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Money? How much is too much?

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

We are roughly $4000 ahead in child support. We set up our payments for every two weeks and didn’t realize we added a little extra each month. Which added an extra payment a year & $1500 a year. 

When we realized it we didn’t change anything or even bring it to his ex wife’s attention. 

My struggle now is there are 2 girls; we pay 1/2 of everything they do. Even if we were not consulted. Last year it was $3000 band trip. This year another trip. They are 15 & 17 and contribute zero to any of these trips.

My husband and I own a business together and he stays home to work it but I have to travel 1200 miles every other week for my job to help supplement; our money is together.

How much is enough? I’m tired of handing over money for luxury trips  to two ungrateful kids who have done nothing to help themselves. Neither said thank you for the last trip and actually got mad when we wouldn’t fly them out again in 3 months! 

How do you handle all of the extra’s? I’m not talking about neccessities, but band trips to CA, etc,  

justmakingthebest's picture

I wouldn't pay for anything extra and I would ask for a CS review. If you are ahead by $4K you should have the next year reduced by roughly $330 a month. Just think of all the extra's you guys can do with that! Or if you are used to spending it, put it in a college fund for the Skids. Just handing it over to BM like you are now, you will never get it back. You will have to be proactive about having an adjustment done. 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

We are going to adjust the payment and just stick to the minimum and continue to pay for half the extras; instead of both.

Curious Georgetta's picture

As a luxury. Kids living with their parents generally see a school related experience as a part of going to school. It is not that they are ungrateful ; it is more that it is just a part of thier daily life.

My children are provided with many things;  when they participate in a school trip. I do not expect any special thanks. When they participate in school activities   we expect to pay feed and related expenses. We neither resent not expect special thanks.

 

We expect them to be polite, high performing, students who are respectful of trainers and peers. We expect them to be well behaved and focused on accomplishing  goals and requirements set before them. We expect them to be loving and caring for family and friends. If they are doing these things,, they are saying " thank you" in a multitude of ways.

You guys chose the payment structure. You cannot blame the kids for that. If your husband feels as though he is doing too much for his daughters , he should  just tell them so.

The kids did not structure your work travel; again, that is  a decision made by you and your husband. Your life may be complicated at the moment, but his kids are not the source of your issues.They are just handy scapegoats.

 

 

ndc's picture

Perhaps your kids don't think of a band trip as a luxury, but many (probably MOST) families would view a $3000 trip as a luxury and out of the budget.  I grew up like your kids - if there was a $3000 trip, I figured my parents would pay for me to go.  That was because my parents are wealthy and it wasn't a big deal for them to pony up for things like that.  However, many of my friends and classmates would not expect to go on such a trip.  That didn't stop the school from having them (and there were some fundraisers to help students who wanted to go and couldn't afford it), but it certainly was not within the reach of everyone.

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

The band trip included a day at Disney, Universal and the beach. Also prior to that a trip to Costa Rica (it’s a Spanish speaking country and the travel was because they were in a Spanish class). 

We have always paid everything asked. The kids have no ideas about the finances or that we are ahead or the terms. I definitely do not blame them for asking and receiving everything they want. I blame both parents for setting the expectation that this will just automatically occur. 

While $3000 now for band/recreation trips doesn’t seem like much; the funding will stop when they are 18 and they will have no idea how to function. And $3000 will be a drop in the bucket to support their taste. Already, it is constantly “I’m not shopping at Wal-Mart for groceries”..

My husband and I are working on getting to a good place financially...but I (only me not my husband) had to work hard and finance my own college;after 19 years post graduation just paid off my loans. My husband has never had money per say; but had never had to fight & struggle by month to month. He has no understanding of the rude awakening that will befall his girls when the $$ is stopped. 

I just want us all to pay our fair share and teach the girls a healthy respect for how it got there. I’m going to propose we pay what is ordered, and 1/2 of the rest. We’ll see how it goes. 

DaniellaR's picture

He has no understanding of the rude awakening that will befall his girls when the $$ is stopped. 

 

Your husband will continue to support them into adult hood. There are many complaints in the adult- step forum about the constant siphon of money to adult steps. 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

It over when they are 18. If not, we’re over when they are 18. I’m not supporting adults. Him & their mother created this and they can support it. Makes me feel like we need to be having a few conversations as next year is th  senior year for the oldest. Thank you so much for the heads up!! 

