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Unconventional Blended Family Finances

mbr_2018's picture

I need some advice about my families interesting blended family situation. Here goes...My fiance is raising his 21 yo step daughter from his previous marriage. She is blind from birth. She lives with us, goes to community college very part time, has a 4 hour a week job, and has very little contact with anyone outside of my fiance and my children. He also has a step son from his previous marriage that he has limited contact with. I came into the marriage with 5 of my own children, four of whom live at home. They are all younger and can not be independent at this point. I paid for half of my oldest daughters private college education and she is covering the rest. I would like to do the same for the next four coming along. I am doing well financially and could make this happen w/o the help of my fiance, and would prefer to do this on my own. My fiance thinks that once we are married my finances become "our" finances so he thinks his step daughter should be included in the financial gifts.

Am I crazy for not being keen on this idea? His step daughter will be dependent on us for the rest of our lives, she gets tons of financial assistance from the government, and won't be going to college full-time. She doesn't help with any household expenses. Aside from the fact that he has allowed his SD to live with him for the last 3 years for free while leaving his SS with his exwife. His SS is now 18 and is working full time, but he doesn't want to gift him anything.

My thinking is that I chose to have 5 kids knowing I would be responsible for their futures and educations. If we weren't together I would still gift my kids the money. I think if he wants to gift his SD money then he can do so out of his finances, and if he wants to exclude his SS then that would be his choice.

Am I being mean? Am I crazy?

Ispofacto's picture

Blind people can be independent, can't they? My niece has cerebral palsy and she lives in a group home and works parttime. She's "independent", with the minorly assisted housing.

No, you aren't crazy. No, you aren't mean. Why can't fiance provide for this child?

hereiam's picture

You are not mean and you are not crazy, you are absolutely correct, anything he wants to gift his SD should be out of HIS funds.

Of course, he would like you to contribute, that eases his burden. You already have 5 kids that you are willing to support with your money, he can support his SD with his own money.

I've been with my DH for 21 years and we do not have one joint account. Getting married does not mean everything becomes "one" or "ours", especially second marriages, with kids involved.

You are doing the right thing and if he continues to insist, I would re-think marrying him or, at the very least, have a very detailed pre-nup.

futurobrillante99's picture

No. No. No. No. No.

Adult stepchildren are NOT entitled to your income. What you do for your kids, he CAN do for his child. I would be PISSED if my DH uttered the same nonsense.

My ex and I were savers (well, him more than me). He did well providing for our kids and his parents gave each of our kids a nice college fund (like enough for 4 years out of state).

DH and BM chose to live in a nice house, send the kids to private school, have a vacation home and trips, and the kids were involved all kinds of activities and had all the TOYS and GEAR. They blew their income on THINGS and EXPERIENCES.

DH has whined about all the advantages my kids had. Well, my ex and I went without a lot of things to provide for our kids and we made education the #1 priority.

I shut that sh@t down. I am worth about 4 or 5 times what my DH is worth and it. is. mine. If I want to share it, I will. But I have told him time and again you and BM are responsible for your kids.

Ninji's picture

I don't think it's even his daughter. Sounds like it's his ex-stepdaughter. Unless I'm reading it all wrong.

mbr_2018's picture

That is correct. She is not his biological daughter. She is his stepdaughter from his first marriage.

Acratopotes's picture

humm hell NO, make sure there's a prenub stating your money is your money and he's not getting a cent, neither is his SD..

if he refuses to sign then you have your answer... and you call it all off..

Aniki's picture

The young woman has been blind since birth. I would think, at 21yo, she should now be quite capable of managing things on her own.

Blind people: live alone, cook, clean, dress themselves, take public transportation... Just like people with sight.

Also, your money does NOT have to become "our" money. My husband and I have NEVER combined our finances. We pay the bills. What's left is HIS money and MY money. He pays HIS personal bills and I pay MY personal bills. When we go on vacation, we split the costs. However, any time we've done stuff with the skids, HE pays. They're not my responsibility and neither are your future skids.

ESMOD's picture

Another vote for the 21 year old becoming self sufficient. Unless she has other disabilities that would prevent it, she would be more well served by getting into a program to make her more independent.

