Author Topic: Blended Family Financial Obligations  (Read 12164 times)

anonperson

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Blended Family Financial Obligations
« on: February 21, 2019, 02:15:56 PM »
Long time lurker, first time poster.  I need advice relate to finances in a second marriage. My older husband of three years has 3 kids from his first marriage (oldest is at a very expensive college, middle has committed to a very expensive college, and youngest is still in high school and lives with his mom in another state) and we have one baby together. His ex-wife is bitter, lawyered up and never wastes a second to go back to court for more money if she can. She has plenty of money and a good job.  Between child support, shared child expenses (no expense is spared on their kids) and college tuition (heís obligated to pay half by his divorce decree, wherever they choose to go), at least 55% of his after-tax income goes to the ex-wife and their 3 children, and weíre still looking at many more years of expensive colleges plus whatever support he decides to provide them when they are adults (and on this issue I donít feel like I have a voice since theyíre not my kids and he takes offense and shuts down whenever I express discontent).  He also pays 5% of his after-tax income to support an elderly parent.  He is a partner in his business (so he should be making quarterly tax payments), makes 3x my income, and has about 5x my net worth in ďpremarital assetsĒ, but those assets are illiquid. No prenup.  Through his work he could have one or a series of sizeable equity events at any time in the future, or never. But heís in a lot of debt, and because he insists on filing taxes jointly and I acquiesced, we both currently owe more in taxes than my annual income.  The reasons he has accumulated so much debt are: (1) divorce obligations that he didnít fully disclose before we were married (and admittedly, I didnít push him to disclose); (2) overspending in the years between his divorce and when we met and were married by borrowing against his brokerage account believing it would never go down but it did in a big way, which he regrets this terribly; and (3) overspending to buy a house at the very beginning of our marriage, back when I thought he just had deep pockets and didnít ask enough questions.  I learned about all of this after we were married.

I am a very disciplined financially and Iíve never had any debt prior to this marriage.  I continue to max out my 401k like I have since I took my first job, and I secretly save money in my childís 529 plan through direct pay at my work, because I know he would not be supportive of saving for her while heís simultaneously putting his older kids through college and dealing with all this debt.  I dislike my current job, but I continue so that I can save aggressively for retirement and fund my daughterís college account, and now I am also over withholding 2019 taxes to help the situation (we bank together, so this is just my way of asserting some control over the situation).  My plan was always to make my money first in a job that I donít love, then pursue a career doing something more fulfilling later.  And on this point, if I were still single and living as modestly as I always had, Iíd be FIREíd by now. 

It would be very hard to deal with this debt if we were to divorce or he dies (after all, Ďhisí assets are all premarital assets; the only thing we have to show for our marriage is debt and a home we own together, which is frankly way more house and more mortgage than I need or want).  My anxiety about all the debt is very high, and it affects my health, my ability to perform my job, and has caused me to feel resentment toward his kids (I understand this is not their fault, but the feelings are still there).
We have a positive net worth, both individually and collectively. I believe if there were no stepchildren involved our marriage would be great, but thatís counterfactual.  I do not want my daughter to grow up in a broken home, or to expose her to a series of other women or a stepmother. 
 
Itís easy to pass judgment say I shouldíve known better and I did this to myself, and I agree, but I didnít appreciate the magnitude of the situation and how it would affect me financially and emotionally, and now Iím looking for advise on how to move forward.  Here is what Iíve done and am doing: (1) I see a therapist off and on for the anxiety; (2) Iíve asked to file taxes separately each of the last 3 years but heís opposed since it will increase our overall obligation as a couple; (3) Iíve threatened to leave the marriage; (4) weíve been to counseling, but he discontinued counseling because he says I only want to complain that he needs to pay taxes and his other debt and he already knows that; and (5) I now make large payments to the IRS each month as soon as his paycheck hits our joint account, but at the current rate itís going to be years before we pay it off, and it may cause him to default on his other debt, and I know he resents me for it and feels emasculated.  For all I know, heís so unhappy with the situation and how Iíve reacted that heís planning to leave me.  So, any advice?

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 02:58:29 PM »
Look into filing as injured spouse (I think that is what it is called). You can file together and claim injured spouse. I did that with my ex husband because of his back child support crap. I don't know how you feel but my situation wasn't as bad as yours and I chose to divorce. I am now taking care of our child all on my own, which is much better financially and emotionally. It is very difficult to respect your spouse when he has that attitude of he does what he wants and you should just accept it. It really sounds to me like you would be better off without him.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 03:52:54 PM »
This sounds like such a hard situation.  I'm commenting not because I have any advice, but just to express my compassion towards you.

I have several good friends in blended family situations (2nd marriages) and parenting tends to be the biggest source of stress in these relationships. Especially when some children are biologically shared in the new couple vs children coming in from the previous relationship(s). Even when spouses are relatively on the same page, its super difficult as parenting styles may be different between the older children/previous relationship vs. what kind of parental expectations/family rules/money/ values are expected in the "new" family.  All that to say, even when its working well, its a challenge. Your situation involves debt, a super expensive life phase (college x 3) and some communication issues - so its even harder.  I'm so sorry. I'm hoping you get some helpful feedback.

former player

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 07:08:58 PM »
My first thought was maybe you should have a divorce on paper but carry on living together in a permanent relationship with separate finances.

OK, ignoring that idea.

Please separate out in your mind the issues of tax filing (which is about assessing how much tax you as a family pay) and tax payments.  They are two separate things.  There is absolutely no point in filing taxes separately just because you are having issues over the tax payments - filing separately won't affect the tax debts already accumulated and will just make future payments higher.  So please stop asking for separate filing of taxes.  If you could possibly say to you husband that he was right about this, and that your worries over the tax debt had wrongly led you to think that filing singly would be the solution that might be very helpful.

Now, tax payments.  There are two separate issues here: the pre-existing debt and the current withholding.  As to the pre-existing debt, do you have an agreed payment schedule with the Revenue?  If so, please stick to this.  Don't overpay, don't pay more than a day in advance of the due date.  If you have an agreed payment schedule you have an agreed end date: think of this as the equivalent of a mortgage, set it and forget it.

As to current withholding, you say that you are overwithholding your 2019 taxes "to help the situation".  I don't understand how this helps the situation?  Surely if you have unallocated income it should go an emergency fund, investments or debt repayment, rather that putting it aside to cover future obligations that don't in fact exist?  It could be helpful if you could rethink this, and just put enough aside to cover expected taxes for 2019.

Now, non-tax debt.  This has three sources: divorce obligations, pre-marital consumer spending, and mortgage debt.  You seem to be characterising this debt as your husband's, but in reality it is your family debt, and the "worse" part of "for better or worse".  One thing that particularly concerns me is that because you don't seem to see this debt as a family debt you are potentially overpaying on the tax debt (which you do accept as partially yours) to the point at which these other debts may go unpaid.   There is nothing "financially disciplined" about overpaying on one debt while not paying others, and that way bankruptcy lies.

One thing you might consider is whether you have been in your current home long enough to recoup your costs if you sell and move somewhere more modest in size and expense.

I'm seeing a lot of positives in your situation: good family income levels, substantial family assets, positive net worth, ability to save for retirement and college and support an elderly parent as well as paying off debt.  I wonder whether creating a comprehensive summary of your family's financial position, along the lines of a case study, possibly with a spreadsheet showing projected debt payoff and asset accumulation, would help you to see the whole picture as being more positive.  I can see that having gone from a "no debt, ever" mindset to finding that there is substantial debt in your marriage has been difficult to adjust to.   But "no debt" and "financially disciplined" are not necessarily the same things: it might be helpful if you can work through for yourself where these are and are not the same.

