34 answers

Who Should Pay for School Supplies?

To make a very long story short...
My husband works a full time job, pays child support every week. Has continued to pay child support throughout the summer while his daughter has been living with us. He also pays for her health insurance, takes her to the Drs (because mom wont) takes her to the dentist (because at 9yrs old, mom had never taken her) and pays all medical bills (even though court order says its moms job... but she doesnt)
She recently emailed us the list of schools supplies and told us we had to get them because she could afford them. She works 20 hours a week and her live in boyfriend doesnt work at all.
I personally feel like she got 3 months worth of child support while she didnt have a child to support. I personally feel like there is no reason why she cant spend the $30-40 to get the school supplies, especially since she gets over double that every week for child supprt!
Has anyone else out there been through this and what should we do?

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded to my question. There were a lot of things I left out of the request that I think I should have added, but in the end, the supplies were needed. I know child support doesnt go far, and I know its not cheap to raise a child, especially one in school, but this woman doesnt even try. Everytime my husband gets a raise or gets a new job, she cuts back her hours or quits working. SHe was working 2 part times jobs, seemed to be doing good with money... but when my husband got a new job working for the state, she quit one of her part time jobs and cut back her hours at the other because she assumed she would get more money from him. She has 3 kids by 3 different guys and has told us several times her plan it to just stop working and live off the child support she gets. She tells us that all the child support goes to bills because she doesnt make enough. SHe even told us she was going to use the child support to get a marriage licence to marry her 18 yr old boyfriend (mom is 26).
We are currently going to court for full custody because of a lot of other things... social services has been involved...
Anyway... in the end I agreed with what a lot of you all said... and I took my own personal money and took my step daughter out for the night and got her school supplies. I didnt feel like my husband should get them because he already pays a lot of money to help take care of her while mom doesnt do anything, and I knew her mom wouldnt get them...So now, she can go to school with supplies and hopefully will remember the fun night we had together!

Featured Answers

S.:
I was once a Step mom. I got a lot of great information on these type of questions from a website called www.steptogether.org Having blended families can be so hard and issues of money and custody can be so contentious. Any Q's you have on ANY subject will be addressed by someone on that site. It helped a lot. Good Luck - S.

1 mom found this helpful

I would just say no. My husband's ex used to ask for a ton and I made him only pay what was fair. No she doesnt ask. If you don't put foot down on "small stuff" she will continue to take advantage.

From what you are relaying to us, it definitely sounds like the mom needs to step up and take some responsibility. Wether she has the money or not, for whatever reasons...she needs to make more effort somewhere. But.. Like S. C said, you don't want the girl to feel caught in the middle, and as if no one wants to get her school supplies. If you can afford it, I would go ahead and do so...just don't make a big deal about it to the daughter, I grew up in the middle of two parents who had issues, and it was horrible! Good luck...
K.

More Answers

Hi S.
While I agree that the mom should pay for more than she is, at the same time you don't want to make your daughter feel like a burden because she needs $40 spent on her, especially over something that she needs. Its not like its a new bike or some such. Perhaps if she looks around the house, there are existing office supplies or even school supplies from last year that could be used. No ones going to know that a pen or pencil isn't brand new. However, since school is starting in a few days, my suggestion is to just take her out and get her the supplies that she needs and then your husband and the mom can battle it out later. He could even put in writing that since he spent x amount on her school supplies, that he will be withholding that amount from the next week's support check.
He should also talk to his lawyer about getting the support agreement amended so that things such as summertime payments(when your daughter is with you) and school clothes/supplies are written out in the agreement.
Best wishes
M.

1 mom found this helpful

S.:
I was once a Step mom. I got a lot of great information on these type of questions from a website called www.steptogether.org Having blended families can be so hard and issues of money and custody can be so contentious. Any Q's you have on ANY subject will be addressed by someone on that site. It helped a lot. Good Luck - S.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, your stepdaughter's mother gets paid child support. However, there are a few considerations.

1. $60-$80 a week to support a child when the mother isn't working fulltime or isn't well-paid is not much.

2. Your stepdaughter needs the supplies and there is nothing worse as a kid than being stuck because neither of your parents want to support you.

I was the daughter in the scenario you describe. My dad paid his childsupport on time and paid all my medical bills and paid for my braces and eye glasses (all of which should have been split between them) and paid for college expenses when the time came. Yes, my mother didn't manage money well, but she didn't have it either. My dad, though not wealthy, had a lot more money than Mom and was better pleased not to make me feel uncared for and was certainly more pleased to pay my bills than to pay a lawyer to complain to a court about my mother's financial management. I never forgot what my Dad did. He was generous as a father is supposed to be and didn't let a dispute with my Mom harm my upbringing.