SMto2's picture

Have you told your DH that it's "over when they are 18," or is that a unilateral decision? If not, he may disagree with that. Just because a child turns 18 does not mean they are ready to go out into the world and fully support themselves financially. For most kids, that's when they start taking the first steps, but especially if they're going to college (which most parents want so their children can get an education to support themselves) they need financial support then more than ever. My SSs are now 24 and 22, and we've helped them financially MANY times since CS stopped 4 years ago.  Just a few weeks ago, the youngest SS messaged my DH and said the engine on his vehicle had blown up and he needed $$ to repair it and would lose his job without transportation. I guess my DH could have told him he's an adult now and will have to figure it out on his own, but I suspect that would have caused major damage to the relationship my DH has worked hard to build. I think it would be hard for any parent to say an unequivocal "no" to an adult child asking for money for a legitimate need just because they turned 18 years old (absent some issue with drug abuse, gambling, etc. where you know the money would be enabling them.) If a spouse told me I couldn't give any money whatsoever to my child because they were over age 18, regardless of the reason they needed the money, I'd have to seriously evaluate whether I wanted to be married to that person. Of course, your DH may be different, and he may not care what his bios think, but if so, I think that would be the exception to the norm. 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

see how others have managed this situation. I believe we could discuss situations dependig on the circumstances. I definitely have to evaluate how much they were helping themselves. Plus what decisions were made that put them in their current situation. If they chose an expensive college in a area out of their financial means,w/o considering Finances & was not working a full time job then I would be less reluctant to help. As well as their willingness to spend time with their dad,which only happens on their terms now. 

There are some tough discussions ahead from what I’ve been reading. We have discussed in the past when it was less real. It is sure great to have all of your perspectives 

 

TwoOfUs's picture

Yeah...but from her posts it sounds like SHE is the one subsidizing these extras. I think it's totally fine for her to say no more at 18...and to tell her DH that he has to contribute to their home equally before he's allowed to help his kids. 

Rags's picture

and the root cause of the causal issue.

If a kid is  dope smoking moron who smoked their rent away... "Sorry to hear that kid. Welcome to the gutter!"

If a kid makes a legitimate mistake "Dad, I put transmission fluid rather than oil in my engine and it blew up."  Then some help may be apropos. 

In my case probably the two most applicable events were when my brother borrowed my truck to help a friend move and blew up the engine... and..... one of the two HVAC zone compressors went out on our condo in Phoenix ... in the middle of the summer.

We were in Engineering school together at the time and had to figure both issues out. Our parents helped but did not just chuck all of the cash necessary to resolve those problems in our direction.  Without their help there would have been no functional truck and only the side of the condo with my room would have been livable and the added stress on the remaining HVAC unit likely would have fried it in just a few days.  But, we had to come up with a decent pile of money from our part time jobs to close the gaps.

Kids learn nothing from total entitlement spoiling.  However, inflexible dictates on cutting one Spouse's or the other's children off financially rarely results in a sustainable situation as far as the relationship goes.

 

Curious Georgetta's picture

As a luxury. Kids living with their parents generally see a school related experience as a part of going to school. It is not that they are ungrateful ; it is more that it is just a part of thier daily life.

My children are provided with many things;  when they participate in a school trip. I do not expect any special thanks. When they participate in school activities   we expect to pay feed and related expenses. We neither resent not expect special thanks.

 

We expect them to be polite, high performing, students who are respectful of trainers and peers. We expect them to be well behaved and focused on accomplishing  goals and requirements set before them. We expect them to be loving and caring for family and friends. If they are doing these things,, they are saying " thank you" in a multitude of ways.

You guys chose the payment structure. You cannot blame the kids for that. If your husband feels as though he is doing too much for his daughters , he should  just tell them so.

The kids did not structure your work travel; again, that is  a decision made by you and your husband. Your life may be complicated at the moment, but his kids are not the source of your issues.They are just handy scapegoats.

 

 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

do you mean your biological kids? My biological kid is 26 and we don’t pay for him, and I wasn’t with this husband when he was little.

I think it is easier to give to biological kids; in turn you get affection, love and when they do succeed a sense of accomplishment. 

I don’t particularly get along with the oldest or really have a bond with either. They seem content to spend our money though. We have had several rough patches where my husband has let them cause discord in the family and I guess I am a bit disgruntled. 

Thanks for grounding me and helping me take a look at what could be my motives. Step parenting is hard; you have to observe the decisions made and the reactions and hope for the best. 

 

Curious Georgetta's picture

sometimes when reading some of the postings, I feel defensive and angered by the all too constant suggestions that kids who are fortunate enough to have parents who  are financially capable and willing to provide for them in a certain manner are entitled and spoiled.  As though it is gifts and resources that spoil kids rather than lack of teaching and modeling proper values, principles, and moral grounding.

I realize that not all parents can provide for thier children in the same financial manner , and not all people are in agreement as to what they should provide..