Talking to your husband about all this will be key.  Although it is in a different context, there is a lot of good advice in this thread about how to talk to a spouse or partner about money matters -

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/

Good luck.

Padonak

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 07:52:22 PM »
When he divorced, how did he agree to pay half of tuition for his children no matter where they go to school? I mean how is it even possible? He is supposed to pay child support until they turn 18 which is fair enough, but half of tuition?

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 08:19:12 PM »
Regarding college expenses, he agreed to pay half of tuition in the divorce decree with no qualification on where they went.  His wife, in an action to further increase child support, also asked the judge to make him pay pro rata instead of half, but the judge said no. He thought half was a good deal at the time, since half would be less than pro rata (although with child support factored in this year, it's probably equal to and possibly more than pro rata).  Plus even if that weren't in the divorce decree, he's not willing to tell his kids they can't go to a certain school or they have to take out loans because they are too expensive (note that both of the oldest two qualified for a full ride at a really good public state school, but instead chose to go private and the parents have to pay full freight).  Also, in his state he has to pay shared expenses until the kids graduate college (think cell phone bills, insurance, travel, etc).

Formerplayer, thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful response.  Your point about communication is something that's on my mind and I know I need to work on it.

Regarding over withholding 2019 taxes, I should clarify that I'm doing that partly because he is not making any payments on 2019 taxes right now.  Instead, we're paying 2018 taxes from his monthly income (he's a partner and responsible to do his own  quarterly payments), and until that amount is below $100,000, we will not qualify for a payment plan for 2018 (and note that I already took out a $100,000 HELOC in only my name because he has poor credit to cover the remainder of 2017 taxes).  I anticipate we'll get our 2018 obligation down to $100,000 by April or May and then apply for a payment plan. Still, I probably should withhold from less from 2019 and allocate more to 2018 taxes.  My reasoning, which may be flawed, is this: if our marriage falls apart, I'm very sensitive to what my obligation is to the IRS.  It's still not too late to file 2018 or 2019 separately.  I get that in a division of assets (or in our case debt) this will be offset, but as between me and the IRS, I'd be protected.  I already had a wage garnishment scare with our 2017 taxes and a threatened tax lien from 2016 (both of which are now paid in full).  Theoretically he could  cover the tax liability from his IRA (I guess I could as well), but that would cost quite a bit in additional taxes and penalties.

Also, part of why I struggle to see the debt as "our debt" is because it is imposed on me without my consent.  For example,  for Christmas he and his ex wife can choose to buy the kids brand new iphones, computers, Garmin watches, skis, etc., and of course in my mind the money spent on those items is not being spent to pay taxes. That stuff is actually small in our big picture, but a source of resentment. Then there's sending them to a college that costs over $70,000 a year all in for the student, plus all his travel back and forth to see them at their various schools, which is not at all insignificant in our big picture.  And what if there is no end to this, because he decides without my consent to buy his adult children cars, pay for graduate school, help them buy a house, pay for super expensive weddings, etc. It's this reasoning that makes me want to prioritize taking care of myself and baby with my income.  But maybe it is delusional to think I have any control left. 

Moving is a pretty good idea.  It would free up enough equity to pay off our tax liability, but the monthly mortgage payments are pretty low, so from a monthly payment perspective, if we were to rent something modest but adequate, rent would probably not be much less than our currently mortgage payment (maybe as much as $1,000/month less).  Plus  he's not too keen on downsizing since he's older and prouder.

All this to say, maybe a financial divorce and a splitting of expenses is the way to go.  He'll probably have a huge equity event the following year if I do that, but that might have never mattered anyway for reasons described above related to lack of control. 

former player

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 01:59:20 AM »
OK, those are big sums owed.  Do you have an adequate life insurance policy on your husband?  (Not asking for nefarious reasons.)

It's good that you've paid the 2016 and 2017 taxes in full and are making strides on 2018.  Personally I would throw your 2019 withholdings at 2018 and then ramp up for 2019 when 2018 is made good.  After that you just (!) need an agreed schedule of appropriate withholdings to stay on course.  You say that it's not too late to file separately for 2018 and 2019: while that may be technically true as far as the tax office are concerned I don't get the feeling that it is true as far as your husband is concerned.  And you have already acknowledged both that for your family unit it is not financially advantageous to file separately and that if you family unit splits you can get credit for money you have paid towards the joint taxes.  I worry that because of the shock of finding out and dealing with these debts you are considering only the financial downsides of joint finances and not the financial upsides (big taxes owed means even bigger income, right?).  But it sounds as though you and your husband can cope financially with sorting this out and that you should be able to see a path to things being better in the future.  Mustachianism is all about looking to your financial future, so perhaps gaming out where your joint family finances will be in 5, 10 or 20 years will make you feel better about where you are at the moment.

I think you have a legitimate concern over fairness for your young child as against the previous children of the marriage, particularly as respects current and future discretionary spending.  I can see it will be a sensitive subject with your husband, but resenting it without saying anything would be worse than talking about it.  Perhaps you can think through ways to discuss it with him in positive ways before talking?  Possible answers might be 1) he sets aside a defined and equal amount each year for discretionary spending on each of his four kids up to their leaving college, 2) you want to make a head start on college funds for your kid so that you are not both having to pay this out of retirement income (and so that it can compound over the years), 3) once his kids are out of college he will be doing them no favours with continued economic outpatient care (there is evidence cited around these forums that adult children who are supported financially by their parents have less successful lives), and so on.

six-car-habit

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019, 02:18:31 AM »
  ""Plus even if that weren't in the divorce decree, he's not willing to tell his kids they can't go to a certain school or they have to take out loans because they are too expensive (note that both of the oldest two qualified for a full ride at a really good public state school, but instead chose to go private and the parents have to pay full freight).  Also, in his state he has to pay shared expenses until the kids graduate college (think cell phone bills, insurance, travel, etc).""
 
   The above is nuts. He's not willing to cut their lavish choices so his wife can have some sanity in the relationship  ??   

 And this  "" for Christmas he and his ex wife can choose to buy the kids brand new iphones, computers, Garmin watches, skis, etc.""

  So now he has to continue to pay cell phone bills, wi-fi routers, car insurance, travel to spring break locations, ski trips, ski wax , custom ski boots, etc  -- until they graduate college -- on things he has provided to them as extras bonuses for being alive ???   How much College, a 4yr dgeree , a MAsters, a Doctorate, 3 Doctorates for each child, where does it end ?

  Serious, Serious question here.   Have you actually read the divorce decree ?   I don't mean some shorthand  handwritten notes bullshit he hands you, but the Actual divorce paperwork signed by the judge , as Filed with the State and County Records Office in the physical jurisdiction where he got divorced   ??

 Because quite frankly, I think he is embelishing his supposed financial responsibiltiies per the divorce arrangement.

 

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2019, 07:05:41 AM »
" Have you actually read the divorce decree ?   I don't mean some shorthand  handwritten notes bullshit he hands you, but the Actual divorce paperwork signed by the judge , as Filed with the State and County Records Office in the physical jurisdiction where he got divorced   ??"