As for you chipping in on non-related kid education funds etc... nope. I think you only combine on combined household expenses and split costs otherwise.

still learning's picture

What do you gain from marrying this guy? Sounds like you're doing fine without the piece of paper that says you're now his property and that all your debts are joint.

mbr_2018's picture

We are marrying for my children. They need the stability and normalcy that traditional marriage offers. While I make more than him, by a bit, he is an incredible father to my kids where their biological father is a hot mess.

mbr_2018's picture

Maybe not traditional in the 1950's leave it to beaver sense, but traditional in the sense that me and my fiance want to spend the rest of our lives together as lovers and best friends kind of way. One of my jobs as my children's mother is to give them security and stability and help them feel safe. In my opinion, being married to the man I want to live with for the rest of my life is one way I will accomplish that. Maybe it's not for everybody, but it is for me.

No illusion that I will replace their dad, just grateful that I happened to fall in love with a man that is a good father to them.

And, I have read a lot of the hate filled, divisive, whining on this board. I simply choose to not engage in it, nor let other peoples very limited perspective of my situation make me doubt my choices.

After my divorce my counselor told me that the hardest thing I could ever do, even harder then divorce, was to try to blend a family. I took the challenge on and we will make it work.

BethAnne's picture

I might be willing to help invest in some independent living classes and setting your sd up to live independently from yourselves. With so much technological help available these days being blind is not a life sentence to being dependent. (And to be honest never really was with the right skills). It sounds like your husband has crippeled her potential. Are her college classes going to help her be more independent or to get a full time job?

But you are right you are under no obligation to provide for her.

mbr_2018's picture

My fiance, and a lot of others in her life have crippled her potential. Acquiring a very hard earned associates degree will not help her become employable. She struggles in school due to a lot of issues with how she was brought up and educated in the public system. She expects people to adapt the world for her instead of her adapting to the world. The adults in her life have been protecting her by doing everything for her her entire life. It has done a lot of damage to her confidence.

marblefawn's picture

If the money in your budget is earmarked for your kids' college, then it's earmarked. That's it. That doesn't have to change because you marry (unless I'm misunderstanding your question). Put it in an account under your name only and go ahead and get married. Make the contributions to that account that you always did to grow it. If joining finances is OK with you, put the rest of your monthly income into a joint account.

It seems fair to tell your fiance that you had a lot of kids and needed to structure a life budget to make sure they got to college. You're willing to have joint finances, but that college account and your monthly contributions to it must stay intact to keep your plan on track. He doesn't have to contribute to it, but he can't touch it either.

That way your kids get what's coming to them. He can deal with financing his daughter's future. And you still have a semblance of joint finances.

You've worked hard to keep your finances on track with a lot of mouths to feed. If he doesn't respect and admire that, without wanting to wreck your plan, I'd think twice about marriage.

Ninji's picture

Is the girls mother and father helping her financially?

I don't see why your SO needs your money when the girl has two parents AND a stepparent and I'm sure money from the state for her disability.

mbr_2018's picture

Her mother and father are incapable of caring for her or her brother. Nicely put, they are wastes of flesh.

witch.hazel's picture

It is your choice whether or not you want to financially support his stepdaughter. If you don't and have made it clear and he is not ok with that, I would not get married.

twopines's picture

You're not mean and you're not crazy. His expectation of your money just being given to someone else's kid is silly.

mbr_2018's picture

Thank you all for responding. It seems every person I ask about this has the same take. Let me clarify that my fiance is very reasonable and never pressures me into doing anything. The SD situation has been sticky from the get go, so anything that pertains to her can get emotional pretty quickly.

Update: I told him that I was going to continue to finance the children's education/gift accounts on my own and that he is welcome to provide whatever he likes for his ex-step children out of his own finances. I also told him that I wanted to keep separate accounts and have one joint account for household expenses, etc. He responded rather well, actually, quite calmly. None of that changes the weird codependent dynamic that exists between him and his step daughter, but slowly but surely he is letting go and she is being forced to live more independently.

Rags's picture

The fact that neither you nor your FDH have a genetic or adoptive relationship with his prior marriage Skids makes this very interesting.

If this was your FDH's BK or adopted kid I would say that I agree with him. With there not being any legal or actual rights as her parent for either one of you I tend to lean to your side of this issue opinion wise.

Interesting. I would say that with the level of gov't support that she gets and a BM who should be the one on the hook for life time support that your FDH's intent once you marry to add her to the financial gravy train that you fund is somewhat suspect.

In the interest of full disclosure, I raised my SS-25 as my own from the time his mom and I married the week before he turned 2yo. We met when he was 15mos old. He was just the kid in our marriage and I had no issue with supporting him. He always had visitation with his SpermClan and they paid CS, though a pittance, for the entire 16+ years we lived under a Custody/Visitation/Support order. But.. he is most definitely my brides genetic progeny. When he was 22 he asked me to adopt him. We made that happen.

Good luck. This is a tough one.