Separated, how much should I provide?

edited 31 August 2016 at 11:26AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
3.3K replies 590.5K views


  • JackRSJackRS Forumite
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    Caroline_a wrote: »
    Well.... I may be a bit unpopular, but I think at 23 she should be making her own way in the world, whether she's still at college or not. My girls all had weekend/holiday jobs from the age of 16 to pay for extras and all have worked since they left full time education. I'm sorry, I don't believe that there are no jobs on the south coast during the holiday period - maybe there are no jobs that she wants to do, but hey, when I was at uni I worked in shops, factories, etc - it wasn't about the job, it was about the money! And if she's doing a music course, is there anything to stop her doing a bit of busking??!

    I suspect that you are being taken for a ride by her, encouraged by her mother, who has already bled you almost dry. Be careful that you are not now in the realms of 'buying love' rather than helping out.

    Yes that's basically what I said, I had to work all my holidays and weekends from the age of 13. Obviously I want to support but to motivate her to do something to earn for few hours a week.

  • kelpie35kelpie35 Forumite
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    Jack, I personally think your daughter is following in her mother's foot steps.

    I think you have been more than generous with both your children.

    Because you are such a kind and loving father I feel you are being taken for a fool and that is really distressing.

    If I were you I would only give a food parcel once a month to the value of how much you spend feeding your self per month.

    How much is your ex contributing to your son and daughter per month?

    Remember that you have a bright future to look forward to with your lovely lady and that should be where your priority lies.

    You now deserve to be stress free and continue to enjoy your life.
  • CathACathA Forumite
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    What about paying for useful things, like car insurance/road side recovery? I did that for all my girls plus any bits of shopping when they came home to visit. I could have given them money but I felt they need to learn about the real world, hence they've had jobs since they were 13-dog walking, car washing, paper rounds etc. They've all worked whilst at school and uni, they've learned how to budget and I can honestly say they were the richest students I knew! Everyone else was desparate for their next grant/loan payment, they were sitting pretty with loads left!
    One of my brother's friends had a daughter at uni, went through her grant and loan money in 6 weeks and he had to bail her out. He was not impressed.
  • AmesAmes Forumite
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    One thing to bear in mind with her getting a summer job is her age. She'll be competing against under 21s where the minimum wage is lower and even under 18s where there is no minimum wage. She's very expensive to an employer of casual summer staff.

    Of course, that's somewhat balanced by her being in a tourist area with lots of seasonal jobs.
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  • SandCSandC Forumite
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    Agree with the others. I think you should be more pushy about her getting a job. Giving her a lump sum won't encourage that in any way.

    You have to look at this long term. After graduating what is she planning on doing? I suspect something she really wants to do won't be easy to get, it's not a job in an office type of degree is it? Without having lots of experience in part time jobs she will really start to struggle to find anything at all. Her CV doesn't look great and there will always be many more graduates who applied themselves far more in preparation for the working world.

    Be careful you don't make a rod for your own back in supporting her.

    If she's a musician, heck why isn't she out busking or something at least??? Or applying to local bands?
  • Caroline_aCaroline_a Forumite
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    JackRS wrote: »
    Yes that's basically what I said, I had to work all my holidays and weekends from the age of 13. Obviously I want to support but to motivate her to do something to earn for few hours a week.

    Maybe time for some tough love now? She is expecting you to pay for her for another 2 years?? and then what? another course, maybe a Masters? PhD?

    My thoughts are that at some point you will be stopping paying - you need to decide when that will be. Moving from giving cash to food parcels, Oyster card top ups. etc, may be the way to go. I would approach the subject now so that she has time to plan. Tell her what you are going to do and stick to it. Her reaction will show you what her motivations are. If she throws a hissy fit then I fear you have been used as a free bank.

    However, if she is mature enough she will say ok dad, that's fine, thank you for all you've done. Sometimes you have to call people's bluff...
  • KiKiKiKi Forumite
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    Your daughter is TWENTY THREE. She's an adult, a grown adult.

    She knows full well you'll support her because you feel guilt over breaking up with her mum, and she's playing on it.

    Do her a favour and don't let her turn into her mother.

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  • trix-a-belletrix-a-belle Forumite
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    Sorry cross posted with you yesterday Jack yes I did, I could have easily sat and done nothing as my parents asked for no board, but it was hugely about having my own cash, independence, mental stimulation and a life of my own.
    I had another thought, by doing this may your lad come out of the woodwork at some oh so appropriate time (potentially prompted by the ex) and ask where his cash is as well you paid his sister's living expenses.
    Could you scale it back so you pay nothing at all to her in the final year of her course as she should definitely be sorting herself out by then (suggesting as I know how much you want to support her but equally kick her into gear & it's truly frustrating)
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  • MrsTinksMrsTinks Forumite
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    I spotted this on MSE's FB post and thought I'd have a read - made it half way through in my lunch hour ;)

    I've caught up the last few pages - and firstly I think you've been very reasonable to be honest.