Yes I have read it, but only by finding it in a cabinet somewhere.  I am a lawyer myself, though not a family lawyer.  The decree requires him to pay for college for each of the 3 kids, and to pay for their shared expenses until they graduate college, and to pay for life insurance for them until the youngest is 23.  They agreed at the time of divorce to have a shared bank account from which she pays expenses, and he's required to fund it 50/50 with her, in addition to child support.  The shared expenses are detailed in a comma separated list and include everything under the sun other than her travel, and their food and shelter.  So she sent them to expensive summer camps, buys them sports equipment, hired a college consultant, visited 12 different colleges all over the country last year with the middle child, payed for private driver ed with the youngest, etc.  To put a dollar amount on things, the shared expenses cost him about $3000 per month on average right now, and child support for 2 kids is $6100 a month (but one is about to graduate, then child support will be reduced). In their community these are normal expenses, but in my world they are not. To him she says, if you are opposed to x expense, tell the kids yourself they can't have it or do it.  He's not wiling to say no to his kids, likely because he feels guilty about the divorce.  It's stuff like that that makes me feel like there's no end to the kid expenses, and that he'll want to support them when they become young adults (one is 21 now and completely supported by his parents).  I thought I could get around this by putting aside money for my daughter directly from my paychecks, for example by contributing to a 529 plan for her, but in the end, the contributions are likely washed out by all the rest of his debt and now our debt.  By the time she's in college, he'll be retired.  I won't be old enough for a typical retirement, but based on my life plan before I met him and how I preferred to live, I would have been retired.

Regarding life insurance for me, our marriage is pretty strained right now because of all of this and I see that topic as something that would go very badly.  This has turned me into the wicked stepmother who doesn't care about his 3 older kids to him.  Frankly, if we were just divorced and I could raise my daughter alone, I would be fine .  And I'd be happy to do that, but what I'd hate to have to do is share her with him and eventually his new wife (I'm sure there would be one).   It's hard to see anything but the bad.

yodella

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2019, 07:34:02 AM »
This sounds so hard. I'm sure there are many more factors that no one but you can understand, so please take this with a grain of salt. But the whole setup sounds like a trainwreck, and if I were you I would be looking to cut my losses, get out of dodge, and pursue my best life with my kid.

It sounds like you wanted to or planned to retire early/soon and that's now out of reach. It's one thing if that happens due to a sickness or other financial hardship related to lovingly supporting your partner, but I do not think you should be on the hook for his excessive spending on his kids. The thing is, that might NEVER go away, as other commenters have pointed out. And what about when his kids start having kids? Will he be able to say no to financing private school/summer camp/ski trips or whatever for the grandbabies if their parents can't afford it?

It sounds like he/his kids are old enough where to expect them to change their dynamics now will only lead to frustration for you. So if it's making you unhappy (and it indeed sounds like it is), then...I'm not sure what else you could do. The idea of divorcing on paper but continuing to live together as partners is interesting, but in practice sounds like an emotional strain that I doubt would work for most couples. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2019, 08:02:21 AM »
The issue is not the amount of $ he spends on his other kids, the real issue is he does not value your feelings or opinions regarding any of this, it doesn't sound like he consults you on any of the non-obligation spending but expects you to just be okay with all including his tax debt. Honestly, your best option is to cut your losses and get out. Make sure your divorce decree has the same level of support for your kid. If you stay in the marriage, you will be supporting your kid alone and helping him pay his taxes while he spends his money on his other kids. As someone else pointed out and as you suspect, it will not be over once they are done with college. There will be first house to buy, grandkids, asking for money for whatever reason. As he has already shown, he will make those decisions alone and he will not give you any say.

Sibley

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2019, 08:12:12 AM »
OP, you've got a very big problem here, and it's not money. Its your husband.

"The reasons he has accumulated so much debt are: (1) divorce obligations that he didnít fully disclose before we were married (and admittedly, I didnít push him to disclose); (2) overspending in the years between his divorce and when we met and were married by borrowing against his brokerage account believing it would never go down but it did in a big way, which he regrets this terribly; and (3) overspending to buy a house at the very beginning of our marriage, back when I thought he just had deep pockets and didnít ask enough questions.  I learned about all of this after we were married. "

"(4) weíve been to counseling, but he discontinued counseling because he says I only want to complain that he needs to pay taxes and his other debt and he already knows that"

"he's not willing to tell his kids they can't go to a certain school or they have to take out loans because they are too expensive (note that both of the oldest two qualified for a full ride at a really good public state school, but instead chose to go private and the parents have to pay full freight)."

"Also, part of why I struggle to see the debt as "our debt" is because it is imposed on me without my consent.  For example,  for Christmas he and his ex wife can choose to buy the kids brand new iphones, computers, Garmin watches, skis, etc., and of course in my mind the money spent on those items is not being spent to pay taxes. That stuff is actually small in our big picture, but a source of resentment. Then there's sending them to a college that costs over $70,000 a year all in for the student, plus all his travel back and forth to see them at their various schools, which is not at all insignificant in our big picture.  And what if there is no end to this, because he decides without my consent to buy his adult children cars, pay for graduate school, help them buy a house, pay for super expensive weddings, etc. It's this reasoning that makes me want to prioritize taking care of myself and baby with my income.  But maybe it is delusional to think I have any control left."

Themes I'm seeing:
-withholding relevant information
-making decisions that materially impact you and your child without you having any say in them
-disregard for your financial wellbeing and future, including the future of your child

He's not treating you as a full partner. He didn't disclose his divorce obligations before you were married? Someone committed to a life with you would have laid it ALL on the table. Anything less than full disclosure was a betrayal. You shouldn't have needed to ask. At this point, regardless of the money situation, he's pretty seriously damaged your relationship. I bet if you were able to talk to the ex-wife, you'd start hearing the same themes about how he treated her.

You're in therapy, continue that. You need to work through your emotions and decide what you want. Once you've done that, then you need to get back into counseling with your husband. Because unless he makes some changes in his behavior, he's going to end up with 2 ex-wives at some point.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2019, 08:30:33 AM »
Regarding life insurance for me, our marriage is pretty strained right now because of all of this and I see that topic as something that would go very badly.  This has turned me into the wicked stepmother who doesn't care about his 3 older kids to him.  Frankly, if we were just divorced and I could raise my daughter alone, I would be fine .  And I'd be happy to do that, but what I'd hate to have to do is share her with him and eventually his new wife (I'm sure there would be one).   It's hard to see anything but the bad.
I'm really sorry, but it sounds to me like your marriage is already over. You and your husband have giant values mismatches, he has not been open and honest throughout your engagement and marriage, and it sounds like you are mentally and emotionally 3/4 of the way out the door.

Dee18

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2019, 08:48:49 AM »
So very sorry to hear of your situation.  One of my close friends ended up in terrible financial straits over the expensive private college problem.  She had three children.  The first went to an expensive private college but had a significant scholarship.   By the time the middle child headed for college my friend and her husband were in the midst of a divorce (and had spent a lot on medical bills). They wanted the second child to have the same opportunities as the first, although the cost was by now higher and her scholarships not as generous.  Four years later they again wanted the youngest child to have the same kind of education.  My friend thought she could sell her house for a large profit to cover this, but the 2008 recession hit.  Father lost his job and her house sold for $140,000 less than it would have a year earlier.  She paid for third chilís private college but now has no money saved for retirement.  Fortunately she will get part of her ex-husbandís pension and social security, but her financial situation remains precarious.

I watched this happen, bit by bit.  Even when the finances were clear, she could not bring herself to treat the second and third child different from the first.  It sounds like your husband is in that position.

It seems the only thing holding you back from divorce is not wanting to share your daughter with another woman.  But you are already sharing your life with another woman.  I hope you are getting counseling on your own to help you assess what will work for you.  I wish you the best in dealing with this difficult situation.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2019, 09:07:56 AM »
I have to agree with the last few posters, you seem half way out of this marriage already with only the thought of having to share your child with others holding you back. But which is better for your daughter; growing up in home where her father ignores the very real fears and concerns of her mother, her mother just wants out, money issues reign, and her dad puts her second to her half-siblings wants or growing up in a home where her primary care giver (you) loves her wants the best for her and won't put her needs second to anyone else and spending every other weekend with her dad and a hypothetical step mom?