Howrver, my children know that what they receive comes as a result of the hard work of their parents and grandparents before them. Even though they are going , they have been taught that it is expected that each generation has an obligation to work harder than the generation that preceded them to provide one day a better life for thier children. They see thier parents modeling a strong work ethic. They are not expected to have jobs as students but they are expected to treat being a student as a job.  Full engagement in school is expected; poor academic performance is not tolerated. They are expected to engage in school activities and they know that any infraction of school rules will not be tolerated. 

They probably do not think of themselves as privileged ,because thier lives are not much different from the kids at thier school. However , the school is populated with mostly good and normal kids. They are not perfect or particularly special. They are kids experiencing the normal highs and lows of growing up.  The repeated notion that kids who are fortunate enough to receive gifts and opportunities are often times spoiled or entitled is offensive and my  responses may be colored by the offense that I take at that suggestion.

Court ordered child support may stop at age 18, but I do not believe that any caring parent thinks that a court dictates anything other than a minimum  legal obligation. Most of us support our children because it is the right and moral thing to do and because we want the best for our children.

I agree that my feelings may be colored because my children are my bios, but in every situation in ST thier is at least 1 bio parent involved.

I believe that parents who are able to provide should expect to pay all of at least some portion of college tuition. I do not believe that higher education is a luxury. I believe that it is just a continuation of providing for the next generation. As parents, before our kids were born, we talked about where the might one day want to go to college. There was never any notion of 18 and done.

Maybe, my feelings are  the feelings of a bio parent, but isn't it likely that your spouse or partner, as a bio parent might have the same thoughts and intentions for his kids?

 

 

 

 

 

TwoOfUs's picture

His 'feelings' toward his bio kids are fine. Using HER income to subsidize extras for his kids is not. 

Also, your assumption that CS is always just the 'minimum' court-ordered obligation and doesn't represent everything the NCP bio-parent wants to or should do for the kids is laughably incorrect, as many on here could attest. NCPs are regualrly expected to contribute in the thousands per month for one kid. Check written no questions asked to the ex...who then ALSO comes after them for half of anything she deems to be 'extra' (even though they've often had no say in these extras on the front end...just a payment demand on the back end). All this while BM does her best to undermine the NCP's parenting choices, doesn't allow input at all, or actively tries to alienate their mutual children from the NCP. 

Oh boy! Sign me up to do more!

(PS - And no. No one here assumes that doing nice things for your children or being able to contribute to their growth and wellbeing financially 'spoils' the kids. We do observe that CODs, in general, tend to be spoiled for a multitude of reasons...some of which are financial but most of which involve parents not expecting basic civility or any form of responsibility from said skids.) 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

They are living what they have because of my salary, not his. Yet, there never seems to be a question about shelling out the money. 

Over spring break the asked to fly out to CA to look at some of the most expensive colleges, as well as Harvard & Yale are frequently mentioned. Both parents are not helping them with reality. No budgets for what that would look like. Just keep taking them around and showing them what they are not going to have? Sets unreasonable expectations. 

TwoOfUs's picture

"They are living what they have because of my salary, not his. Yet, there never seems to be a question about shelling out the money."

^^This is your problem right here.^^

It's not just that you're paying for all kinds of extra crap for your husband's kids...it's that it's just expected and never questioned. Not only by the kids, but by HIM. So, not only do you not get a 'thank you' from the skids...it sounds like you don't get any thanks from him, either. Is this correct? 

This is why you're feeling resentment. You're being taken for granted, and that never feels good. Put a stop to it and make him cover expenses for his own kids ASAP. 

 

Curious Georgetta's picture

civility may develop all kinds of character defects. I have observed frequent use of the terms "entitled princesses" and " spoiled brats" and almost always it is used in reference to gits, items, and treatment from the dad as though receipt  of gifts and things are the cause of the problems.  

Children do not need to contribute to the purchase of their items or activities in order to grow up to be productive, moral   and successful human beings.   Children ofprivilege and  children of poverty become productive, moral, and successful human beings if they have  been instilled with values and principles that lead them to strive and achieve.  They are neither handicapped or advanced if their parents can afford and choose to pay for college. Students who have to work and struggle to pay for college in thier own are not privileged or better off for that experience. It is the character of each person that makes the difference.. 

I just find it sad that so many of the responses about kids seem to involve a resentment of their drain on finances. What parent does not expect to provide the very best that they are able to provide for thier kifs?  No step parent should have to provide any funding to support a child that is not thier own. However, in turn, they should not expect the bio parent to want to do less than his/,her best for thier child.

Who gives birth to or father's a child with the intention of only doing it providing  what is legally required or court ordered.

 

What man or woman holds thier child for the first time and thinks  " court ordered support and off of the family  dole at 18 ? "

 

 

TwoOfUs's picture

Actually - I hear bio-parents ALL the time who talk about how nice it will be when the kids leave the nest and they have more discretionary income at their disposal. I also hear from bio-parents ALL the time who expect their teen kids to pitch in for expenses and help pay for what they want. 

