My Husbands Daughter Is 39. She Is Getting Married in July. Do We Have to Pay

Updated on June 23, 2016
M.M. asks from Boss, MO
24 answers

his kids have basically been estranged, except the oldest boy. for five years, he gave them all three 1000 for christmas. the oldest son always came over, not the other two. never a thank you or call. he is dying of bone cancer, and feels obligated to pay 1/2 the cost. they have lived together for 3 1/2 years. we are struggling financially, and they are better off than we are. I'm at odds with him over this I say buy a nice gift. suggestions? May I add, we are both on disability-
He and his ex, divorced 35 years ago. he worked 2 jobs his whole life. he drank when he didnt have his kids. we have been together 20 years. they did not like his lifestyle, so they didnt come around. when they got older, they came around on the holidays. he gave up the hard drinking a long time ago. I love his kids as if they were my own.In the 20 years we have been together, the oldest son has always been around. the daughter and youngest son, maybe 5x total. and we received an invite like everyone else. no mention of walking her down the aisle.. also no phone call from any for fathers day.

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answers from Boston on

I feel for you but IMO, his kids, his call. When you marry someone with kids (especially grown kids), you have to accept that how he treats them is by and large up to him.

That depends on whose money he is spending. If you truly have joint finances and he wants to spend money that you have earned and that you need to live on, you have a right to say no. If it's money that he has saved, then is sort of his to decide what to do with.

Try to meet in the don't want to be struggling more than necessary from a financial perspective, but you don't want to fight a dying man either.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

There is no reason any one should pay for the wedding of a 39 year old except her and her fiance. They are grown ups. As grown ups, they also get to decide all the details of the wedding.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

I'm so sorry you're in this situation, both with his health and the kids' behavior.

I don't think that kids being ungrateful necessarily implies that this is all on him, or on you. Maybe he wasn't a good husband or role model the first time around, with all the drinking, I don't know. Maybe they don't like you - but that shouldn't stop them from having a relationship with their father or calling him on Father's Day.

If she's getting married next month, she has already made her plans. She's not counting on the money. If she has no conversation/relationship with her father, I see no reason why he needs to pay anything - aside from the fact that she is 39 and pays her own way. Your husband couldn't buy her attention with $1000 at Christmas, he can't buy it now. I know he is probably vacillating between doing the "dad thing" to pay for the wedding, and maybe he wants to part on a good note with her having a positive memory of his participation.

I think he needs to get his affairs in order, and that means making sure you are as well situated as possible after he passes. If there's a very limited relationship, I would think it would be very uncomfortable for the daughter to accept a lot of money from her father. She may well have plans to walk down the aisle alone, not escorted by anyone. Maybe she knows her father is terminally ill and wants to invite him to attend, but not put pressure on him. Maybe she doesn't want to give him a position of "honor". I don't know. But you both got an invitation, so I'd accept that as her level of comfort, and I wouldn't push it.

Personally, I would go to the wedding (assuming you both are able) and I would consider 2 gifts - something from their registry, and some family heirloom or keepsake that will let her know she's always been in her father's heart. It should be from HIS side of the family and it should look like he chose it, not you. Perhaps he has a photo of her when she was little, perhaps something from his parents (maybe she could wear a piece of jewelry from his mother as her "something old", or just have it as a keepsake), maybe it could be some recipes from his parents/grandparents. Anything. Even a letter saying what he admires about her and containing his wishes for her future.

I think you should stay out of the exchange with her, just work on encouraging your husband to NOT give up vital funds. If his illness is affecting his thought processes, I'd consider moving most of the money into another account.

I hope this is a good day for the family with some healing and good memories.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

What do you mean by basically estranged? Do you mean he married you and they hate you and don't want to be around you? I mean kids don't just wake up at the age of 34 and say I am done with you dad!

So what is really going on? Is your husband facing death and realizing he wants a relationship with his kids again?

Obviously he can't spend money he doesn't have so if he can pay half he can pay half. It sounds to me like you like them not in your life.

Edit: can't help but notice this sounds like the exact same question asked months ago where the OP added information trying to justify not spending money. Like exactly the same which is why I wondered if I was contrary you would do the same, you did.

Are you nuts or a troll? Not sure what you hope to gain by coming back here over and over tweaking your story to get more people to agree with you. If I were your husband I would shrug and say so what? so you have women on the internet that don't know you snowed? It won't change his opinion so stop coming here and taking up our time.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your husband kind of decided on drinking in excess instead of trying to be a parent to his children. Using the excuse that he drank because he didn't have his kids is shifting the responsibility off his actions and blaming the kids for it. Uncool.

Paying for a wedding should hinge on how active the kids are in your life. Either you pony up the money or not but making it seem like no visits equals no money is just as silly as those people who won't pay child support because they are unhappy with their visitation schedule. One has nothing to do with the other.

Since your husband is dying and funds are limited I think you both need to sit down and have a talk about how your money is going to be used. You'll be around and disabled long after he's gone.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your husband should do what he wants to do. She is his daughter even tho the've not seen each other. I suggest he knows that he is responsible for his life and his children.

