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Paying for stepkids

readingandlearning's picture

Whose responsibility is it to pay for stepkids meals, activities etc.? What about when you go on vacation? Who covers the costs of stepkids meals, activities, etc. on a family vacation? Do you take turns paying? Or just pay for your own meals, activites, etc.? We are planning a trip and MIL is also going. She seems to think we should all take turns paying for everyone but I cannot afford that. Taking turns paying for 5 people seems like a lot to me. I would prefer just to pay for myself and cover my own expenses but was given the family speech by her and DH. Keep in mind I covered the cost for my own plane ticket, transportation, etc. Is this selfish? I also have covered the costs of skids meals, activities plenty of times already when I have been in charge of them while DH was at work but never on a trip. I did so out of my own wanting too but don't think this should ever be expected automatically, especially on a trip where costs can add up quickly (restaurants, amusement parks, the zoo, other activities, etc.) Is this selfish? I am more than happy to pay for myself however It is making me not want to go as I cannot really afford to pay for that many people.

markwvualum's picture

It is NOT your responsibility to pay for those kids. Those are NOT your kids. If you partner takes issue with this I suggest sitting this trip out. He is lucky you are paying for your own ticket and meals as he should be paying for them considering you are going to be hanging around his kids and MIL the entire trip and likely doing everything they want to do. It does not sound like much of a vacaiton for you. Also MIL's opinion is irrelevent. She needs to butt out and mind her own business. This is between you and him. If she knew anything she would've raised a financially independent son who is also a good husband which she failed to do since he is divorced, does not respect you and he is still financially dependent on others.

georgina29's picture

Not your kids, not your problem. There are two people who are financially responsible for those kids: Their two biological parents! The courts agree with me on this. Anytime you pay for those kids it is out of your own generosity. It is NOT your obligation. I highly recommend not going in this trip as it sounds like your being invited so you can be their ATM. It's ironic that he expects you to pay for his kids meals and activities yet you were left to pay for your own plane ticket and transportation. He sounds like a user and an extremely selfish person.

futurobrillante99's picture

Pay for only yourself!! These people are users. You'll get stuck with the lobster dinner being YOUR turn.

caitlinj's picture


caitlinj's picture

Don’t fall into this trap. Just say no to these type of skid vacations! There are a waste of your money and time. 

strugglingSM's picture

Who is actually responsible and who typically ends up paying are two different issues. 

Of course, MIL thinks you should chip MIL just tried to convince me last night that DH and I should take SSs on a European vacation. That's a nice idea, MIL, are you paying? 

At the end of the day, the parents are responsible to pay for things for their children...stepparents - as we are so often reminded - are not parents, and therefore, should not be held responsible for the finances. If I were you I'd skip this "vacation" because it sounds like it will be a dramatic, boundary-busting, nightmare. 

Isthisit19's picture

school holidays my partner paid for me, my son (edited to say our) and his son to do things. I kind of refused to pay because we were only doing these things to entertain his kid. However this weekend I fancy going out for food and I said I’d pay as my treat. I’m a way I’m off the hook then as he can never say I don’t try and also I get to eat food. Plus if SS is ungrateful or rude he will show himself up as I am paying. Thus giving me further ammunition for not shelling out on the future.. what I’m saying is choose your battles wisely and always play the long game 

STaround's picture

I think fair is fair. I think paying for a night out v. a holiday may not even be close. Or is that what you mean by playing the long game, making certain you get more?

Isthisit19's picture

and he is under 2. So he is free to get into places and to eat as I take food for him. So my partner is only paying for his own son, and sometimes for me if I go along. I dont always pay as it’s not somewhere I’d want to go. But I do often pay for other things we all do together. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

No matter how many ways this question is posed, and it has been posed almost verbatim several times in the last few weeks, the answer is always "not your kids, not your responsibility". Pay for yourself, including your share of the condo, and make them pay for their own vacation.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

SO and I support the children together. From day one I would pay for them to come with us but it wasn’t because SO demanded. If they didn’t come he couldn’t either or we had to wait. I preferred to pay but it was always my choice.

Now we share our income. I make about 300 more than him a pay check after my 401K and his child support are paid so technically I’m providing more support to them in our home then he is. However I don’t see an issue with this because again it’s my choice. SO has NEVER demanded I spend money on the children.

Basically when SO gets paid he transfers 90%+ of his take home to me which I use for bills and other necessities then whatever’s left we use however we like. SO takes VERY little for himself. The kids get most of the extra, me second, and him the very last.

Rags's picture

We blended finances from day one of our marriage.  We only had my SS. Our resources supported our family.  That included SS.

Together we have made a life together.  We did not tolerate toxic from my SS's SpermClan. We would not tolerate it from each other.  Our financial success has been for us.  Including raising and including SS.

However, we refused to spend our money on large family vacations.  When we take vacations, at least to SpermLand to visit my ILs we, we let everyone know what our plans are and and let them know that they are welcome to participate. We do not pay for anyone but the three of us.

You may want to adopt a version of this in your blended family situation.

It has worked for us.

Harry's picture

Your MIL is trying to control your life and money. And cheep O DH is going along with her.  NOT your kids, No reason to pay for all the cheep people who want to go on Vacstion and not pay for it.  If DH and MIL can’t afford to pay for there own vacation they should stay home until they save money to go.

