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Full time step mom who still pays child support

L8D Reign's picture

Hello fellow step parents,

I suppose the purpose of this post is to just vent or maybe hear from some parents who have gone through similar situation to provide some encouragement. I have been in my SKs life for 8 years and I must say I am truly lucky because I have good kids. I have always been the more stable parent in their lives. Their bio mom is probably the worst example of a SAHM I have ever seen, just the things you would imagine they would be good at...she just sucks at it. She is highly religious and her belief is that is what a woman should do...even though as I mentioned she sucks at it. She remarried and her husband for lack of a better phrase is a dick and never treated my SKs like his own. My husband is in the military, so out of the 4 parental figures I was always the one the kids came to when they needed something. I would share custody with the BM and have the kids by myself while my DH was deployed for months. When we met I was a single mother of one child, whose father was fading out of the picture. I am educated, held a great paying job, and was actually told during my divorce proceedings that trying to get child support from my ex was wasted effort and if I could manage I should just move on as it wasn't worth ex is mentally ill. I did just that and when I met my now DH, my child and I were doing just fact since my ex wasn't squandering my money on drugs, we were doing better than I was when I was married.

On the surface, it didn't seem like much more work when I met my DH. I would just play back up essentially, as there were already 3 parents in place, by the time I showed up. Slowly over the years my role has evolved to me being the star player when I was just supposed to be the "water girl". We recently moved and the kids chose to move with us, a custody battle ensued, I wiped always many of tears, had the whole "hurt people, hurt people" talk with my SKs time and time again to help with the pain their bio mom kept inflicting. In the end, my husband agreed to continue to pay the same child support we did when they shared custody (over 1200) per month even though we would have the kids as money seemed to be a sticking point and he was desperate for her to agree to a custody agreement. Due to our assignment location, working full time like I had would be challenging with three kids full time now. I agreed to put my career on hold to help the kids transition and support the family. When I inquired with the biomom and her husband in which she now has 2 additional kids with, how it was fair we should continue to pay CS to support their family while we had the kids, the step father said I was "industrious" and I would figure it out and the BM said I was a non factor and it wasn't my responsibility to support the kids just hers and my DH. She claimed she would send packages, school lunches and pay some of their allowances with the CS. I was always skeptical because of her previous performance as a mother and my husband was so desperate and agreed. He has even mentioned that he knew I would be strong enough to handle this situation. 

Now here we are almost 8 months since we moved, we still pay CS, and this heffa has not paid a dime for these kids. The monthly packages never came, she was suppose to give 25 a month per kid for allowance... Never has, she doesn't help play for anything for the kids, hell we still pay half the plane tickets price for their visits. My husband gives me a little stipend, not nearly what I was being paid, but a large chunk goes to feeding, clothing, and caring for the kids. To me it's one thing to be a deadbeat parent, but it's a whole other thing to insist on the people who are raising your children to continue to pay money to you, literally taking from the very pot that provides for your children.. it's just so distasteful to me and it's getting hard to hide my resentment for her. I love my SKs and I know they love her, even though they are old enough to see the hypocrisy, it's their mama and I have always respected that. I know the kids are better off with us and happy, but this whole CS thing is just stuck in my craw and I don't know how to keep it from festering into something ugly. My husband is amazing and is aware of my feelings, but all we can do now is try to go back to court again at some point...but for now I just periodically seethe...



tog redux's picture

Wait, I'm confused - why do you resent HER and not your DH who agreed to continue to pay child support to her, and who is just fine with you raising his kids and living with a "stipend" like a nanny?  That doesn't sound amazing at all to me.

L8D Reign's picture

Part of me i suppose understands his desperation considering our move would mean taking the only true stability they had away...but to me it's always a matter of what kind of mother does that? But I see your point.

tog redux's picture

Well, she did what she was allowed to get away with by your DH - no court would have awarded him full custody and her full child support.

I think a lot of people come on here blaming BM and the skids for what are essentially their own and their DH's choices. I get that you care about your skids, but it's truly not your job to take care of them, and if DH can't be home to do it, then they should have stayed with BM. And it seems you made the choice to be the SAHM stepmom, not knowing how it would begin to wear on you (as it would for most of us - no way I'd agree to raise stepkids on my own.)

