joint expenses are a fairly narrow set of expenses. Rent/mortgage, utilities, groceriesjoint bills, and joint savings that you two have agreed on are about it. Since you two make similar amounts, it should be you paying 1/3 of rent, utilities, and groceries and her paying 2/3 since she has the responsibility of two people. Other joint expenses/savings should be 50/50. If she balks at that, then she's not financially mature enough to have joint accounts. Split your finances and you can give her 1/3 towards rent and utilities and buy your own groceries. If that's not how you want to live, then make sure she realizes that this type of financial arrangements is necessary for you to continue to be in this relationship. Yes, you should walk if she tries to use you for money.

She already benefits financially just by having a partner with similar income. She also gets consistent CS. She's also gainfully employed. There is zero reason for her to need your money. If she wants to live the nuclear family life, she needs to reconcile with her ex. The reality of her situation is that she is a single mom with a boyfriend, and she needs to adjust her expectations of what her life is accordingly.

Loxy's picture

I am very curious to know more about the family court system in the US as I find it extraordinary in modern times that it’s considered “standard” for men to only get one weekend a fortnight with their children(s). Is that consistent across all states? Do any states have shared custody / equal parenting rights as the norm?

It also seems like court orders are the norm as well in the US – is that because it’s required to go to court to finalise custody arrangements? 

In Australia (and I think UK too) shared custody / equal parenting rights are the norm and have been for decades. While I believe the family court system still favours mothers somewhat, if a father wants equal custody then unless there are any concerns about the children’s safety, he will get it. Cases only go to court if the parents can’t agree and/or work through their differences themselves or via mediation, hence court orders are not the norm either.

My DH would have been devestated at only being able to see his kids one weekend a fortnight. It seems very unfair to me. 

Rags's picture

The only consistent thing about the family law system in the US is that it is inconsistent.  Not only is it inconsistent State to State, it is inconsistent between 2 cases back to back in front of the same judge on the same day.

It is a cash cow for lawyers, Counties, Courts and far more often than not..... BMs.

 

lieutenant_dad's picture

The family court system in the US has many flaws. If parents can come to an agreement without going to court, awesome. If it has to go before a judge, though, it becomes "pay to play" for dads. A father getting more than EOWE custody is going to be a challenge if BM contests it, and Dad likely only has a chance if he's paying top dollar to an attorney who has a good record with the judge.

About 6 years ago, my realtor and his wife got divorced. He was the breadwinner in the household working two jobs (realtor and another gig for benefits). She worked part-time. He was the coach for his kids' little league teams and was a super involved father. She cheated, and even after therapy, she wanted the divorce.

She fought 50/50 and he ended up with 40/60. She had the opportunity to go back to work full-time, but she didn't want to and ended up receiving CS. Remember how I said he was their little league coach? Yeah, he saw - and interacted with and coached - his kids most days of the week, but because they slept at Mom's house, he got no credit for that time. Lost the house in the divorce, still paid several hundred dollars per month in CS, and still saw his kids nearly daily (but god forbid that be reflected in his CO).

It's pretty corrupt in some parts of the country. My parents' judge was actually removed from the bench (and maybe disbarred, can't remember) because he was sending parents through expensive parenting/therapy classes to finalize the divorce - and he was either getting money from it or a family member was. He caused A LOT of issues for parents.

So...yeah. There is definitely a push toward 50/50, but CS is a big money-maker in the states. Even if you get 50/50, visitation isn't tied to CS. You can still end up owing CS, and many states require you to use their system to pay. Hell, my DH has physical custody of YSS and BM is currently taking EOWE and some extra days during breaks. However, because we're an income equalization state, DH may still end up owing BM money after they get their new CO in place because of how much money he makes compared to BM. It's nuts.

Loxy's picture

That's all very interesting. I would say the CS system is broken here in Australia too but it's not decided or tied to the court system - it's separate and the same rules apply to all states across the country as it's managed by the Federal Government. CS is based on custody (ie number of nights) and income. They use tax returns to mesaure income so that's one big flaw as there is a lag (ie it represents past income as opposed to current) and people often just avoid doing their tax returns (sometimes for years) to avoid rises in CS as a result of rises in income. 

My big issue with CS is that there doesnt seem to be a cap ie a point where the agency says well both parents earn good money and custody is shared so CS isn't necessary. That's our situation. DH and BM are both high income earners, custody (and all costs related to the kids) is shared equally. But because DH has always earned more, we pay CS. We have tried to get BM to agree to scrap it as it's a pain in the butt dealing with the CS agency but she clings to that extra bit of money each week that makes no difference to the skids lives. It's very frustrating!