Isthisit19's picture

Why don’t you just have a kitty and everyone put money in it each night and pay for the meals out of that. Worked for us on holiday 

Petronella's picture

This idea of the kitty could work, as long as Daddee is putting in more money, to account for his kids. So if there are 2 kids, then Daddee should be putting in 3 shares while OP and grandma each put in 1 share.

readingandlearning's picture

The issue is it seems daddy isn't willing to pull his weight with the kitty. It seems when we take turns paying it goes form grandma to me but daddy's missing out often. Not only does he not put in enough for 3 people (himself and his two kids) he doesn't put any money in and just lets grandma and I contribute. The kids are too young to contribute obviously.

Isthisit19's picture

Have the conversation before you go. Work out roughy how much money you will need for meals each night. Make him take his share, then if you end up paying more your money will run out, and then sorry Daddee but t have to get your wallet out Smile

Harry's picture

First of all. You are his wife.  DS is yours or is DH is BF ?  He should be paying for you his kids if DS is not his then you pay for DS.  I don’t understand how you live this way,  beteeen DH and MIL.  Why is MIL going, why do need her in your vacation. I would not want to be around her.  

There nothing wrong that in your heart you want to pay for SK,  if they treat you right.  Knowing it’s lost money.  But to be played that way. How can you love a man like that 

ESMOD's picture

Sounds like your DH is trying to deadbeat and his mommy is on board with that.

He needs to clearly understand that his responsibility is for costs related to himself and his children.. his mother is responsible for HER costs.. and You will be responsible for your own.

Now.. often a child's share isn't 100% equal to an adult's.  For example.. lodging.  If you rent a 3 BR home.. you and your DH share a room.. MIL has a room and Kids have the 3rd room.  Your share is 1/2 of 1/3 of the total cost.  Your DH pays 1/2 of your room's share.. and then full share for the kid's bedroom and MIL pays full share of HER bedroom.  You wouldn't necessarily split it by person though.. because MIL has a room to herself.. and depending upon how many kids etc.. may be more or less than you and your DH that would be splitting a room.

So.. you should pay your share of all expenses.. but no more than that.  Now. if you WANT to treat the kids to an ice cream cone.. you don't put it in your ledger of contributions to the vacation.. it's like a gift.

flmomma08's picture

This sounds like its going to end up being a nightmare. I don't even think I would go on this vacation. If you do, I would make it clear up front that you are not paying for anything besides your own share. If you choose to pay for something for skids, that is your CHOICE, but you are not to be obligated or expected to pay for them. If DH can't afford to pay for them, then he needs to postpone the trip.

Doublehelix's picture

I can see how this gets complicated esp, like you said, if you cover things when you're watching the kids by yourself. In a perfect world, I think the bioparent should always be responsible for their own kids, and then you do the favor of paying WHEN YOU WANT TO. I don't think that makes you any less of a can live and hang out together as a family, but all the responsibilities ultimately belong to the bioparents.  

Rags's picture

IMHO the core issue is a lack of fully commited partnership including fully integrated finances.  Keeping a detailed accounting of expenditures by household member, worrying about who pays for what based on the genes involved, and diluting the focus on the marriage with potentially trivial issues makes the marriage a difficult one.

Of course if there is abuse, one partner taking advantage of the other, etc, etc, etc... those issues need to be addressed.

It just makes much more sense to me to put the focus on the marriage rather than the adnauseum drama that can overwhelm everyone in the blended family.

Just my thoughts of course.

Nortoner's picture

Yup, easy to say 'not your problem' but what if the scroungers all turn up with no money?  Like mine.  SS26 and SS25 'took H out' on Father's Day.  I drove 150 miles, we all went on a boat trip (H paid).  Got to a pub, bearing in mind it's FATHER'S DAY and neither of the tight b*stards would even buy him a pint.  I was furious.  I slapped a note on the bar and told him to buy a round for us all.  H wanted a 'family' photo and I refused.  He doesn't see his kids often, they are in another country, so H insists on family holidays - despite the kids nearly being 30.  Every holiday, we pay for the accommodation for 5 people, we pay for meals for 5 people (EVERY meal) and I'm sick to death of it.  When the kids were younger, their Mom refused to pay anything (she was always struggling).  Tbf, I agree with her, why the hell are we paying for adult kids??  We are going abroad to meet SS26's fiance.  Again, we are paying for a family apartment for them all to scrounge a week's free holiday.  This is the LAST time.  I am not paying for them again.  I am not a walking wallet.  H is not a millionaire by the way, I have no idea why he keeps doing this.

Rags's picture


I always go for my wallet when we are out with my parents.  I do the same when we are out with my MIL. For MIL, I always pay. For my parents... we always split it 50/50.  When my brother is with us, it is split 3ways.

When it just us and my parents, once it is split 50/50, we always banter about who gets stuck with the odd penny. It is our thing.

When we (my brother & I) finished university and started out careers we quit letting our parents pay for everyting. Vacations, etc....  Of course they tried and often did pick up more than their share.  If we did a family vacation they often picked up the beach house while we picked up the travel for our own families.  We tried to give them money for the lodging costs to no avail.  So we would make sure that the check for meals went nowhere near our parents.  They groused about it, we didn't care.

Our parents are now in their mid 70's, I am in my mid 50's and my brother is in the last year of his 40s.  We still do this dance and likely will for the duration.

If we are at a comprehensive IL clan gathering we pay for us and my MIL.  Both of my BIL's pay for their own families and my SIL tries to guilt anyone and everyone else to pay for her gaggle.  We never fall for that crap but... more often than not someone else in the IL clan falls for SIL's guilt crap.  It happens far less often than it used to. But the IL clan remains slow to learn a lesson regading SIL.

I get your frusttation.  The incubus SSs will suck you and DH dry as long as you let them.

Good luck.