Seems like you have to figure out what makes YOU happy, not what is best for the skids or for DH, because you are coming last. That might mean sending them back to BM until DH is out of the military and can be the primary parent.

SteppedOut's picture


BM is getting a sweet deal! 

Husband is getting a sweet deal! 

OP, you are now losing:

1. Time with your own child, since you now have to dedicate some of that time to your husband's kids.

2. Money that you used to earn. Not only are you having to do without, but your daughter is also. No way the "stipend" is making up for your salary and allowing you to provide for your child as you previously did. 

3. Career building and retirement. You are having to pause yours, while your husband continues to build his. We all like to think our marriages last forever, but... 

OP, you and your child are the only ones that are having to give things up. Meanwhile bm, skids and your husband have all gained. That is NOT ok. 

If resentment hasn't started building, it will. Resentment is a relationship killer (and see #3 again). 

tog redux's picture

Well put - and it's easier to resent BM than to put the blame where it belongs - on your DH (and some on yourself, too, for agreeing to this).

Winterglow's picture

A stipend? A STIPEND?!  You have given up your career, sacrificed part of your retirement, taken care of HIS kids (reminder: the kids are under your roof to see their father, not to take them off of their mother's hands, and certainly not to spend time with their father's wife) and he gives you an effin' STIPEND?! If there is one situation where finances ought to be shared, this is IT! You are doing his job for him! So stop it right now. Go out and get a job. Send the kids back to bm's and make her earn her child support.

L8D Reign's picture

I am not sure why I took so long to post, I needed to hear some unbiased opinions. Now that Im homeschooling since the pandemic, the unfair-ness of the situation  has really been brought to the forefront, even though it's always been there. I have spoke to friends who feel like "how the hell is this even possible", but my mom raised 5 kids by herself after my parent's divorce... So I felt like sacrifice is what moms do. As I have mentioned I have talked to my DH about my feelings at length, but although he is sympathetic, but at the same time he feels like he did what he had to ensure the kids were able to come since that was their desire and feeling strongly that leaving them with her was not the best for them. So essentially we pay almost 1300 monthly fee for their freedom. You all are right, I absolutely have some blame to hold here. I have thought about everything that has been said in this post, but I felt guilty for being upset, because I do feel kids really need someone they could depend on and that person has become me. I want to clarify that when I say stipend, he puts money in my account, but I can always get more if I need it, it's just I try not to need it, since I know we just have a single income now, and pay CS, with 3 teens who need stuff and literally eat everything in sight in my house. Lol you all are right, despite my DH well meaning intentions, there is blame to be laid at more than just one person's feet.

My oldest Skid came home last week venting about a group project in school and how she felt like she was doing most of the work and all I could think was...I know the feeling. I just need to know that I'm not a jerk for feeling like I do.

Winterglow's picture

Can't you see the gaping chasm that there is between your mother taking care of her kids and you "making sacrifices" for someone else's kids? These are not your children. They already have 2 parents and you are not one of them. They are not your responsibility. You should not be making any kind of sacrifice for kids that are not yours. It doesn't matter that your husband thinks his ex is a waste of space as a parent - the truth is that his own children are not being taken care of by either of their parents. Your husband is essentially farming his kids out to you to spite his ex ... and you are complying ...

SteppedOut's picture

Excuse me? He did what he had to do "for his kids"?

And what was that? Marry you? Because if he didn't, he wouldn't have been able to get his kids. Just saying. I'm sorry if that feels harsh, but it's 100% accurate. 

I sure as hell hope he feels as strongly about taking care of YOUR child as you do about taking care of HIS kids. Somehow I have doubts. 

He is putting HIS career and HIS kids first. YOU need to learn to do the SAME for YOURSELF and YOUR CHILD. 

Please answer this question honestly: Are you and your child worse off now that you are married? If so, please remedy that. 