Rags's picture

An interesting characteristic of the Income Shares model of CS used in many States is that CS can go up when it is the CP with a notable and increasing advantage in income.  Which is exactly what happened  with my DW's CS order.  As her career skyrocketed as she progressed  through her dual major BS, MBA, then CPA and the Spermidiot made every effort to earn as little as possible in an effort to avoid CS his CS just kept going up.

The total combined income of DW and dumbass combined with 87:13 long distance visitation resulted in the NCP/Spermidiot paying more CS every raise my DW received while his income remained stagnant and he added 3 more out of wedlock spawn.

stepmomnorth's picture

2 adults living together I think the rent should be split half and half, regardless of who's kids. A third of the rent... Seems kinda ridiculous. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Ridiculous in this situation or generally speaking?

Sure, I'd concede in this situation that half and half would be okay. However, if one person has no kids and the other has three, that is a HUGE difference in the amount of house that they need. A single person only needs one bedroom and doesn't have to concern themselves with the school system they live in, if they're on bus routes, etc. A parent with three kids, though, needs at least 3 bedrooms. They may also be restricted to a specific area due to public transportation, school districts, etc.

A three bedroom home in a good school district with transportation is going to cost more. That is an expense the parent agrees to when they have children, and their partner shouldn't be saddled with 50% of an expense that they don't need fully. This is especially true if the parent partner receives CS which is meant to cover part of the cost of housing.

Every couple has to have the conversation about finances, but it's not ridiculous for a SP with fewer responsibilities to pay for less of shared expenses that they don't need.

ETA: General rule should be that you don't end up worse financially by being in a relationship than you would be if you were single. You shouldn't be putting in more resources and getting less or nothing out of them, especially if your partner is benefiting and able to keep or grow their resources.

This is how some people end up financially screwed in splits/divorces. Instead of having a safety net for themselves, they spend their cash on someone else's responsibilities out of love. And it's not just SKs - it's paying student loan debt, car payments, credit cards, etc. As much as folks want to romanticize joining finances, they have to look at the reality that second marriages and step/blended families have extremely high failure rates. Being financially ruined in the name of love is not worth it if you can avoid it.

So, yes, especially while dating when there are no legal requirements on how money will be split post-divorce, pay for yourself and joint expenses with your partner. Don't overpay, though, just because it seems ridiculous. That extra $100+ a month becomes an emergency fund, or vacation fund, or new car fund, really quick.

Rags's picture

Yep, a partner in a blended family relationship that brings kids is generally looking for a family, a partner in a blended family relationship that brings no children to the blend, is is generally looking for a partner.

The motivators that influence both partners can have notable inpact on their relative perspective on splitting bills and over all financial structure within the partnership.

stepmomnorth's picture

Dmiami has she given you a valid reason for limiting bio dads custody? I would take a good hard look into this. This, is another red flag.  For example my partners ex ran off to another city with the kids meaning that my partners custody was reduced to EOWE. She purely wanted more child support.... Bio dad had to pay the price. 

relationshipguru's picture

She should be paying for his haircuts and groceries, not you. That is what her child support check is for. You pay your share. Don't be taken advantage of. This could be a one sided relationship where you are there only to provide. There are definitely some red flags there. Any word on her relationship history and what ended her marriage?

Dmiami76's picture

her and her previous partner BF spit because he has 3 other children with 2 different women and would cheat on her with them. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

First of all, do you know for a fact this is true?

And second of all, even if it is, that doesn't mean he should get less time with his child. Being a bad partner isn't grounds for limiting parenting rights and custody. Emotionally, it might make your GF feel better, but it comes at the cost of the relationship and bond her son will have with his dad. That will eff up her son in the long run.

It's entirely possible for both of them to be wrong: wrong that he cheated on her, but also wrong that she withholds or limits visitation. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Dmiami76's picture

They have arguments and he'll go awol for a couple months, she has to beg for him to do every other weekend. She just tells me when he's having one of his disappearing episodes she not going to talk to him when he finally calls and I have to push her to smooth things over. Honestly the situation with the BF sucks because of him, I've listened to all the arguments. My main reason for posting here was because I felt like with as much child support she was getting she was trying to hustle me, but after all the comments here I realize I don't think it's about the money. She added those things to our joint expenses to try to push me into a husband and father role. She talks about how much her son loves me and misses me when I'm on a work trip. I think she is imagining she can still have a traditional family in some way. For me that is impossible, he's a good kid, but as soon as I hear something like "you're not my dad" it blows the doors off of that fantasy. I have to talk to her and explain we can be a family, but I'm not a replacement for BF.