I know a previous poster mentioned getting everything you can out of the divorce decree but if you're not concerned about money after you split do you think you husband would be agree to never giving you a dime in exchange for signing away his parental rights? My sister struck this deal with her first husband, even though she could have used the money, because dealing with him and his flavor of the week wasn't worth it.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2019, 09:24:01 AM »
I have to agree with the last few posters, you seem half way out of this marriage already with only the thought of having to share your child with others holding you back. But which is better for your daughter; growing up in home where her father ignores the very real fears and concerns of her mother, her mother just wants out, money issues reign, and her dad puts her second to her half-siblings wants or growing up in a home where her primary care giver (you) loves her wants the best for her and won't put her needs second to anyone else and spending every other weekend with her dad and a hypothetical step mom?

I know a previous poster mentioned getting everything you can out of the divorce decree but if you're not concerned about money after you split do you think you husband would be agree to never giving you a dime in exchange for signing away his parental rights? My sister struck this deal with her first husband, even though she could have used the money, because dealing with him and his flavor of the week wasn't worth it.

My ex wanted to sign his parental rights over, I fully agreed but the judge wouldn't allow it without another person there to adopt our son. It is not as easy as it sounds even if both parties agree. We ended up writing the decree with zero scheduled visitation for ex and no child support for me (I was the caregiver in every way). I was the higher earner and had zero financial issues taking care of our son. This was at the end of 2012. At the time he was underemployed. I ended up going back to court to get some child support and now get $250/mo. He still does not see our son by his choice (I have reached out to him several times). It would be fine by me but our son is heartbroken over this. He is now 7, he was 8 months when we split up. I did not trust him to be a caring/proper/safe parent when we were divorcing due to his nonchalant attitude about our son's health (he was born at 25 weeks). He has 2 kids from a previous marriage who he does everything for. If you trust your husband with your kid, then don't try to get his parental rights revoked or anything like that. But for your peace of mind, for your kid's sake, consider if you really want to stay in this marriage. The best day of my life was when I moved out of the house, the next best day was when divorce was final. It was a huge relief and got my peace of mind back.

couponvan

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2019, 09:31:01 AM »
Can you pretend that you and DH have the same income after his previous life expenses are taken out?

DH makes 3x what you do. DH comes with baggage.....his prior self has come calling.  The problem may also be DH feels like he earns more (when he really doesnít given prior self). You knew he had baggage-you just didnít know how much baggage. Itís kind of like when people get married to a doctor and THEN find out they have $300K of student loans. Their future earning potential is there though!

Letís assume he makes $450k and you make $150k. At that point his $10K per month payments seem like not a big deal to me. Now if you make $50k and he makes $150k, that $10 is a much bigger deal. Without context, we canít tell you if the obligations are onerous or not.

I have the DH and 3 kids between middle school and college. I paid for his law school. You can bet your butt I would be lawyering up myself if he wanted a divorce now. Wife #1 wants her ROI back. Try to see her point of view, and not her as the enemy. I am going to assume your husband is more medical field than lawyer because otherwise the college conditions would have been 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 (kid) with a cap at $X and not to exceed x% of income in the future or the amount reverts to the child for excess.

There are 16 years to pay for college for the 4 kids you both have (both). Does DH have it in him to work 16 more years? If he does, and is willing to work, I think you should think about his $ as his $. But you should be honest with him about your plans and the need to save for your DD in a 529 since you cannot guarantee future cash flows forever. We saved equal amounts for our kids in college funds, but we are cash flowing the balance. We sat DS #1 down and told him if something bad happened he would need to help out his younger siblings until they were even again. This option probably isnít available to blended families, so it makes sense for you to add to hers as you go. (1/18th per year would be reasonable-$15k/yr if you plan on the $280k version of college.) BUT, does your youngest child get childcare? If so, this is a cost that you would probably subtract from that college funding amount to be fair to the other kids. BTW, if your daughter got into Harvard, would to make her go to the free state school?? I donít think so. My son has a full ride, and we decided to send him to a more challenging college to the tune of $36k per year. We all decided together though....

ďHeís in a lot of debt.Ē ďHis net worth is 5x mine.Ē Then apparently his debt is not so bad and he is using leverage.

You took out a HELOC in your name only-that was a mistake-even if his credit is bad, donít put debt in your name only. It wonít teach him any lessons. Your DH needs life insurance-and you need to be named on the policy. You need life insurance too, and DD needs to be named on your policy if you worry about her having access to future benefits if you were no longer alive. A $100k/20 year term policy would be fine for DDís college cost and would cost very little to you on a monthly basis. Disability policies for both of you are critical given your obligations.

You need to sit down with a FINANCIAL counselor vs a marriage counselor. We are random internet people-who have opinions, but not all the facts.

With the tax situation, people in partnerships often have a huge bill looming and use their annual distributions to fund it. My DHís payout is 85% of his base.  The issues arise when you rely on your distributions to pay for past excess - which I think is your case right now. Sometimes you need some short-term pain for long-term payoffs though. We try really hard not to ďspendĒ the payout before it comes and to keep 1 year ahead of the payout-just in case thereís a year where it doesnít come. To get there, it required cutting back for awhile. Having that cushion in our budget reduces anxiety.


anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2019, 10:21:02 AM »
Couponvan: thanks for your comments and different perspective.

Iíve tried to think of his child expenses and debt like a big student loan before, and that helps.  I guess the difference I come back to is the student loan can be paid off but the expenses for the 3 older kids can go on indefinitely.  Your numbers arenít too far off Ė Iím trying not to over disclose to the internet, though. DH will most likely be retired when baby starts college given his age, but I suppose there are a few people out there still working at that age.  But heís mentioned plans to retire in 10 years from now, and there are so many factors that could make that easily possible or very difficult. And I guess the obvious difference with your situation is that you have a voice in where your kids go to college and how much you spend as a family, but I have none (and this could also be true of other future expenses like grad school, houses, whatever).  I definitely like the solution you mentioned about the tax bill, and I hope it is possible for us to get there, too, as that would take a giant weight off my shoulders.  And while he can easily leverage the debt, I cannot easily leverage it, as we are unequal in terms of assets and income in the event of death or divorce.  But, sometimes I get so weighed down by the negatives that I forget that thereís plenty of good, too. 

Indio

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2019, 10:41:12 AM »
OMG... your post brought back all of the same issues I had in my marriage, except one. My ex treated his first family much better than he treated me or the children we had together. Marriage didn't last, as a result. I got tired of financing his first family, which I did indirectly with all of the spending on them. Setting up a separate household bank account, with associated debit card, that funds joint expenses can go a long way toward finding peace.

To make the taxes equitable, I'd suggest running the numbers to find out how much you would owe if you filed as head of household. Then when you file jointly, he has to pay you back the difference.

If you take out life insurance, I'd suggest setting up a trust so that DH doesn't spend the money on something other than DD, assuming he would become the primary caretaker.


couponvan

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2019, 10:50:12 AM »
The issue is the lack of voice in the situation. For every time he mentions an expense for the older kids, try and envision yourself in the situation with DD in the futureó-but you also need a budget. Budgeted are REALLY hard with variable income and without all the information. Iím a CPA and we have about five different budgets running at any one moment in time. 10 year average payout budget, most likely payout budget, 50% payout budget, no payout budget (the austerity budget!), and a FIRE budget (dream budget - for now weíd have to sell the house LCOL area, not pay for college, etc). This year we are in the process of lifestyle inflation big time and I struggle with ďwasting $Ē versus ďlooking the partĒ for future earning potential.