L8D Reign's picture

Im okay with harsh, I need people to give it to me straight no chasers! He is very aware that my presence has brought stability to their lives. My child and I are not worse off, there has been some trade offs for sure... for instance my kid went from being a only child (private school kid/mom to herself) to having siblings. Which I think having siblings is great for teaching valuable life lessons. The kids love each other and most people don't even know we are a blended family, they were very young when we all met.  He is a great dad to all three kids, he is a military dad so that comes with missing games or recitals due to his job, but he loves and is highly vested in all three. He legally adopted my child and he is the only Daddy she remembers and she adores him. As far as complication of life lol yes, both our lives got exponentially more complicated when dealing with an ex wife, 50/50 custody, military deployments ect. As I mentioned, it was just us, as my ex disappeared... So we were woefully unprepared for what all that meant in practicum, but we adapted. There are some benefits for sure, and our everyday family life is pretty normal... It's just the fact that I have to pay someone to raise her kids and have her do nothing she promised for these babies with that money that is highly abrasive to me.


tog redux's picture

Then make clear he needs to go back to court and get that changed.  The kids are teens, and you've had them for years (I think), it's highly unlikely the court will return them to BM if they don't want that.  BM is being very clear who she is and that she's not going to to help, so make your DH change what HE agreed to.

And no offense, but your every day life isn't normal - stepmothers are not supposed to be only parent who the kids can rely on and you've described yourself as such.

LoverofReality's picture

Everyone here is correct about this being primarily your husband's fault. Just as disgusting as it is to watch BM sell her kids to DH in the custody battle and then take zero responsibility to send the help she promised, it is just as disgusting that your DH sees this current situation as respectful to you as a person and partner. But BM has no accountability or obligation to respect you. DH does and he should making a MUCH bigger effort to not impact your life negatively like this. 

And on a side note, I personally feel that a working woman who has spent time and energy into developing a career and financial independence should NOT be tossing that aside to care for step kids. You will never ever regain your losses here. You are losing a tremendous amount of experience, money, and personal growth. You will get essentially nothing, zip, nada, zero, back on your investment into these kids that aren't yours. These decisions to sacrifice the mechanisms that make us self sufficient are why things like alimony exist and it just shouldn't happen. Your life and career are JUST as important as his.  

If it we me, I would tell DH in no uncertain terms that child care is now his problem to figure out for his kids, your problem for yours. Then I would tell him that all my energy and time will now be directed toward getting back to work in my chosen field. This dismantling of my life, career and autonomy is over. His prize deal is over. Things are changing and that's the end of it. After I was back to work, I would not agree to mingle finances with him. I would pay half of the mortgage bills and similar but CS, his kids clothes and other needs are 100% his responsibility. This may seem "mean" or like you aren't being a good partner but he has proven that he will completely and fully take advantage of you. Please Please please don't allow him to do that again in the future. 

L8D Reign's picture

I should clarify here as well...the kids are 11, 12, 15 (pre-teens/teen) My intentions are to definitely get back to work. I only agreed to pause while we transitioned since the military move was a big one (international). I am by no definition a SAHM at my core, god bless those who are for sure. Once the pandemic hit and the whole homeschooling came into pushed back my timeline, but I am definitely going to get a job, hopefully one were I can work from home/flexible schedule, so I can still support the kids and their little lives(sports, after school clubs ect).

SteppedOut's picture

WFH jobs are not real easy to find... not ones that pay well anyway. Don't get your hopes set on that. 

GrabitAndGo's picture

Your DH needs to remedy this situation.  Yes, mistakes have been made by more than one person, and I'm not going to dwell on that.  DH needs to consult with a lawyer and figure out to stop paying CS to BM when the skids are with him/you full-time.  Very few families can afford to have $1300 a month going out the door for no good reason.  That money is better spent on things like food, utilities, and other necessities.  

The stipend thing is ridiculous.  I'd write how I really feel about it, but the language I would use would get me booted.

Thumper's picture

He legally adopted my child and he is the only Daddy she remembers and she adores him.


Are you a widow?


L8D Reign's picture

Thank you all for your advice and insight! This has all been so helpful and validating some quietly felt thoughts and feelings

Gimlet's picture

So, what are you going to do, OP?

Your husband absolutely, positively needs to go back to court.  Paying BM $1300 a month while also having the kids full time is simply not sustainable and I would be livid about that.   That's some next level "keep the peace" BS.   Your DH thinks he is protecting them, but BM could demand them back at any time and frankly, they are old enough to have a say and to see their mother for who she is. 

Meanwhile, you are actively hurting your career while your husband builds his.  You have to protect yourself and your child, first and foremost.  That might mean that the skids don't get to join every club they want.  Your husband chose to have them with BM, and you should not be the person making life-changing sacrifices to support their shortcomings.