    Your daughter - if you WANT and can continue to support her then how about telling her that you will match 100% or 50% of any money she earns herself either month by month or as a sum up to a maximum amount? That way she can see it's not that she's not important to you, although quite frankly I agree with other posters... be careful you are nor creating a clone of her mother.

    I have two step siblings who are now both over 40 and still sponge off my mum and step dad because they allowed his ex to do it till she passed away a few years ago. They are not untalented people, far more talented than I am if I'm honest! But they have no ambition or drive to do more than the minimum to get by because no-one has ever made them.
    Compare with me... I was left behind in England when my stepfathers tour ended with the Navy and they moved back - I had a year left of school and wanted to stay. When school ended I found a job in a week, i got made redundant so found another job... I've had no hand outs, no loans, no financial support other than gifts for our wedding, which were lovely but never expected! My daughter had a pram bought by my dad, clothes and a few toys by mym mum and step dad... my step sister when pregnant had EVERYTHING bought when she was in hospital giving birth because my mum discovered she'd bought nothing... £2k later on the credit cards and it was sorted (because no second hand would do... unlike in my house lol)

    So, unless you accept carrying on being the bank for life then please put your foot down NOW! It's never too late but it will get harder.

    My husband earns VERY well now, he didn't always, but not working was never an option. After maternity I went back, some of the jobs were minimum wage (tough after being a senior manager), but my husbands potential was greater so we accepted this. There is a real possibility of us splitting in future and he is insisting that we should split things 50/50 - and irony is that I feel terrible about that because it's my choice if it happens and he has always brought the lions share. I know I'd never have had the things I do if it wasn't for him, I don't have that skill set. But to think I'm entitled half of what he's made makes me feel VERY uncomfortable...

    Ultimately life is short. Sometimes you grow apart, sometimes things happen, but living a life regretting not seeking what made you happy is a huge mistake. Your daughter may or may not understand that shes a grown up now and needs to woman up (for reference I was on my own in a foreign country at the age of 17... I lived with my boyfriends parents until he dumped me at 18) - your son may or may not come round. One day hopefully he will get curious and respond to you. Until then send cards on birthdays and christmas, continue to try and contact him, never stop that. My dad fought 15 years to get access to my younger half sister - her mother blocked him every time. When she contacted us she realized the lies her mother had told about us and we have a fair relationship now, but knowing my dad never gave up on her helped her greatly knowing he always loved her and always wanted her.

    And a massive congratulations on the upcoming nuptials - might I recommend a pre-nuptial this time round? ;)

    (did I mention I have come out of MSE retirement just to respond? LOL)
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  • edited 6 September 2016 at 4:39PM
    Tuesday_TenorTuesday_Tenor Forumite
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    edited 6 September 2016 at 4:39PM
    Have followed your thread from the beginning, but never posted as I had no particular experience of divorce to offer.

    So glad life is going well for you now.

    Your daughter's on a music performer's course?!?!
    Heavens, the young people I've known on such courses have been the ones more likely than others to be earning decent money working part-time. They are out performing whenever they can! Usually in quartets and duos, but sometimes as soloists: playing in restaurants and bars, at parties and weddings. Particularly in London. Even busking, as others have suggested. No doubt mother's family would be horrified at that suggestion and it won't ever happen as they would rather give her money themselves.

    Is making music how she wants to earn her living? If so, she needs to be building up her experience, as well as earning some money now.

    I share your concern that if she's not motivated then the maternal grandparents will just step in to fund her. Let them. It would be far better for her functioning in the world if she were forced to fend for herself, without further input from you or other family members. I see that's unlikely to happen, but you must stick to your guns about both what you think is better for her, longer-term, and what you can actually afford. What others, such as grandparents, choose to do is up to them.

    Your daughter is well into adulthood now so shouldn't be expecting much from you financially. You should continue to fund what you previously agreed, but no more. If that was based on her getting part-time work, stick to that.

    It will be sad indeed if the relationship she has with you is only founded on money, but you can't force her to behave in a particular way. As an adult she's responsible for the consequences of her own decisions, actions and lifestyle. And for motivating herself to meet her aspirations and goals. It's her life, not yours.

    Along with other posters I think both children will, with increased experience and maturity, re-evaluate their relationships with both yourself and their mother, and re-forge their relationships with you. I do hope so.
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