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Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Just a question as alot of stuff recently has been on my mind and this most recent thing is really worrying me. 

Is it normal for a SO to pay their ex wifes debt? 

I don't know if he has or not, but I found a part of a letter in his bag the other day addressed to BM so she had obvs given it to him. It was for unpaid debt from claiming too much benefits - from the date they split and he moved out. 

Now, he has told me he isn't paying it and hasn't paid it but I have an awful gut feeling he will have just for an easy life. 

Problem is we are trying to pay for our wedding, already have our own debt and I am sooooo careful with what I spend as I'm only part time I have nothing after the mortgage is paid. He used to transfer the mortgage money into my account but during lockdown he said we were struggling since paying for the wedding so I told him not to worry and with overtime I'm getting from work ill manage. We have 1 daughter togrther and he has 3 boys to her - one of which lives with us full time. ALL my money is spent on stuff for the house or the kids - primarily my daughter but I do treat the boys as well when I can. 

My question is, if he pays her debt on his credit card for example, is it any of my business since he is paying for bills etc for our house? I only work part time so he picks up most of the bills but I feel this is something he should not have even considered and shouldn't have even taken the letter off of her. He should have told her flat no. He said he hasn't paid it and unless I snooped through his card statements I'd probably never find out if he has but he already treated me like a fool when I asked him about it and he said oh she just wants me to see if I paid it from my account already back in those dates its from. Think shes trying to dispute it. Bullsh*t. I'm not an idiot. She ripped the bottom half of the letter off because all he needed to know was the amount owed and not how much she has been given every month. 

Sorry for ranting I just feel that sometimes I stress myself out over stuff I can't control or do anything about - or perhaps shouldn't be stressing about in the first place! But something like putting OUR family under financial strain to make sure she isn't, is not in my opinion acceptable. I really hope he hasn't paid it otherwise he's lied to my face twice!

JRI's picture

Im a lot older than you, I'm 75 but my DH paid stuff for BM after they'd divorced, too..  I just hated when I found out.  And it wasnt just one time.  He would give her the CS money, foolish us, we thought it would go to pay the utilities and house payment.  Then she would send the overdue utility bills and shut-off notices in the kids' bags.  So, actually, we were paying twice on top of all the other expenses.  I was livid.  We finally ended up paying the utilities and house payment directly.  Then, her car went on the fritz so he bought her one!  Of course, she didnt work.  So, I know exactly how you are feeling.

I don't have any advice, if I had figured it out for myself, things would have been lots better.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Oh my gosh! And you knew nothing about any of this? 

Do you think it's normal for this to happen? My main issue is that he would never have told me about it had I not found the letter. It makes him seem shady and makes me wonder what else he's paid for that he's told me nothing about. It can't be passed off as for the kids because I already told him that he isn't paying it and if it means the boys need to eat her every evening to make sure they don't go hungry than so be it but she pays the debt herself. I think it went in one ear and out the other but I could be wrong. I just don't know how id ever know but the thought of him putting us under financial strain behind my back is upsetting. And I know what he's like. Hed do anything for an easy life when it comes to her so if shes ranting and raving and causing issues hed just do it. 

JRI's picture

Back in those days, DH was handling some of the finances, I cant temembet exactly how that went.  He had access to cash.  Seems like it was a slow realization for me.  As time went on, I started handling all the $ which is when it all stopped.  This was in the pre-charge card days.  Heaven only knows that he'd have done with a charge card.  He was Mr. Guilty Dad, didn't want his kids to suffer so all she had to do was whine for the good of the kids.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

My other half just doesn't have a back home and wants to keep everyone happy. I just wish that his main priority was keeping his future wife and kids happy and not putting his ex in the same bracket. Drives me insane 

JRI's picture

I know BM casually before DH and I got together and once heard her say, " I know how to get money out of him". All I can say is, yes, she did.   He was like your BF, took the easy path to keep everybody happy, except me.

tog redux's picture

Not unless he's been court-ordered to, as part of the divorce - that does happen. If not, then it's completely inappropriate, and it's likely not going to stop, either.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

I don't want him to be afraid of me. I want him to realise she isn't his responsibility anymore. Like I said he has said he's hasn't and isn't paying it but the fact he didn't even tell me about the letter in the first place suggests to me he was either going to or has. Problem is I'll never know unless I go snooping in his bank statements. Is this a common thing though? Should this happen? What if he loses his job? Who ends up paying?! What if something breaks in our house and he's/we're in so much debt because of he we can't fix it? I just worry but he has denied it twice so I suppose I just have to take his word for it 