It's not about how much you love your kid...it's about reality. Kids should be taught the value of money...that the things they want aren't free...and that they will be expected to contribute once they reach a certain age. 

It seems you are the only person here equating money with love. As if parents can only truly love their kids if they're willing to open their wallets forever and ever amen with no expectation for contributions, or even gratitude, from the kids. That's patently absurd. 

I know wealthy parents and less wealthy parents who insist that their kids become self-supporting as soon as possible. It doesn't mean they don't love those kids...quite the opposite, in fact. 

OP - quit paying for your skids. That's not your job, and you're going to end up resenting it. 

 

TwoOfUs's picture

And, yes...CG. Sometimes 'gifts, presents, treats from the dad' are a BIG part of the problem. It's called NCP dads trying to buy affection from their kids, and it's completely toxic and bad for those children, who actually need boundaries and responsibility. 

Correct me if I'm wrong...but you don't have stepkids yourself, right? 

 

pixielady's picture

CG is a TROLL with NO stepfamily experience. She thinks that a stepfamily being bled dry is "doing the best for your children." In no place has she EVER acknowledged that the SM has a say in the household finances, just that BM and BD are able to spend at will on their kids. Screw the SM and her concern about finances and retirement. If daddy can provide at any age, daddy should! He loves his kids after all. It angers her when the truth that some skids are entitled and spoiled is stated. Her posts are absolutely laughable, and she lives in a world where money is limitless, skids are always polite, and SMs are alway silent.

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

Myself with the rationale that if you can afford to pay for everything you should! That is pure nonsense. I’ve been pretty clear that we’ve OVERPAID for years, on everything. The parents should be helping the children to prepare for adult life and budgeting; when I pulled a budget sheet for college evaluations out. I was laughed at, and it was quickly discarded. 

Just because we have the ability doesn’t mean it should occur. By those standard both girls have health bank accounts from gift over the years so maybe they should pay? 

I have not seen many children who have had everything handed to them be successsful at cutting the cord. Seen quite a few milk the “college” excuse for 8-10 years. What incentive do they have to make it on their own? None. 

I have helped myself to where I am at...and am so proud. Why would we rob our kids if that sense of accomplishment? 

I’m sorry but I don’t agree if you have it you should give it to them. I have a refrigerator full of food but we don’t eat it because we can and a car full of gas but we don’t drive it just to run it out of gas. 

I agree with you pixiady. If you haven’t walked a mile in our shoes, you may not be the best to provide advice.

 

ESMOD's picture

I think there is a balance to be struck here.  Certainly there may be things that a parent can and should provide to their kids.  However, there is also nothing wrong with a parent telling a child "if you want it... you will need to make it happen.. or you will need to meet us part way on the financial side of things etc..." 

There were a few times when our SDs wanted to bring friends on vacation with them.  We advised that we did not have the funds nor the inclination to fund their friend's vacation so if they wanted the child to come.. then the extra costs would come out of their savings. (meals, costs of admittance etc...)

We also told them they were to pay for their own college.. or file for financial aid.  We wanted them to have skin in the game.  The Older SD got a fat grant that she blew on things not related to her education.  YSD got combination of grants and employer reimbursements and is doing well while working full time. 

In the OP's post, she mentions both a band trip and a spanish club trip.  I would have considered the band a course related activity.  The spanish trip I would have considered a luxury that I would have asked the child to make some sort of contribution to.. or meet some requirement (A in their spanish class for example). 

Parents.. even those that can afford it... are not obligated to lavish their kids with every desire.  Look at Paris Hilton and see where that gets you.  Other people with wealth have expected their kids to live more humbly.. sharing rooms with siblings etc.. I think children in the latter group will grow up to value things and have a better work ethic.  Nothing sadder than an adult crying in the cop car because it was the first time anyone every told her "no" and money couldn't buy her out of her problems...

 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

because you have it you should have to spend it. Dave Ramsey is a classics example of raising financially responsible kids. I believe there are far more examples of the Paris Hilton types than we could begin to mention. 

Even if she didn’t have to pay for a portion of the band trip it should not be expected that we were going to send her, or at the very least she could save up some spending money. 

I was not raised to be  taker and to always pitch in. Never ask anyone to do something  for you that you can do yourself. 

Ther has to be a balance. Hope to find it. Just starting to put a bug in his ear about it and already it looks pretty grim. 

Fingers crossed we find some common ground. Thanks everyone for your great advice!! 

 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

I was an 18 y/o single parent who worked night shift, went to school during the day and paid my own bills. My parents could have helped but I never expected it. 