Iím sorry you donít feel like youíve got enough of a say in the family finances. I really do recommend you spend some time as a couple working on the $ side. A lot of marriages struggle due to finances. Also, I donít know how long you have been married, but if at all close to 10, try to stick it out for the social security guarantees. Since he makes so much and is older, itís probably worth it.  (Mercenary I know.) DH and I had our own struggles around the 20 year mark....thatís another somewhat safety year for spousal support. Even though we struggle, we are committed to making progress in our marriage. Some religious reasons, some cultural reasons, some familial reasons, obviously personal reasons, but plenty of reasons to keep working through to a better and happier marriage. For better or worse-for richer or poorer. ;-)

historienne

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2019, 11:12:06 AM »
At some point, your husband's legal obligations to pay for his older kids' stuff ends, right?

There's a financial issue, and there's a relationship issue.  They're connected, but they are not the same. In your shoes, I would be willing to buckle down and make the sacrifices needed to deal with the financial issues, but only if he agrees that all spending above his legal obligations is a joint decision between the two of you.  That doesn't mean you should be preventing him from ever spending another dime on his kids after they graduate from college.  With the income levels of your household, I think it might be reasonable for him to chip in for weddings, house down payments, etc., if he wants to.  But it does mean that those decisions should made by the two of you together, taking the overall state of your family finances into account--including your daughter's college fund. 

If he won't agree to that, I don't think you've really got a functional marriage going on here.  You can try going to counseling together and see if that helps; but I wouldn't stick around indefinitely in a marriage where my spouse made major financial decisions without me. 

I also think you should reflect a bit on the way you talk about divorce.  Sharing your daughter with her dad wouldn't be a bad thing--in fact, it would be much worse if he just goes away.  She deserves solid relationships with both her parents.  She also deserves to grow up in a healthy household.  I don't live in your house, and I don't have nearly enough information to know if she's getting that right now--or, if she isn't if it's reasonably possible for you and your husband to get to that point through some hard work and honest conversations.  But if your marriage isn't healthy and can't be fixed, then divorce is probably better for her too.

Again, this is not a recommendation to get divorced!  It's just a recommendation not to treat divorce as a terrible bogeyman.  If you stay married, it should be because the marriage is working for you; it may not be perfect, but it is broadly functional and healthy. 

ToTheMoon

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2019, 11:33:29 AM »
From the limited amount of information, it sounds like your DH is struggling with keeping up appearances that go along with a much larger than average income, guilt with his older kids about how things turned out, and the stresses of constantly feeling behind, despite earning huge dollars.  I think a lot of people who own their own businesses only see what they are billing out and totally discredit the volume of expenses/taxes that come along with that.  If he sees himself as 'someone who makes $400+K' (when in reality take-home might be closer to half of that) it is hard to rationalize saying no because in his mind he SHOULD be able to afford these things.

That said, he has chosen to remarry and have another child, and now you and he need to make some decisions about the future, together.  If he cannot acknowledge the situation, and make some compromises with you, then I guess you will have a choice to make about what kind of future you want for yourself.

Do you think he would be more amenable to creating a plan for the future if you use a third party to assist you?  If he is already feeling like he is failing to be able to provide everything to everyone, and now his new younger wife is trying to tell him all the things he has done wrong, I can see why he might be throwing his hands up and just doing as he pleases. (Please note that in no way am I implying that you have done anything wrong - I am simply trying to view this situation through his eyes so that you might have some insight into what the true issues are, and will then perhaps be able to address them.)

It sounds to me like there is a definite possibility of light at the end of this tunnel - you both just need to get on the same page and sort it out TOGETHER.

Or, he could just be an asshole - tough for us to know from a short story on the internet. :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 11:43:42 AM by ToTheMoon »

six-car-habit

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2019, 11:43:30 AM »
   "   Plus  he's not too keen on downsizing since he's older and prouder.  "    Regarding your potential house sale to free up equity to eliminate the tax debt.

 I wonder how proud he would feel if his clients / patients knew he had a rolling tax debt of probably $150k annually to the IRS.  Maybe that wouldn't bother him, I sense he would justify to his clients  [after being mortified they found out ] , not paying his debts , by rationalizing how great a life he is providing for his older kids.  " Well Yes I owe, but my kids Ski at Aspen 3 times a year , and I'm getting them a condo in Sun VAlley ".   Not paying his debts in a timely manner is not keeping his word, not holding up his end of the societal contract. Are there not fees and penalties each year ??   Yes I get it that you all are actually paying the debts, late.  A day late and a dollar short.

  I can't see him retiring in 10 years.  As another poster said, soon there will be grandchildren - who will " need" skis and lift passes , daycare and fancy clothes.
   There will always be another " future equity event " to be keeping him tied to the job.  Until I suppose he finally sells his portion of the practice.

  And your child , he/she will be growing up seeing and expecting this life of privledge for themselves.  It seems sad.

   Best of luck to you in these trying times.  A quote I've always liked -- " A Clean conscience makes for a soft pillow ".    Regarding how you are being treated, How does he sleep at night....?

 

MishMash

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2019, 12:12:18 PM »
The issue is not the amount of $ he spends on his other kids, the real issue is he does not value your feelings or opinions regarding any of this, it doesn't sound like he consults you on any of the non-obligation spending but expects you to just be okay with all including his tax debt. Honestly, your best option is to cut your losses and get out. Make sure your divorce decree has the same level of support for your kid. If you stay in the marriage, you will be supporting your kid alone and helping him pay his taxes while he spends his money on his other kids. As someone else pointed out and as you suspect, it will not be over once they are done with college. There will be first house to buy, grandkids, asking for money for whatever reason. As he has already shown, he will make those decisions alone and he will not give you any say.

SKL is on point with this.  I've dealt with this with both DH and DHs father. The problem is your DH not taking into account your VERY VALID worries and concerns.  If you do divorce, make sure you can support your child on your own because in most states his obligation to his first family takes precedence.  So if he's giving them 50%, then you can only get a portion of the remaining 50%, and he needs something to live off of.

 In dealing with DH's ex, I expressed similar concerns as you when she started signing the child up for every expensive thing on the planet, including ones that weren't in the decree.  He never denigrated my feelings or accused me of not caring about his kid, he agreed to cut back and spend on only the things in the decree (hello no more 27k a year cultish christian school, DH is Jewish).  She was guilting him into paying 100% because she didn't work (popped out a couple more kids soon after the divorce with the guy she'd been cheating on DH with).

To our disgust when the extra 30-40k a year stopped rolling in, she let DH know the kid wasn't his and that she'd "duped" him into paying for her third husbands child for 7 years.  Couldn't sue her for lying in their state since they were legally married at the time of the birth.  To HER shock however, he was able to get the initial child support order overthrown, and she got a very nasty talking down to by the judge.

wild forest

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2019, 12:45:36 PM »
I don't have any advice. Just want to make a comment.

You seem to be a grounded, smart, and strong woman. You have plans for yourself and your kid. You have a job making good money, and probably capable of being an independent mom.

Sound to me he not being fair or care much about your opinions. More of a one way street rather. I'm not suggesting anything or whatever. But if I were you, I think I'd prefer to be single and take care of my own daughter and do things that make me happy, and where my opinion with the one I loved matters. You know, live in a way that make you happy.

The way I see it, the financial situation with is ex-wife and kids won't  get any better any time soon. I don't think seeing a therapist and counseling will help you much, because it's not in your control, and he avoiding counseling. So, best of luck to you.

Mrs.MLM

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2019, 12:57:55 PM »
On the basis of limited information over the internet, it sounds like you hate him. If you fix the taxes and the spending, he'll still be someone who likes fancy houses, ski trips, and Garmin watches and he'll still be someone who doesn't value your opinion. 

« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 01:24:29 PM by Mrs.MLM »

LadyMuMu

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2019, 01:21:40 PM »
So if I understand you correctly:

-you have no prenup protecting your semi-liquid net worth that you brought into the marriage from his debts
-you have no insurance on him to pay off his debts in the event of his death or disability
-you are currently liable for his debts and tax debt to the extent of almost having your wages garnished
-your income is less than his annual unpaid tax obligation
-he pays child support to his ex for 4 more years
-he pays 1-3 halves of college tuition for 6 more years
-he pays half of an undetermined amount of "living expenses" for 1-3 of his kids for 6 more years
-he pays for life insurance for his kids of 8 more years
-he pays support to his parents indefinitely

From where I sit, you are fifth or seventh in line when it comes to "say" in his spending (himself, adult child #1, adult child #2, ex,  minor teen child, parent(s) being supported) but you are first in line when it comes to being responsible for covering the debts of said spending. A divorce or financial separation would at least protect the assets you've built for you and your baby thus far. You may have moral or religious reasons not to divorce, but it seems fairly clear that this marriage is a financial disaster for you. Better to cut your losses now.

Honestly, from the sound of it, your husband entered into the marriage fraudulently and you didn't do your own due diligence (which you graciously admit). I'm hard pressed to see that he was able to afford his financial obligations before you and your child came along since he was so far behind on his taxes. I'm a step-parent too, so I understand the frustrations of being out of the decision making loop, but what you're describing sound WAY beyond typical stepping issues. You have my deepest sympathies.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 01:26:15 PM by LadyMuMu »

robartsd

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2019, 01:51:21 PM »
I agree that he needs financial counseling. While he does spend big on his kids from his prior marriage, according to your outline you provided he still has about as much left of his massive income as you have yourself. If you are looking for a path of reconciliation and a future together, you need to accept his baggage and move on together. From what you've said it sounds like all he hears is your resentment for his past; not your fear for the future. I assume he either has not considered his own future with any analytical detail or has similar fears as yours with no skills to face them himself. If you can follow up the financial triage with a deep discussion about your values and goals, you may be able to plan a future together.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2019, 03:47:28 PM »
This sounds like an incredibly difficult situation. Based on what's been described here, I'd probably be willing to go to marriage counseling, as well as seeing a financial adviser. For the marriage counseling, I'd focus the conversation on how you feel about your value in the marriage, your ability to influence your life/future & the life & future of your child. Those are pretty big issues, and i wouldn't be sleeping at night if I thought I had no control over those outcomes.

On the financial side, I'd meet with a financial adviser who could potentially help you set up a tax plan & a budget. If your husband makes $500k, and wants to/legally is obligated to put $100K away every year for kid expenses, I think that's fine & reasonable. That would then be a clear line item in your budget. If another $50k goes to parental expenses, still fine. But, from the way I read your posts, it doesn't sound like he has a budget, understands or prioritizes his tax liability, and you are left behind cleaning up the mess, stressing about the finances, and trying to put things back in order. That doesn't work. Do you have a budget & a financial plan that you two are working on together? If you could get this in place, maybe removing the finances & stress from the marriage would put you in a place to be clear headed on next steps for the relationship overall. .

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2019, 04:10:05 PM »
For what it's worth, my kids have a stepmom, and she is cool and funny and she loves them and they love her and I'm glad she's in our lives. It is not the life I imagined for my kids and it's not always easy for any of us, but I really don't believe at this point that they even would want their father and me to get back together.

Anyway.

I feel like there are two options here: totally separate finances, or REAL joint finances. Where you make a plan together and are all-in. Right now, things are joint but you have let yourself be pushed into decisions you don't like--owning a house that you can't afford and don't love, for instance. It is not reasonable to take on his debts if he is not concerning himself with your well-being.

My husband agreed to pay off his ex-wife's student loans. I think this was overly generous, and his income is like 60% what it was when he made this promise. But we all have baggage, and I consider this OUR debt that WE will pay together. Meanwhile, he's taken on my kids.

You've gotten really good advice here. I hope that you can find a way forward.

AliEli

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2019, 04:22:44 PM »
First off, this sounds like a really horrible situation and I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. I wanted to say that I don't think that you have done anything prior to your marriage to prevent this situation - it was up to him to disclose his financial situation, not up to you to drag the info out of him. My other thought is whether it is possible to get an annulment rather than divorce - by his failure to disclose this really important information, he has not told you who he is and what his life is like. If you had known, would you have married him? I'm also wondering whether he could afford his current lifestyle without you bc it sounds like you are taking a lot of responsibility for his debt. He sounds really disrespectful towards you and your baby.

GetSmart

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2019, 11:56:06 AM »
But, sometimes I get so weighed down by the negatives that I forget that thereís plenty of good, too. 


This is where you need to start.  Make a list of all the positives.  Read it daily.  Remember why you married the guy in the first place; is he a good father to your child?, is he a good person in general; how does he treat others, etc.  Your current situation will pass as his kids age.  I was in a similar place and thought the same thing would happen.  Major life events changed everything and then the kids grew up, were on their own and pay for their own lives.  It seemed a magic switch when, in the moment, I was quite stressed about it.

In the meantime -- I would definitely keep separate checking accounts.  Wondering why his taxes aren't taken out pre-pay check even if he is a partner.  Couldn't that be handled by the accounting dept. at his workplace?

If you had your current household expenses to an absolute minimum could you each pay half (or preferably by percentage of income 25% for you 75% for him ?) and then everything else he makes goes to retirement, back taxes, current taxes, tuition, parents, kid stuff in that order.  Perhaps he doesn't actually like dealing with money.  I think you need to have a serious conversation about feelings and worth and all that 'not very fun stuff' that money issues bring up without blame and truly listen.  Everybody has money issues.  It's almost never about the money -- it's about fear or self-worth or something else.  Once you get past that -- I guarantee you the money problems will solve themselves.  Stop using it as a weapon.  It's just money.  If tomorrow that money flow suddenly evaporated you'd figure out a way to survive.

PS -- one thing I don't get is why the kids have life insurance but the parents don't ?  Also why not sell the house and move to a smaller one ?


« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 01:39:46 PM by GetSmart »

cookielover

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2019, 04:05:45 PM »
Wow, what a hard situation!

I sympathise with OP.  There are a lot of good suggestions already.

I can't help asking myself (no judgement here).  It seems that OP is a very intelligent, highly educated, and responsible person. How long did she know her husband before marrying him?  What was it that she was so attracted to him that she decided to marry him?  Didn't she know the "baggages" that he could bring to the marriage?  Didn't she observe the way he treated his ex family including his 3 kids and the way he treated her when she brought forward her "voices" on the matter that was important to her and their future before the marriage?

People do not usually change. 

Several posters already mentioned the potential divorce.  With the limited information OP provided, I know what I would do.  But it does not matter what I or someone would do.  Only OP knows whether this marriage is worth saving.

Good luck!

K-ice

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2019, 12:09:32 PM »
I am so sorry for your situation.  If he does make 3x more than you, yet a lot of his income goes towards his former life it sounds like you two end up about equal in the end.

It would be very hard to look at it in this way, as he is not contributing equally to your life, but it may make you feel better. You could also look at just the kids. 3:1 so 75% for them and 25% for your child. Hopefully his older children will be weaned soon, but as others have mentioned the pattern is set for expensive weddings & grandchildren.  Can your family lifestyle function with just 25-33% of his after tax income?

One other problem is that it sounds like the house you bought was based on your combined incomes without considering all the child support. Looking to downsize may help relieve stress in your family.