Floral_SM's picture

As your fiancé he should be honest with you about finances for sure. My DH is honest with me about CS assessments that come through the mail. It technically hasn't got to do with me as it's his problem and his money, but I am his wife and live on his wage too so it does affect me (I'm at stay at home mum with our baby at the moment).
If there is a marriage then from my understanding of the law here, all debts from that marriage is in fact his debt too. So if she wants to take him to court to get money out of him, if they were married, she has that entitlement. It's a crap thing but I guess thats some of the weight to commitment on marriage. If it's a debt after the divorce then I'm not sure if it's liable for him to pay.. again he should keep you in the loop anyway so you can help support him in this issue. 
My DH never married BM thank god, but I would feel pretty crappy if he had that debt to be paid and didn't feel he could be honest and tell me.
So I guess with what your dealing with it's a pain to pay it, but you are his partner and he should have the respect in telling you where your finances are going. 


Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Thank you. So they separated before the date this debt is from but didn't divorce until after it but the debt is benefits claimed because by the looks of it she hasn't declared change in circumstances. That is not his fault. But like you say he should be honest with me. That's what upsets me the most is that he didn't tell me about it. Like I said I don't know if he's paid it or is paying it or if he is being truthful and not paying it but either way he would never have told me if I didn't find the letter. 

Floral_SM's picture

That remindes me of my ex bf. I would find things out by snooping and then confront him, and he used to say 'you never asked'. Like I had to ask specific q's to find out things. I couldn't deal with that and also always wondering what else i didn't know. 

I'm sorry you are going through a similar experience. Make sure you get him to understand where you are coming from so he can keep things in the loop with you, because you never want to be that insecure wife always wondering what your H isn't telling you. Especially when it comes to finances. You don't deserve that, especially already taking on his kids in your life. You need that respect. 

tog redux's picture

If they aren't yet divorced, then it could in fact be marital debt that he has to pay.

You need to have an upfront conversation with him about it. 

Peach's picture

No, this is not normal and should not be done.  She is not his responsibility and she is the one with the bill; she should pay it.  You said that he has lied to your face twice.  What was the other time?  Big red flags here.  It will only get worse.  I was with a fiance before DH, and we had comingled some of our finances.  He went to take a large loan to help BM (like $15k) and never told me.  I was out of there within 9 months or so.  It is just not worth it.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

He has only lied to me twice if he in fact does or has already paid it. I have asked him and told him my views and he said he has no intention of paying it. My worry is he didn't even tell me about the letter in the first place which leads me to think he is or at least was considering it. Unless I snoop through his statements I will never know if he actually has or does pay it. Providing he continues to support this family as if nothing has changed I will have absolutely no clue. 

I just really wanted to know whether this is a common thing - paying debts for ex wives - that happens and if it is normal and am I justified in having my nose put out of joint or if I'm over reacting by being so concerned 

ndc's picture

Here's the problem with him lying to you "only twice" - you now have reason to not believe him, and it sounds like you don't.  As such, I think it is perfectly appropriate to tell him he has lost your trust and ask him to demonstrate his truthfulness this time by showing you his complete finances, including the statements that would show whether he has given anything to BM.  He caused the lack of trust, he needs to deal with it.

Movingonisbest's picture

Since he has already lied to you, it makes it that much easier to lie to you again and again. Do you think he would be ok if you were paying an ex's debt while in a relationship with you? Do you really want to marry a man you can't trust? I know I sure as hell wouldn't.

Kelly_thestepmum_in20s's picture

Before H & his XW separated/divorced. They were in some debts which needed to be paid up. From H's mouth, the XW made him to buy expensive stuff on credit without realising that she had an exit plan. After the divorce, DH left to pay up all the debts without a cent from her.


Our first year of dating, he opened up to me about the debts and he has managed to kill off the debts before we tied the knot.

Hopefully your SO is being truthful to you. 

Wilhelm's picture

My suggestion for a happy on going relationship is to keep your finances seperate. Have a joint account for shared living expenses into which you both pay. Include some money towards the wedding. Anything left over from income is then free for the party earning said income to spend as they wish no questions asked. 
If you are on a tight budget and there is no leftover money it cannot be given away. 