My husband  didn’t go to college. We have what we have because I have faught for everything we have. He contributes by running our business, even though it has been difficult because we are just getting started. Even though HE doesn’t bring home nearly what he did, we have always continued to pay over and above and 1/2. 

His kids have not seen working parents fight to live. Their mother recently just started working afte a 4 year hiatus in which her parents supported them, what we didn’t pay.

i don’t believe everyone should have to struggle as I did, I chose to raise my son and go to college. But if you don’t have a kid, The least you do is get a full time job and take out loans to pay for your school. It sux to do, but I have never felt so proud to graduate & pay off my 19 year loan. 

I will not support an adult. I feel like that is what is wrong with many young adults; where do you cut the ties? At 18, in my world. I’m ready to live my life and spend my money on us in our adult life. Their dad and I have discussed several times, but now I think a it is time for a real discussion. 

Thank you for showing me there are parents out there who have expectations to support their children, indefinitely? That is a new concept for me to try to wrap my head around. 

You are very fortunate to be able to not have to concern yourself with finances, we are not. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

If you have reared your kids properly, they expect to get a job upon completing college of what training that they pursue. 

We realize that as parents one of the primary reasons that we are working is to provide the best possible life for our children with the awareness that one day when we are gone all that remains will belong to them.

We have high expectations of them and we hold them accountable for their behavior and performance. They know that they are expected one day to be able to provide for our grandchildren just as we provided for them. They are being taught that life does not give you a pass because your happen to be fortunate. You have the same obligations facing you as did your parents.

So , no we do not expect to indefinitely support our children, but we do not grudgingly support them as  young children and one day college students. We feel blessed and fortunate to be able to do it.

TwoOfUs's picture

We have the last kid going off CS in one month. DH and I are both ecstatic...and we make no apologies for that. DH's kids are definitely coddled and spoiled by BM and his parents...and we've paid thousands a month and tons of 'extras' for these coddled kids while struggling to provide basic necessities for ourselves, during some years. Of course that would make any reasonable, thinking person feel resentment. Doesn't mean DH doesn't love his kids...of course he does. He just doesn't love writing a huge check to his ex every month. Who would?  

Unless you've been an NCP who's expected to fork over cash to your ex / your husband's ex every month...you can't possibly understand how aggravating it feels. FYI - Curious is not a stepmom or in a second marriage, so consider the source of the feedback. 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

It is true. When you hand the money over we have no idea what it is being used for and see no examples of its use. As a mother in the stepkids situation I really have never asked either. The girls seem content.

But as I have been supporting my own or someone’s children for 24 years I am about done.

It sux for the kids that their parents divorced, but they are not my kids. I’m not responsible for the divorce but have supported them through their formative years. Enough is enough. 

TwooFSU I am right there with you! Looking forward to focusing on myself and my husband! No apologies. 

Rags's picture

I agree with the first part of your comment. To paraphrase... just because a parent is able to provide well for children does not make those children spoiled.  Spoiling is far more a factor of parents failing to establish standards of behavior and performance and enforcing those standards with appropriate consequences for failure to meet those standard rather than providing generously for a child.

That said..... to make a blanket statement that parents should pay for all or at least some of college leaves far too many caveats on the table.  Performance of the student being one of them. Acting responsibly, etc, etc, etc.... being others.

I equate it to many of my international Third Country National employees who just send money to their extended family members when the phone rings.  I have asked them why they do that... their answer is "Why doesn't matter. That they are family is the only thing that matters."  I am far more evil than my TCN employees and even with family if the "help" is needed due to repeat stupid decisions or idiocy... I let em rot.  I don't waste my resources on supporting dipshits.  Whether they are family or not.

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

parenting should start with standards & boundaries. There are none in the relationship between my husband & his girls. Zero expectations. He believes everything they say. Supports them when ther is a disagreement with their mom. Treats them as if their opinion is that of an experienced adult. 

He is not doing them any favors. Everyone wants rules and to know what the expectations are. 

Even your employees ask about job descriptions, handbooks & policies. 

He  doesn’t believe in structure or any type of adult authority. 

Not sure how it will bode with the girls as they get older. If they make the news for something dramatic or illegal, it will be his and her name listed. I’m ok with that. I never parented the way they do but I don’t expect them to change. I just mind my own beeswax. I’m just his wife! 

Standards...hehe! Not in our house! That goes for all of us too! 

Teas83's picture

Is it court ordered for you to pay those extra expenses?

 

My husband's CO says that he and BM share the cost of extra curricular activities at a ratio of 96% to 4% (based on their income). But the wording also says something to the effect of "as agreed upon by the two parties". I take that to mean BM can't just sign SD up for everything under the sun without my husband agreeing to it first. She recently saved up 4 years worth of receipts for activities that my husband didn't even know about and tried to get him to pay for it (he refused). She sent it to Maintenance Enforcement and they denied it as well. He pays $1500/month in CS right now.