Rags's picture

Not a cut and dry issue IMHO.  The contra position is that a bad influence is a bad influence.  Parent or not. Quality of character and personal quality are not topical characteristics IMHO. They are comprehensive.

A shitty person is a shitty person. Kids do not need to be exposed to a shitty person.   Regardless of if that shit is their parent or not.

Our situation had a lot to do with this.  My SS-29's SpermDad was little more than the donor.  If we could have eliminated all contact between SS and that entire shallow and polluted gene pool we would have.   Of course the CO prevented that and we never denied visitation.

My opinion on this extends beyond just that shitty parent. The idiots who raised that shitty parent have no business having any influence of a kid who is unfortunate enough to have been a product of those two generations of shit people and shit parents.

Though no doubt I am jaded on this topic by our experiences of 16+ years under a CO that forced our kid into their presence.

It would have been wrong for us to have interfered in the SpermClan time with SS and his time with them.  As much as we may have wished we could have.

Sadly, it is the kids who suffer in these situations.  Either by having to spend time with shit, or..... being denied a relationship that they should have with a parent. As you said, two wrongs do not make a right.

There is no easy solution to any of this and as we all experience, the variables are nearly infinite.

Just my thoughts of course.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I've seen this in my own family. I have a cousin with 3 kids by 3 BMs. This cousin just can't get it right. Can't keep a job or a relationship. All 3 of his kids are girls. He signed his rights away for the oldest and her stepfather adopted her. She is by far the most well-adjusted and successful of all his kids. The best thing my cousin ever did for her was to not have anything to do with raising her. He had more of a presence in the lives of his other 2, and the other one who's an adult has emotional and behavior issues. She is really struggling. I'm sure the BMs have a lot to do with it too, but the difference between the 2 adult daughters is striking. I don't know how the oldest would have turned out if she was going back and forth between houses, or if my cousin was interfering with her "real" parents' lives. 

Rags's picture

My SS is the eldest of 4 by three different baby mommas.  He was raised by his mom and I in a stable marriage family environment.  We never lived near enough to SpermLand for anything but long distance visitation so his exposure was brief and infrequent enough that he escaped the majority of that genetic shit show.

Our son is thriving as an adult.  #2 is barely viable, #3 is in prison and #4 isn't far behind #3.

Winterglow's picture

Even if this is true, it doesn't make him any less of a father and should not have any bearing on his visitation. 

Tried out's picture

said the bio dad gets mad at the mom and disappears with no contact. It's not mom cutting dad out of the picture.

bananaseedo's picture

I know a lot of us on this board deal with dads that want more time and don't get it- but from what he said, my own personal experience and that of millions of others, there are PLENTY of dead-beat fathers that want little to nothing to do with seeing their own children.

Rags's picture

My Skid's Spermidiot for example.  For 16+ Years of COd visitation he saw my SS maybe 3-4 days out of 7 weeks of visitation per year. And those were usually only partial days.  The schedule was 5wks summer, 1 wk winter and 1wk spring.

Harry's picture

You see the writing on the wall.  If you want a good, loving relationship with this woman. Forget the splitting of money.  There are always problems that come up. Car repairs, house repairs, losing jobs, sickness ect.  That you will have to pay more then you think is your share 

your SO doesn't have money for Dr bills , meds,  what are you going to say. Stay sick until next month. Are you going to spend all your time doing bookkeeping?   
Kids are expensive, kids are pit you throw money into.  Either forget about money try for the happy family or leave 

Dmiami76's picture

Thanks for all the comments everybody, I really look up to everybody here. What a thankless job it is to help raise another person's child. I'm just starting to understand what it takes to be a stepparent and it's a very difficult situation to be in, especially if you fell in love before you ever meet the SKs. I realize now after being pressured into moving in together and constantly talking about getting engaged and how I'm a stepdad now, my girlfriend is looking for a man to replace the BF and keep that dream of a big happy family alive. I'm not interested in that and I can't imagine anybody that would be. I naively went into this thinking her son already had a father and there wouldn't be much for me to do LOL. I've learned the hard way and thanks for all the advice.