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Technically if we did this, I couldn't question if he wanted to pay her debts. Issue is if we did this id have nothing left. The mortgagecomes out of my account and he picks up all the bills and main food shop. I do odd little bits through the week of stuff we need. 

He uses his credit card for everything which is my worry as I don't know what's on there. And if he's paying her debts it's 3k more than it needs to be. But from what you've said I shouldn't question what he does withhis money so perhaps that's how I should think. So long as he doesnt die or lose his job or put us in financial strain it's not an issue I guess 

Steppedonnomore's picture

I think that before you are married, everything needs to be laid out on the table.  Each of you should know exactly how far in debt the other is as well as what arrangements are in place to pay the debt.  Once married, in some states you may be held responsible for the other's debts. 

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

He knows all my finances. I've hidden nothing. He knows what I pay out, how much I earn, what I have left (not alot after the mortgage) he now gives me £100 a month to make sure I have something after the mortgage comes out.  This used to be more but as he said we were struggling because of wedding payments I told him to reduce it and I am judt extremely careful. I just wish he was more open about stuff to do with her. All of it. If she wants us to have them more for whatever reason, if she's demanding money. Everything. He tells me nothing anymore. He used to tell me.everything. I'm sure it's to stop me stressing but sadly it just stresses me more because I have no idea what's happening what they're agreeing or how it's going to affect me and OUR daughter. Don't get me wrong he's very sensible with money but I don't particularly like the idea of us having a debt that should be hers and then us struggling to pay our wedding and still be comfortable. Might sound selfish but I don't care. I've put up with so much crp over the last 3 year's and bowed down to all of their every needs I'm just exhausted now. 

ESMOD's picture

I'm not 100% clear about the nature of this debt.... Was it related to his children's benefits somehow medical insurance etc?  Did HE benefit from this overpayment of benefits by reducing any payments he might have otherwise made?

If it was court ordered.. or the situation benefited him at the time... I can see him needing to pay the debt...even if it is technically in her name.  But, if this was a situation wholly created by BM and to benefit only her?  nope.. he should not be paying.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

It gets a bit complicated. His son lives with us full time and she never sees him and pays nothing for him yet I imagine she has been claiming child benefit for him for the last 6 years when he's not been living with her. 

We pay for anything the two younger ones need - shoes, school uniform, new clothes, even food of she says she's hard up (she doesn't work she has a benefits lifestyle and is actually probably much better off than us). 

Nothing was court ordered because they never went to court. Agreements about when we have them were done between the two of them (she is now trying to change this because she can't deal with one of their behaviours so wants us to have them all weekend every weekend. my OH hasn't been honest about this with me either but that's another issue - i had to snoop which I feel awful for doing).  

So basically we have the 2 younger ones probably 40% of the time taking off school hours and she has the eldest none. We pay alsorts for the 2 youngest, she pays nothing for the eldest but probably still claims for him. 

This debt from the dates is from when they split up and he moved out which leads me to believe she has been receiving more than she should have because she hasn't informed them of change in circumstances. 

He may not have paid it but I just can't fathom why he'd even have taken the letter off her and STILL have it in his bag?! He assures me he's not paying it but it just doesn't add up and the fact he bullsh'tted me when I asked him about it makes me even more concerned he's hiding the truth. 

ESMOD's picture

Not sure where you live... but in the US.. it is not unusual for someone to go to get CS ordered and any and all payments made prior to the official order become "gifts" and the person responsible for payment ends up owing a huge back CS amount.

Your household is at risk of having an obligation placed on you... even though it appears you may have the kids on an almost even basis.. CS is counted on "overnights"... so not sure if your calculation would appear as "even".

He really needs to get his financial obligation (or lack thereof) made official.   Maybe no CS at all would be ordered.. but if there is an obligation... he is risking not getting credit for what he already may have paid.

Unfortunately... relying on these "off table" agreements with high conflict EX'es can be very risky.


Guiltriddenameteur's picture

He won't go to court or make anything official. I had that conversation with him a long time ago when we first got together so that's a no go. Guess I'm just going to have to suck it up and hope we don't end up under financial strain because she bleeds him dry :( 

Merry's picture

I think you really deserve more than "hope" that you won't be under financial strain since you're marrying him.

His refusal to make anything official has the potential to make your life miserable. Is that really ok with you? Is this really what a loving partner would do? He should be doing everything he can to protect YOU, not somebody else.