I wouldn't pay for anything that you don't have to.

ESMOD's picture

How are you ahead?  you paid her more than she was owed?  If that is the case... the courts are very likely to see that extra as "gifted" so in reality.. you may NOT be ahead.  Now as far as paying extras.. that still would be based on the CO.. if it stipulates you have to.. then you still will.. whatever you overpaid in the past is unlikely to be factored in.  Plus.. she knows she got more.. believe me.. people know what to expect.. they won't scream unless it is somehow less.  and.. this is dangerous because a court might  see this as a show you are capable of paying higher.  I would stop this immediately and go to the correct payment once a month.

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

husband thought he was supposed to pay and furnish. We didn’t realize the oversight until we got out the divorce papers for a different question and that was about 3 years into paying over. 

We are going to correct the payment and adhere to the divorce papers and prolly still pay the 50% just not to rock the boat too much. That is excellent advice. 

SMto2's picture

First, I agree with the above poster who said any additional monies paid are to be deemed a "gift." At one point in the 15 years my DH paid CS, I calculated how much we owed based on the number of years and considered "paying it off" with one of our bonuses from work then realized that would just indicate to the BM that we had more financial ability and likely trigger a review of CS.  If your DH doesn't want to pay for extras beyond that and it's not in the CO, then don't, simple as that.

Also, while it would be nice for teenagers to thank their parents for providing things such as trips for them, I don't think it's a sign of entitlement for them not to. My and DH's DS16 is going on a trip this summer with his school to Spain, and it's more than $3,000, all of which we are paying, and NONE of which he is paying. I don't expect him to specifically "thank" us for this, although I know he is grateful. He does his part by making straight As and being a well-rounded kid who stays out of trouble, and for me, that is definitely thanks enough. If I were his SM, perhaps I'd feel he was an ungrateful "sh*t" for not thanking us, but as his BM, I don't feel that way at all.  In fact, I'm thrilled that my DH and I can provide this for him. When I was in school, my parents couldn't have paid for a trip like this.

TwoOfUs's picture

I don't understand all of this: "I don't expect my bios to thank me" stuff I'm seeing on here. It's so weird. Like...how hard is it to teach kids to express thanks to people (including parents) who have done something nice for them? As a kid, I was taught to thank my friends' parents for dinner...or to say 'thank you' when my parents took me out or got me a treat of some sort. Heck. I said 'thank you' when someone passed me a dish at the dinner table or handed me a popsicle. My skids are the same way, as are my niece and nephews. They always, always thank me when I do something nice for them. And they are ALSO well-rounded kids who get good grades. The two things don't cancel each other out. Like...if you got D's and F's you'd have to say 'thank you' but since you get A's, just don't even worry about it. 

I went on a Senior Trip to London and Paris as a high school student. I worked and paid for most of it myself, but my grandmother and my parents both kicked in some funds to help me...and you can bet this straight-A, soccer-playing, high ACT score-earning, helpful around the house. involved in a million enriching extracurriculars kid said thank you to them for the help. I even wrote my grandmother a Thank You letter. GASP! 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

Thank you is easy and should be expected as acknowledgment that someone just did something for you. Whether it was expected or not. 

Paying for your senior trip helped prepare you for life and I am sure made you feel very accomplished. How are we showing our kids how to have that feeling if they never have to pay for anything. 

When we say making good grades and being polite are all that we should expect in return for luxury trips does show how expectations have evolved. 

Good grades & politeness are the minimum just like food and a safe place to live are minimum. You work together to provide the extras it’s give and take. 

Thank you for your wonderful insight! 

SMto2's picture

I never said I didn't expect my teenager to use basic manners or that if he got D's and F's he would have to say, "thank you," but because he gets straight A's, he can ignore common courtesies, nor would I ever tolerate such behavior. What I did say is that I don't think he would be acting "entitled" if he did not specifically say "thank you" for us paying for his trip to Spain, and also that I don't necessarily expect him to say, "thank you" FOR THAT SPECIFICALLY. He very well may say, "thank you" to us for the trip at some point, as he attends a military boarding school and is extremely polite, and even answers most adult responses with, "yes, sir" or "no, ma'am," but if he doesn't, I'm not going to think I've got a child who expects everything to be handed to him. Also, I think the need to express "thanks" is different to those who are outside your immediate family. I note you said you wrote your grandmother a "thank you letter." Did you also write your own parents a "thank you" note? If not, why not? I don't expect my minor children (OR MY SKs) to bow down and thank me as their parent for every meal I cook or for paying for utilities at their home, paying their sports registration, putting gas in the vehicle, paying tuition for school, taking them on vacation and all the other basic expenses in life that I provide as their parent. Yes, if we buy a gift for them or if it's a situation where manners are called for, I do expect them to be used. There is a difference.