L8D Reign's picture

Although this whole situation can be infuriating, I feel like I might be able to swallow it slightly better if she was sending the promised packages, paying for the school lunches, contributing financially in some way with the CS she so clearly desperately needed. I actually showed my DH some of the responses on here (as I mentioned we talk) and we are most certainly going back to court to remedy this situation. I needed a healthy place to vent my frustrations, because I don't want the kids to feel it. As you all mentioned my DH agreed to this BS, but as far as I'm concerned just because you can get a way with something wrong, doesn't mean you should do it. And I still feel the BM is a trifling leech and that you reap what you sow...and when these kids are adults...they will remember who was there and who wasn't. Cause as a kid of divorced parents myself...I sure do.

L8D Reign's picture

Although this whole situation can be infuriating, I feel like I might be able to swallow it slightly better if she was sending the promises packages, paying for the school lunches, contributing financially in some way with the CS she so clearly desperately needed. I actually showed my DH some of the responses on here (as I mentioned we talk) and we are most certainly going back to court to remedy this situation. I needed a healthy place to vent my frustrations, because I don't want the kids to feel it. As you all mentioned my DH agreed to this BS, but as far as I'm concerned just because you can get a way with something wrong, doesn't mean you should do it. And I still feel the BM is a trifling leech and that you reap what you sow...and when these kids are adults...they will remember who was there and who wasn't. Cause as a kid of divorced parents myself...I sure do.

Gimlet's picture

And I still feel the BM is a trifling leech and that you reap what you sow...and when these kids are adults...they will remember who was there and who wasn't.

I am not saying they won't, but please don't count on this.   The desire to justify the behavior of a parent, especially a biological parent who didn't seem to want them, is very strong.  You may be surprised at the mental gymnastics that occur. 

GrabitAndGo's picture

BM's reasoning is extremely flawed.  Send her CS so she can turn around and use the money to send the skids packages or buy their lunches.  How on any level does that make sense?  

L8D Reign's picture

Ultimately, it came down to preserving her only source of income. Her only true skill is getting knocked up by men with careers themselves. It never was about the kids, cause the reasoning was just BS. She had become accustomed to that money and even though most people with a base level knowledge of finances would be able to see that you would save money monthly by having two less mouths to feed, the loss of that money would have been devastating to their household finances and the new husband is incapable of supporting his family without the CS....even with the kids gone.

Gimlet's picture

This is not at all your problem, or your husband's problem.  He is housing, clothing, feeding, and educating his kids (well, you are doing a LOT of that, but you get my point) and that is where his obligation ends.

Her inability to work, or her new husband's inability to support her, is irrelevant.  The money that you are paying to support her could be going into a college fund for the kids, has your husband thought about that?   He is funneling money away from his family to support his lazy ex, and that is not fair to ANYONE.

Rags's picture

If the custody has been made official with a CO and it has been 2yrs your DH can file for a CS review that will in all likelihood end his payment of CS to this uninvolved BM and nail her for CS since she is not the CP.

RoseGold's picture

I think you're forgetting your place. These are not your adopted kids. She isn't giving up her parental rights. Things could change at any minute and how will you and your actual child be better when it does?

And why are you using your stipend money for these kids? That doesn't sound like stipend money by definition. And if it's less than what he's spending in CS then things are really out of hand.

Are you afraid your husband will not allow you to send those kids back? Are you trying to not work and be a SAHSM instead of getting back to living your life, providing as much as you can for your own child and achieving more professionally?

I don't know why you are staying home with stepkids who are all over the age of 11 anyway. They don't need constant care. And their parents are not abusing them- they are fine. You don't have to save them and honestly you will never ever be their mother so you will never get from them what it is that you're looking for. Look to your own child if you want to pour 100% of yourself into them.

I think you're being taken advantage of and it won't help you one bit.

nappisan's picture

Im absolutely confused about this ,,,,, what man in their right mind has his kids full time and still pays the ex ,, pays her for what??? Child suport is for supporting the CHILD..end of story.  Im really sorry , i understand your DH was worried about the kids stability ,, but come on SERIOUSLY?   Why do you want to be with a man that is happy for you to sacrifice your life and financial stability to pay his ex who doesnt even have the kids??? this is friggin crazy!  He is putting you and his kids stability at risk by financlly supporting her and her husband and new children . this is ridiculous .  Im really sorry but this needs to stop