It does sound like you could be self sufficient, so take strength from that.

Do you have his, hers & our bank accounts?  If you two are contributing equally into the "ours" account, and your shared expenses are being paid from that, I would leave him to pay the child support and debt from his end.

I would also have a serious discussion about the taxes. Do the math with you both filling separately vs jointly. Show him the difference. As it is an overall win for your family you should be able to take the difference to cover your extra taxes from the joint account.
 
I am sorry you are struggling with this. Blended families are challenging at every stage, wishing you the best.

Goldielocks

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2019, 10:04:06 PM »
Can you refile taxes from prior years?  I believe here I can submit corrections back 3 years.  If so, maybe you want to look into that to get out of some of the tax owing.
Yes, you may need an accountant to help.
Yes, you may need to pay, net, more taxes than if you file married, joint.  But that may not be a terrible amount compared to your current situation.

Then, get a move forward budget together with your DH, where he figures out how to pay his taxes, first, followed by his commitment to his kids, then alimony, then parent, and then a budget for the two of you to live on, together.  Yep, it will be a whole lot less.   The net remaining will be 40% your income and 60% his income.   If you currently make $60k, then that means he only brings $90k into the home, not $200k.

I think you need to figure out if you can accept that 60% of his income is dedicated elsewhere, and another 20% may be dedicated to tax repayment.

Fae

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2019, 05:43:37 AM »
I have to agree with the last few posters, you seem half way out of this marriage already with only the thought of having to share your child with others holding you back. But which is better for your daughter; growing up in home where her father ignores the very real fears and concerns of her mother, her mother just wants out, money issues reign, and her dad puts her second to her half-siblings wants or growing up in a home where her primary care giver (you) loves her wants the best for her and won't put her needs second to anyone else and spending every other weekend with her dad and a hypothetical step mom?

I know a previous poster mentioned getting everything you can out of the divorce decree but if you're not concerned about money after you split do you think you husband would be agree to never giving you a dime in exchange for signing away his parental rights? My sister struck this deal with her first husband, even though she could have used the money, because dealing with him and his flavor of the week wasn't worth it.

My ex wanted to sign his parental rights over, I fully agreed but the judge wouldn't allow it without another person there to adopt our son. It is not as easy as it sounds even if both parties agree. We ended up writing the decree with zero scheduled visitation for ex and no child support for me (I was the caregiver in every way). I was the higher earner and had zero financial issues taking care of our son. This was at the end of 2012. At the time he was underemployed. I ended up going back to court to get some child support and now get $250/mo. He still does not see our son by his choice (I have reached out to him several times). It would be fine by me but our son is heartbroken over this. He is now 7, he was 8 months when we split up. I did not trust him to be a caring/proper/safe parent when we were divorcing due to his nonchalant attitude about our son's health (he was born at 25 weeks). He has 2 kids from a previous marriage who he does everything for. If you trust your husband with your kid, then don't try to get his parental rights revoked or anything like that. But for your peace of mind, for your kid's sake, consider if you really want to stay in this marriage. The best day of my life was when I moved out of the house, the next best day was when divorce was final. It was a huge relief and got my peace of mind back.

This must really depend on what state you're in. It was very easy in my sisters case to have her ex give up parental rights, no one else required to adopt. Her ex filled out and submitted the paper work, the went before a judge who asked my sister if she was okay with it and that was that. I wasn't recommending the OP try to get his rights taken away; a very difficult task, only to see if he would be willing give them up. In which case, their daughter would be better off.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2019, 08:20:34 AM »
so, wait, all this talk about his assets are pre-marital assets... is his divorce fully  finalized?  I have heard of this thing where you are divorced so you can remarry but the divorce, separation of assets isn't done.

I mean once its done, the assets are split right, and not "premarital" anymore. Sure, the ex can come back and ask for more child support, and this is america so you can litigate anything you want.

nessness

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2019, 09:54:54 AM »
Oh boy, there's a lot going on here, and I think you would benefit from both financial and marital counseling. It sounds like he's viewing his income as his alone, to spend however he chooses, while the debts are viewed as shared, so it's understandable that you would be upset by that. You need to either fully combine finances or fully separate them (in how you view them, moreso than in how the actual accounts are set up), and fully combining them means you get some say on say, how much he spends on his kids' Christmas gifts. It also sounds like he's prioritizing his older kids' needs over that of your kid.

The problem with being stuck with his debts in the event of his death is probably the easiest one to solve: make sure you have enough life insurance to cover all his debts, and maybe even his share of the college expenses for his older kids.

As for dealing with debt in the case of divorce, do you think he'd be open to a post-nup? Basically specifying that you each leave with the assets you came into the marriage with, share the assets earned during your marriage, and specifying which debts are shared (e.g. mortgage) and which belong solely to him (and solely to you, if applicable)?

I sympathize with your wanting to keep the 529 secret, but I'd also urge you to tell him about it. He'll likely find out about it at some point anyway. You need a lot more financial transparency in your marriage, and if he finds out you've been keeping a secret he'll find it easy to justify doing the same.

robartsd

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2019, 10:48:05 AM »
so, wait, all this talk about his assets are pre-marital assets... is his divorce fully  finalized?  I have heard of this thing where you are divorced so you can remarry but the divorce, separation of assets isn't done.

I mean once its done, the assets are split right, and not "premarital" anymore. Sure, the ex can come back and ask for more child support, and this is america so you can litigate anything you want.
I had assumed the reference to pre-marital assets was his assets at time of 2nd marriage, not his assets before first marriage. Your interpretation makes this whole situation much more complex.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2019, 11:36:55 AM »
so, wait, all this talk about his assets are pre-marital assets... is his divorce fully  finalized?  I have heard of this thing where you are divorced so you can remarry but the divorce, separation of assets isn't done.

I mean once its done, the assets are split right, and not "premarital" anymore. Sure, the ex can come back and ask for more child support, and this is america so you can litigate anything you want.
I had assumed the reference to pre-marital assets was his assets at time of 2nd marriage, not his assets before first marriage. Your interpretation makes this whole situation much more complex.

Exactly. This guy has a bunch of pre-marital commitments or liabilities which it sounds like were disclosed that they exist and OP should have asked more questions about..  But, I don't see why they can't sit down and figure out what their personal balance sheet looks like.  Separate from the assets, yes the Ex may be able to get his liabilities changed, ie, increased child support if this big equity event happens.  But, regardless, I would think with some talking this forward year's cash flow statement/budget  could be prepared.

OP may also need to sit down with the Husband and the Accountant, as the business side of income is rarely as straightforward as W-W wageslaves think it is. 


Eurotexan

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2019, 04:00:13 PM »
I am sorry to hear this. I agree with many of the posters that your husband is being very unfair to you. I just wanted to tell you (and it sounds like you already know this but sometimes hearing it again can help) that you will be just fine with your daughter. I have raised my daughter alone for the past 14 years (she's 15) and even though sometimes it can be hard to juggle, be three places at once and stay home for the cable appointment, it has given me, actually both of us, so much peace. We should control our own destiny and I think this is the key for you. You currently have little to no say in your life, and that of your daughter. If you decide divorce is the answer, hopefully your husband will step up and be the father your daughter deserves but you can't control his behavior, as you well know. Do what's right for you and your daughter. Frankly, you sound miserable and I don't blame you one bit.

former player

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2019, 07:07:47 PM »
I'm interested in what people would be saying if it were the husband who had written in saying that his second wife married him knowing he was divorced with three kids but was now complaining about him having financial obligations to them, was panicking about debt and making payments from his accounts without his agreement, was talking about filing taxes separately although it would put up the total amount owed, was secretly putting aside money that could be used to pay debts owed now for her child's college in 15 years' time?  Would we be advising him to divorce her?