Rags's picture

CS covers all NCP responsibility to support the child unless otherwise stipulated in the court order.  Books... covered in CS.  Extracurriculars... covered in CS.  Band/School trips.... covered in CS.  Sports and associated equipment... covered in CS.  Clothing... covered in CS.  Band trips, tutoring, coaching, lessons, etc, etc, etc.... all covered in CS.

In our case the only portion of Skid related costs that the SpermIdiot's CS obligation did not cover was visitation travel and medical costs not covered by insurance.  Each party was responsible for transporting the Skid to their location and each party was responsible for half of all medical expenses not covered by insurance.

We were given clarity on this by the Judge when we attempted to get the SpermClan to cover half the costs of musical instruments for school.  Nope.... the Judge was clear... CS was the NCPs contribution to supporting the kid and if CS was paid consistently the SpermIdiot  (NCP) had no other obligations (other than half fo travel costs and half of medical costs).

 

As for a band trip being a luxury.... IMHO that depends on the situation..  While it most definitely is not a necessity... I believe that these are things that parents should cover or at least participate in paying for.  Ideally a kid will earn that money themselves but even more ideally this just part of raising a kid.

The complexity goes up in situations where one parent pumps money into the coffers of the household of the other parent.  Yes, I  understand and fully am on board with the fact that an NCP should support their children.  However, so should a CP.  And while the NCPs contribution is clearly quantifiable .... that is rarely the case with the CPs contribution.  Due to the complexities involved..... sticking to just COd support makes things much simpler. 

 

pinkb's picture

... that the SM is sacrificing her own well being, mental health, and possibly future retirement funds because it's not just DHs funds that are going to pay for HIS children but hers as well.

As someone who was also *expected* (in no uncertain terms) :until SS(now 22) "turned 18" then "after the first year of college" and then "after the last year of college". He graduated in December and now has decided he's going to grad schohol which will no more make his sorry a$$ any more marketable than it is today.... though it will run him up another 100K in debt which (IMHO) is just his calculating way to not have to enter the workforce.  Thank God that won't be OUR debt (so fafr). 

SS still hasn't secured a job he *WANTS* and his beneath taking a job that he thinks is benearth him (and according to him that's pretty much ALL of them) and it's been five months.

I get it that Bio parents want to help make the best life possible for their kids but that means responsible saving AND spending that includes the blessing of his spouse if some of those funds are hers.  That's an undeniable courtesy and respect for SM/SF.

My OWN SF sat be down when I was 13yo and said "we can't afford a fancy college so you're going to have to make really good grades unless you want to take out exhorbinant school loans" and, as a result, I worked my behind off in high school and got a free ride.

I absolutely understand the anxiety and resentment. Spending your money? You get a choice. Or leave the jerk.

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

We should have been a stickler from he get go. Now we have already set a percent. Plan on  backing off bit by bit  but so far in 6 years we’be all been pretty amiable. I respect paying the CS because I was a single parent who did not receive it regularly. Just no reason to be overly generous. 

Sounds like you have definelty had a tough go of it! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger they say...we should all be hulk women by now! 

strugglingSM's picture

If the plan is for your SKids to cover all of their own extras when they turn 18, then it's probably wise to get them started on thinking about how much things cost and also started on contributing to their current extras. That doesn't mean they have to pay for the entire trip, but maybe they earn money to cover their tickets to Disney and Universal or their plane ticket. No child should assume that everything will be covered for them. I also disagree with the post above that children assume a $3000 band trip is just part of going to school. If a child assumes that, then they are being spoiled. Children should always be aware of which items/trips/experiences are privileges, not rights. I can guarantee you that not every child at the school has parents who just pay for every expensive trip without expecting anything from their children. There is at least one family that is either not interested in or not capable of paying that amount for a trip. Maybe that kid is working to cover his/her own expenses. 

BM would likely be less interested in signing them up for all the trips if she had to pay 100% of the cost herself. Instead, she has the added bonus of looking like a doting mother by allowing all trips, while also giving her a chance to stick it to her ex by demanding he pay for a trip that the children have already been promised. 

