I was a single mom with two kids 22, and 14 at home. I met a great guy and we recently married and all moved in together. The problem is money.
The problem we have is my ex does not pay support. He has nothing to take so I just suck it up and paid for all myself. My new husband can't stand that he got away with this and complains about it everyday. Both my children now 24, and 16 are full time students with jobs. When we first moved in he wanted my son to pay $200 a month in rent. He lowered it to 50, and complains daily that he does nothing around the house. He does not have much free time as work, school, and studying take up all his time and we argue when I stick up for him. My 16 year old daughter is another issue. She is still in high school and works. Also she wanted braces, I could not afford them and she took on that payment herself ($249) and is also expected to pay her own cell phone bill (she is on our plan) which is about $60 a month. She also buys much of her own clothes and toiletries. I say this is too much financial stress on a 16 year old and want to pay her cell phone bill and my husband wants her to do it (he has a son 17 who of course has everything paid for). It's a daily battle, we have only been married 3 months and I am ready to leave. Any help?
Finances are one of the toughest topics for a blended family. Ideally, it's important to discuss these things before you marry.
Since you two didn't, and the way you are currently working through things isn't working- then it's time for some change.
Your ex is no longer financially responsible for the 24 year old. If you want to fight him in court for back child support, and get some help for your 16 year old- then I advise you to start immediately on this- as it will be a lengthy process.
But changes for now. Talk with your ex about his expectations. Write down what he considers as reasonable. Then you write down what you consider reasonable. Now talk through it and do your best to come to an agreement of what you believe is fair for both of you.
I know it will be difficult, but you entered the marriage, knowing you didn't receive support from your ex- and if it was your expectation that your new husband pays all the bills for your kids (and you didn't mention this) then your expectations are a bit unreasonable.
How did you afford everything before? Discuss this with your husband, too. Seeing how you arranged things before you remarried may also help.
I'm sorry you are having this trouble, but it is important for you and your new husband to get this worked out, without the kids being involved in the discussion.
Shirley Cress Dudley
Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
I sympathize with the situation. Perhaps it is time for a family forum where all the cards are laid on the table. I do hope that your new husband is working. To the children explain the difference between needs and wants - the needs you pay for, the wants they have to see to.
I agree that your daughter should not have that amount of financial stress.
The fact that both your children are part supporting themselves indicates that they are responsible young adults.
Responsibilities are important - I would suggest that your children be given some tasks - assist with some of the household chores. Your husband included. Children learn from seeing adults doings.
The forum is a means of preventing arguments. Concerns and communication are dealt with here. Once a matter is dealt with, DO NOT GO BACK TO IT. Stick to the facts and there should be no blaming.
For the sake of peace, have a neutral person present if no solution can be found.
Your children are important to you, and you need to show them the support and love. Perhaps you need to make it known to your new husband that you have moved on and that you made a success of your life without the help of your ex and he must not make any reference to it as you have dealt with the issue and have moved on with your life regarding that matter.