1 mom found this helpful

Being the mother in this same situation, I can see things from her point of view. She is asking for help. I was once the divorced mother living on a part time income and child support. He was just barely paying $125 a week for 2 children and expected me to have to bite the big one and pay for all of everything from medical bills to gas to get them to him every two weeks. The children were told that if they wanted something that mom should get it for them since he was paying so much child support. Yet, you have to think that caring for two children (or one in your case) is expensive (as I am sure you know). There is food to buy, a roof to provide and clothing that they grow out of in was seems like just days. With a limited income, she is having a hard time coming up with the money to get the supplies. Luckily, your step daughter has the support of you and her father. Yes, mom should have anticipated these things that she would need, but at the same time, something could have come up that she needed to use the money to provide something else for this child. I would just get the supplies, and make sure that your husband speaks to his lawyer and asks if it can be slowly held back out of the child support, if that is really an issue, like in $5 or $10 increments. This way, she is not getting her cake and eating it to, but the child is getting what she needs for school. I mean I have seen it go both ways. The mother (or father) with custody is blowing the child's support on themselves, AND that the child support is really not enough even with a decent paying full time job. The important thing here is that this little girl gets the supplies that she needs for school, not who is paying for it.

I am sorry if that sounds rude, but like I said, I have been the mother in that situation and I know how hard it is.

From what you are relaying to us, it definitely sounds like the mom needs to step up and take some responsibility. Wether she has the money or not, for whatever reasons...she needs to make more effort somewhere. But.. Like S. C said, you don't want the girl to feel caught in the middle, and as if no one wants to get her school supplies. If you can afford it, I would go ahead and do so...just don't make a big deal about it to the daughter, I grew up in the middle of two parents who had issues, and it was horrible! Good luck...
K.

Hi S.,

I have been through many similar situations with my ex. In the end, arguing with your husband's ex doesn't sound like it would work (she after all took child support all summer when her daughter wasn't even living with her - I kind of doubt she put it aside for her college fund!). The most important thing is that your stepdaugher not get caught in the middle and feel that because she needs school supplies she is causing a problem. I think your husband needs to pay for them, though it clearly isn't fair, and seek changes in their divorce agreement, such as regarding child support in the summer if his ex. does not have physical custody of your step-daughter.

In my experience, people like your husband's ex. don't come to some realization about themselves and act differently. It seems in these situations ONE of the parents has to be the bigger person for the sake of the child and in this case that sounds like it will be your husband.

Good luck!

S.:

Hello. I'm sorry to hear about this situation. Please know I'm not trying to be rude or hurtful here and I may be way off base here but here goes.

What's the issue here? Is this about money? Or is this something deeper? You are fortunate enough to be a SAHM - it's $40. I know it can go a LONG way. Is it the principal of the matter or what? You knew when you married your husband he had another child. Divorce is rarely ever pleasant and when children are in involved, it can sometimes get VERY nasty. It's NOT the child's fault.

In my opinion you have every right to be angry. However, you have a choice to make - to be the responsible adult or the whining, sniveling "new wife". I would chose to be the adult.

This child's mother is obviously irresponsible - if she's not going to school, she should be working full time - but that's my opinion. She shouldn't have a live-in boyfriend either - she has an example to set for this girl. Remember this child is observing EVERYTHING in her world - she'll be mimicking it soon enough - which world do you want her mimicking - yours or her biological mothers?

It's obvious you do not like this woman. However, it IS obvious you love this child! I hope you don't show any ill-will when you talk on the phone with her, etc. as the child will be listening, watching and picking up.

I was a step-mom before. However, I fell in love with my daughter (I met her dad when she was 9 months old and her parents were separated) and we gained sole-custody of her. Her biological mother never worked and it seemed that "E" never had clothes that fit her, diapers, etc. even though my then-husband was paying her child support.

My daughter's biological mother lived in a different state, we paid for her to come to a birthday party. She ALMOST didn't make it.

Your step-daughter, obviously needs guidance, love and support from a woman. That should be YOU. Do NOT EVER say anything negative about her mom in front of her or if there is a chance she can hear it. Be polite when you pick her up and drop her off, etc. NOTE EVERYTHING (lack of responsibility, part-time employment (especially if she's NOT going to school, condition of home environment, lack of financial responsibility, live-in leach of a boyfriend, etc.), lack of taking child to Dr's, etc. and get custody so that YOU can give this child a warm, loving environment.

You are fortunate enough to be a SAHM. You have an opportunity to make a HUGE difference in this girl's life. Suck it up, pay for the supplies and everything else she needs (note I said NEED not WANT - you will be teaching her responsibility and many other things as well) give her your love generously.

DO NOT complain about buying the supplies - she will end up respecting you and following your lead and example - which is what I would hope you want - for her to be a successful member of society rather than a leach.

Being in your situation is NOT easy. It's all about attitude. A child's welfare is at stake here - it's not about the school supplies, it's about a child who needs your support. I would fight for sole custody so hard - a child deserves and needs a good example, love and support.

I'm sorry this is long and drawn out. I truly don't believe this issue is about who pays for what. Any animosity you harbor towards this woman isn't going to help you or the child. Set a great example for the child. Give her what she needs.

I think you should take the high road. In addition, this is between the other two adults. It is not your child, so how would you feel if your ex-spouse's spouse were making plans to get custody of your two year old? It is noble of your husband to take care of the needs of his child. Let her enjoy her childhood.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.