The BM in my life used to do this - send DH a monthly handwritten list of all the things she had paid for that she thought he should contribute to. I told him that I wasn't comfortable shelling out hundreds of extra dollars a month for things that we had no say in. BM also refused to contribute to any sports or activities we signed the children up for (e.g. one year, she wanted DH to pay $1000 to send both kids to sleep-away camp, but then refused to pay $200 to send the kids to tech camp that she had agreed to previously because she said DH was just using it as "daycare" during his weeks with the kids). Now, DH will tell her that if he didn't agree to it, he's not interested in paying for it. She also has a tendency to demand that he pay 100% of the cost for things, even though the CO stipulates that his obligation is 30%. He once gave her a check for 30% of the cost for football equipment. The next visitation, one of the children handed him an envelope, inside was his ripped up check and a letter saying he was "wasting her time" by not paying 100%. I've saved that letter, so if she ever decides to make an issue out of anything, DH can pull that out as proof that he was paying BM, but she was just trying to get more money from him. BM always threatens to go back to court for more child support when she doesn't get what she wants, but I know she won't because she now makes more money (and is no longer self-employed, so can't under-report her income on the CS calculation form, like she did when they got divorced) and DH's child support would likely be reduced if BM went back to court. 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

You hit the nail on the head! She can sign them up for anything & everything and look awesome, especially since she doesn’t have to pay for it all. 

Absolutely great idea about he list! We are blindsided completely! Week after week! I’m using that one this week.

So happy to have so many people who understand and to troubleshoot ideas!! Thank you!! 

TwoOfUs's picture

YOUR money shouldn't go to susidize skid experiences, period. 

If your DH can afford to make a full contribution to your household expenses AND all of his child support...and then has extra that he wants to give to his daughters, that's fine. But you are under no obligation to help this happen for them, and it sounds like you are getting resentful. 

Simply tell your hudband you want separate checking accounts and that he can pay for extras after he's paid CS and contributed at least 50% to the household budget that you've established. Easy to say...hard to do, I know. But you're protecting your marriage by doing so...not being a mean person. 

And YES. If teen skids want things, they should be expected to work and contribute to some degree, at their ages. Your DH and his ex aren't doing them any favors by not expecting some active financial participation from those girls. 

 

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

a bit resentful. As we have the business it’s  hard to determine what he contributes. We have to figure out what we are going to do as we enter the expensive years. 

TwoOfUs's picture

I'm in the exact same boat. DH and I have a business together...and it goes through ups and downs. However, he ONLY does the business and I also freelance enough to pay all our bills. It does cause resentment, because I don't have any kids myself and he brought 3 to the marriage...yet I feel that I'm carrying 75-80% of the financial burden. 

I know it's hard...but you can simply start saying no and prioritizing your own needs. I did this a little over a year ago, and it's amazing how much my savings grew in 2017... 

thinkthrice's picture

as being "ahead" on CS.  In NYS you are never caught up even though technically you have paid the CO CS.  This is if it goes through CSEU.  Anything extra is considered a "gift" to the BM.  CS also goes to 21 and beyond here.

This seldom works in reverse.  I don't know of any NCP biodad who overpaid CS via CSEU getting money retroactively.  The amount stays the same.

AdviceSeekingSM's picture

we aren’t expecting to somehow have a positive balance. In truth their mom never has acknowledged that we are ahead and we have never mentioned it to her. It is just time to readjust now that the most expensive years are ahead. Thanks! 

Tina22's picture

Sounds like you created a monster

Costa Rica for Spanish class??? Really?? Thousands of kids across the country are in Spanish classes and I assure you Costa Rica was not a class requirement. Either they are in a private expensive school or they are compley spoiled. And they are getting mad because u won't fly them out for a band trip? Wow. Hopefully this behavior is reversible somehow, its going to be a harsh rude awakening on everyone involved when these girls are denied what they want

Cover1W's picture

Oh, my SD14 is getting a trip to Costa Rica and she's not even IN a spanish class or anything.  It's just a trip her school offers (and the company makes $$$$ too BTW after DH checked them out).  It's a guise for "world travel" and "exploring other cultures."  So they get to go zip lining, explore beaches, do a lot of fun stuff.  And it's at least $2,700.  I was against it, if she wants to go on a class trip, let her go to WA DC.  But nope, she HAD to do the Costa Rica trip.  DH stipulated she had to help cover costs (BM did pay half, but DH had to make sure the payments were set up specifically for this split cost or he could have had the full bill) but nothing has been convered by her at all - and her classmates who are going have had multiple fund raisers, none of which she's deigned to participate in.  And you ask her, why are you exited?  She doesn't know.  She just wants the trip.  And then she complains we aren't going on a trip this summer or spring break...really?  Because YOUR DAD paid for YOU to go to Costa Rica a trip even we cannot afford for ourselves.  And you're complaining?  That's when I was just done.  I have no more patience for her trip complaints whatsoever.  She's in middle school!  Middle school! 

Loxy's picture

My school did a ski trip in year 11 and 12 and I was the only kid in both years who had to pay for their own trip so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect teenagers to get a job and contribute to these things.

With my skids, we pay child support (not a huge amount as BM is a high income earner - as is DH) and then half of all other agreed costs so school fees, medical costs and agreed activities - this would include school trips.