You want revenge. Did you do anything to make it easier for them to visit or did you judge and complain thinking the children should visit even tho they weren't comfortable in your home? Did you suggest a picnic so they could meet in a neutral area? You are also responsible for how your life turned out. His daughter is not responsible for you having little money.

I suggest her Dad, perhaps because he is dying wants to make amends. Death puts life in perspective. This could be a lesson in compassion for your husband who lost his children and now realizes he wants to show his daughter he cares.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I was 30 when I married the first time. Owned my own home, had a good job, new car, etc. My mom gave me I believe 3k in cash and my grandparents did about the same and my husband and I paid the rest.

So maybe he can offer a flat amount as a "wedding gift" to be used as they wish. I would let all the other b.s go and not have him stressed out in the end times of his life. If I were you I would stay out of it and let your husband do what he feels he wants to do. After he is gone, frankly you don't need to worry about it anymore. Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

welcome to mamapedia.

How long have you been married to their dad?
Are they estranged because of your marriage to their dad?
If this were YOUR daughter, and the circumstances were the same, would you feel the same way?

Too many questions to answer this really. I don't know why they are estranged.

It's HIS daughter. What did he promise to do?
She's way beyond legal adult. Did she not save for this? Does she not know the financial stress you both are under? Well - maybe not bad if you can give $1K to each child.

You really need to discuss this and NOT fight over it. What are her expectations? What are HIS? What is HALF?? Are they have a $100K wedding or is this more down to earth??

Like I said too many unanswered questions from you

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

She is not just an adult, she has been an adult for a long time now. Adults pay for their own parties. If he is dying he should be worried about making sure you will be okay when he is gone, not about paying for half an overpriced fancy party for his adult daughter. $1000 would have been an extremely generous wedding gift, for Christmas that is just insane. If you can afford another grand give that, but a few hundred is more then acceptable, less if you are struggling. Like I said, he needs to be thinking about you and how you will be taken care of after he is gone!

I get the people saying his kids his call, but it is not his money, it is is both of yours money and you need to be thinking about retirement, not weddings.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

The etiquette answer is he should offer to contribute as the father - whatever you both feel is suitable. That is different for every single family.

But that offer (in my opinion) should have been made long ago. I know if I was her, I would be disappointed my father hadn't made an attempt to talk to me about it by now.

At this point, my thought would be - just buy a nice gift.

I'm sorry your husband is not well. So some of this is understandable.

But I think you have to let go of some of this pettiness. You are offended by her actions such as her not asking him to walk her down the aisle. Yet she is not close with your husband so likely does not feel comfortable having him fill this role. I'm sure it was not a decision made lightly.

Remember - bottom line, it's her day. I wouldn't do anything to make it awkward. Sounds like you'll feel resentful if he spends too much on her. Understandable. But that - is between your husband and you. That's for you two to sort out.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well it's between him and his daughter.
If I were him I'd say no.
His daughter's an adult for 20 or so years now and must have been working on her own for a long time.
She and her fiance should be paying for their wedding.
That being said, I think your husband might be feeling some level of guilt and paying for this is his way of making himself feel better.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

This situation has two pieces which you need to separate out. One is your HUSBAND'S relationship with HIS children and how he chooses to show his feelings for his daughter in an important life moment. The other is how you two plan for your financial future. The first one is not your concern. No, the bride's family is not obligated by etiquette to pay for the wedding of a 39-year old daughter, especially when she has not asked them to do so. It is good that she invited you two, and he certainly could give what he likes. My parents contributed a certain amount to my wedding expenses when I was 32, and anything above that was my responsibility because I was an adult and had been living on my own for at least 10 years. We also got to plan the wedding when and where we wanted--because we were adults. I walked down the aisle with my maid of honor, not because my relationship with my father was uncomfortable, but because it fit me more. In your case, the couple clearly are not expecting him to pay for any specific part of the event because they haven't ASKED him, so anything he gives will be a gift/extra. Ultimately, it is his decision and it would be wise for you to support him in how he tries to contribute to his daughter's wedding. I liked Diane's idea of him giving her something from his family to affirm that connection. I do encourage you to re-read Diane B's wise post about allowing this event to be a time of healing for you and your husband (and his daughter). Don't concentrate on who did or didn't do what in the past; focus on NOW. That can be one of the gifts of death being close--it can help us get clear about what really matters.

The other piece, about your financial future, does involve you, and you two should be putting everything in order as best you can, if you haven't already. Wishing you much luck with all of these things.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

They sound totally old enough to pay their own wedding expenses. He should give a nice gift, but paying for the wedding is almost ridiculous at this age. I got married when I was 36 an wouldn't dream of asking for anyone to pay for my wedding. Me and my husband totally flipped the bill. Our parents did give us 1000 or so as a gift.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you have already gotten an invite then the planning is already done.

If they had expected you to contribute financially, then this would have been discussed before the planning. Being this close to the wedding, most of the deposits or balances have been paid. So it sounds like they don't "expect" any financial contribution.

I'm sure with him dying and her getting married a whole truck load of emotions are erupting.

I think it is best to contribute a specific amount that will help him feel like he is contributing as a father to his daughter while also protecting yourself financially.

Until you go through something like this it is hard to understand how someone who is dying will want to 'kitchen sink' parental guilt by going over the top with gifts, and it is just as hard to watch a child abandon a sickly parent because that is what the parent did to them. So please don't judge them.

Sorry you are going through this.

My close friend from grade school lived with her mom and disabled mother. The lived on welfare and child support, when he ( edit: her father)paid. He struggled to keep jobs. He remarried and had two additional children. My friend saw her father rarely. She grew up and became extremely successful. When her father past away, his wife and kids had no money to pay for any funeral/burial/creamation She ended up setting up a small funeral and paid for everything herself.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

So he's trying to buy their love after years of drinking and them not wanting to be around his drinking. He finally gave up drinking, but too late for their relationship. They're happy to have his money, but not enough to have anything to do with him.

He's dying, you don't have much in the way of making a living, and you are worried about your financial future. And it sounds like he's not listening to you.

Sounds like you two need some counseling. He needs to hear your worries. After 20 years together, he needs to remember that you aren't young and can't make the kind of living that the kids can. It will be up to you to pay the bills when he is gone. He needs to make it so that you can. You also need the ability to make decisions legally when he can no longer do it. With cancer, he will get to the point that he can't take care of things. As hard as it is to think about this, you need a medical directive so that he can die in peace without them trying to revive him, shock his heart, that kind of thing. It's called "Do Not Resusitate". You need to have the money to bury him. You find out what that is by going to the funeral home and discussing expenses.

If you don't know what the budget is, figure it out. He needs to do that with you. When you've gone through all that, when you've shown him how much the burial and funeral cost, when you've talked about medical expenses you'll be left with, make sure that he undrestands what's left for you to live off of. Especially if there is not life insurance. If there is life insurance, make sure you have the information and that you know where the policy is. You should also know the beneficiary information.

Have an honest talk with him about your ability to take care of yourself. It's important for him to not put his head in the sand here. It won't make his almost 40 year old finally love him to pay for 1/2 of their wedding. His feelings of guilt will leave you struggling and that's something you need to really get him to understand.

Added - please don't go out and buy stuff that you don't actually have to have, as one poster suggests. He won't have the strength to operate a hover round chair very soon, and spending money doesn't mean that he won't give it to the kids. He can charge it and then you'll have a big credit card bill.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well you don't "have" to do anything but die and pay taxes.

That said, this is his daughter. He has the the right to choose what he wants to do.

Personally, it sucks that he is being made to feel obligated. It's not about her financial situation being better than yours, etc. I read jealousy in your words when you mention the money situation.

It's sad that he's dying. He gets to choose what he wants to do with his children.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i agree, his kids, his call. it's a sad story. hopefully one day they'll appreciate all he did for them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think she's an adult. She can figure it out. Julie S. You don't have to respond. You volunteered.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

As a parent I would never tell my kids I would pay for half. Cost could then easily spin out of control. I would say I am giving you $X. It is way easier to spend other people's money.

Sorry for your situation. I sincerely hope things work out for your family.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

You (and he) don't have to pay for anything you don't want to.
Sounds like he WANTS to pay.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

An estranged parent is by choice in my opinion. If it were important for him to be around at the time, he would have gone to court and had the judge order it. It is very difficult for both parties to pick up and carry on a relationship after a time lapse. It is not that it can't be done, but difficult.

I am sure the daughter had to give some thought to what she wanted and what she was comfortable with for her wedding, just as you all are giving it thought.

Due to the financial difficulty, I don't know that half would be appropriate, but if he wants to do something or make some sort of arrangement, let him. If that gives him peace in his heart, let him do it. You (or he) may have to reach out to her to find out what she still needs or if a small financial contribution would be more suitable.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Nope. At her age and if they've been living together they should know what they want and plan on purchasing their own things.

IF you have the money, since he obviously had $3000 at Christmas to give away, then offer to contribute to her dress fund or something.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

That's tough. I think it would be a nice gesture. Even if my kids end up earning more than me or is rich, I would love to pay for my daughter's wedding if it was a reasonable venue. If this is something he wants to do, that would be nice. Even if it is just to pay for a portion, for example, the open bar, or the cake or pictures....something that he can be a part of. Good luck and congratulations on the happy occasion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you have given more than enough info here. I read no where that he is being made to pay. He feels obligated is what you say--that is on him but if your money is joint, then you do have a say in how it is spent. It does not make sense as some moms are saying that because it is his daughter he decides unless you and he have separate financial accounts.

My advice is to begin using a lot of your joint savings on your own lives: replace the raggedy car, stove, refrigerator. Stop eating generic foods. Buy him a hover round chair so that he can move around. If he passes, you can use the chair in your senior years. You get my point. Use your joint money on yourselves and there will be none left to give. Again, I disagree that it is his daughter and his decision--if indeed it is joint money. Blessings to your husband.

Added: Do not do as another mother posted and spend your limited money on a burial. Cremation is a viable option and just as loving but not as costly.

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