I'm just saying: we are only getting one side of the story here and even then OP acknowledges that there are communication failures on both sides of this marriage.  I'd be wary of saying to someone with a small child that they should be looking at walking away from the marriage and even discussing terminating the father's rights to be a parent to his child (and that child's right to have an involved father), just on the basis of a few posts on an internet forum, when there is an obvious communication problem which has potential solutions.  Would people be as trigger happy if it were the father suggesting walking away from the marriage and the child?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 07:14:49 PM by former player »

Fae

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2019, 06:04:27 AM »
I'm interested in what people would be saying if it were the husband who had written in saying that his second wife married him knowing he was divorced with three kids but was now complaining about him having financial obligations to them, was panicking about debt and making payments from his accounts without his agreement, was talking about filing taxes separately although it would put up the total amount owed, was secretly putting aside money that could be used to pay debts owed now for her child's college in 15 years' time?  Would we be advising him to divorce her?

I'm just saying: we are only getting one side of the story here and even then OP acknowledges that there are communication failures on both sides of this marriage.  I'd be wary of saying to someone with a small child that they should be looking at walking away from the marriage and even discussing terminating the father's rights to be a parent to his child (and that child's right to have an involved father), just on the basis of a few posts on an internet forum, when there is an obvious communication problem which has potential solutions.  Would people be as trigger happy if it were the father suggesting walking away from the marriage and the child?

If the father came on here and posted his perspective? On how he can't be bothered to pay taxes during the year, so with fees and penalties owes more than his wife makes in a year. Never disclosed to his new wife the total of his debts and obligations. Refused to downsize at all to save money. Bought his kids from the previous marriage expensive gifts for Christmas/birthdays. Ignored his current wife's concerns on said debts and obligations, refused to continue counseling because it was holding him accountable for his action. Bankrolled his kids education but refused to put any money aside for his child from the current marriage because not saving for that is easier than cutting expenses in order to pay off his debt. If the father posted that here? No we probably wouldn't be telling him to leave the marriage. The comments would be more along the line of telling him to make a financial plan with his current wife, start paying his taxes throughout the year so he won't get hit with fines and penalties for underpayment, cut back his life style, restart counseling with his wife.

But he's not the one who wrote here, we can't give him advice, the OP can't make him change. If he won't change on his own, her only course of action, that will provide her with the financial security she wants, is to leave.

former player

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #43 on: February 26, 2019, 06:47:33 AM »
I'm interested in what people would be saying if it were the husband who had written in saying that his second wife married him knowing he was divorced with three kids but was now complaining about him having financial obligations to them, was panicking about debt and making payments from his accounts without his agreement, was talking about filing taxes separately although it would put up the total amount owed, was secretly putting aside money that could be used to pay debts owed now for her child's college in 15 years' time?  Would we be advising him to divorce her?

I'm just saying: we are only getting one side of the story here and even then OP acknowledges that there are communication failures on both sides of this marriage.  I'd be wary of saying to someone with a small child that they should be looking at walking away from the marriage and even discussing terminating the father's rights to be a parent to his child (and that child's right to have an involved father), just on the basis of a few posts on an internet forum, when there is an obvious communication problem which has potential solutions.  Would people be as trigger happy if it were the father suggesting walking away from the marriage and the child?

If the father came on here and posted his perspective? On how he can't be bothered to pay taxes during the year, so with fees and penalties owes more than his wife makes in a year. Never disclosed to his new wife the total of his debts and obligations. Refused to downsize at all to save money. Bought his kids from the previous marriage expensive gifts for Christmas/birthdays. Ignored his current wife's concerns on said debts and obligations, refused to continue counseling because it was holding him accountable for his action. Bankrolled his kids education but refused to put any money aside for his child from the current marriage because not saving for that is easier than cutting expenses in order to pay off his debt. If the father posted that here? No we probably wouldn't be telling him to leave the marriage. The comments would be more along the line of telling him to make a financial plan with his current wife, start paying his taxes throughout the year so he won't get hit with fines and penalties for underpayment, cut back his life style, restart counseling with his wife.

But he's not the one who wrote here, we can't give him advice, the OP can't make him change. If he won't change on his own, her only course of action, that will provide her with the financial security she wants, is to leave.

Right.  The advice would be that he should try to sort things out.  Not tell him to get a divorce, or that the adviser in the same position would be getting a divorce and taking away his rights as a father, because they can't communicate about finances.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2019, 07:53:19 AM »
start paying his taxes throughout the year so he won't get hit with fines and penalties for underpayment,


OP never said fees. The problem with business income is you don[t really know how much until the end of the accounting period (year).  the summer could be great and the end of the year terrible but payroll must still be met.  Cash not flowing out of the business until late in the year is pretty common.

At the end of the day, OP thought she was marrying a rich guy, and found out he was just high income. Maybe there should be an index fund for husbands to spread this risk around and improve performance over a professional matchmaker?

Fae

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #45 on: February 26, 2019, 09:06:54 AM »
I'm interested in what people would be saying if it were the husband who had written in saying that his second wife married him knowing he was divorced with three kids but was now complaining about him having financial obligations to them, was panicking about debt and making payments from his accounts without his agreement, was talking about filing taxes separately although it would put up the total amount owed, was secretly putting aside money that could be used to pay debts owed now for her child's college in 15 years' time?  Would we be advising him to divorce her?

I'm just saying: we are only getting one side of the story here and even then OP acknowledges that there are communication failures on both sides of this marriage.  I'd be wary of saying to someone with a small child that they should be looking at walking away from the marriage and even discussing terminating the father's rights to be a parent to his child (and that child's right to have an involved father), just on the basis of a few posts on an internet forum, when there is an obvious communication problem which has potential solutions.  Would people be as trigger happy if it were the father suggesting walking away from the marriage and the child?

If the father came on here and posted his perspective? On how he can't be bothered to pay taxes during the year, so with fees and penalties owes more than his wife makes in a year. Never disclosed to his new wife the total of his debts and obligations. Refused to downsize at all to save money. Bought his kids from the previous marriage expensive gifts for Christmas/birthdays. Ignored his current wife's concerns on said debts and obligations, refused to continue counseling because it was holding him accountable for his action. Bankrolled his kids education but refused to put any money aside for his child from the current marriage because not saving for that is easier than cutting expenses in order to pay off his debt. If the father posted that here? No we probably wouldn't be telling him to leave the marriage. The comments would be more along the line of telling him to make a financial plan with his current wife, start paying his taxes throughout the year so he won't get hit with fines and penalties for underpayment, cut back his life style, restart counseling with his wife.

But he's not the one who wrote here, we can't give him advice, the OP can't make him change. If he won't change on his own, her only course of action, that will provide her with the financial security she wants, is to leave.

Right.  The advice would be that he should try to sort things out.  Not tell him to get a divorce, or that the adviser in the same position would be getting a divorce and taking away his rights as a father, because they can't communicate about finances.

The difference in the advice is caused by the power the individual has to fix the problem. He is the one causing the problem by not communicating about finances not the OP. If he was writing in we could tell him that's what he needs to do but he didn't so we can't. She can't force him to communicate about finances. She can try again, but we are giving her advice based on what SHE can do. Also, no one was recommending she push to terminate his parental rights (I think you're basing that on one of my comments). The OP was worried about her daughter spending time with whomever her father decided to bring home but not about money, and I suggested seeing if HE would choose to give up parental rights in exchange for not paying a dime. FYI, if he did choose that he's a shitty person who doesn't belong in their lives.

start paying his taxes throughout the year so he won't get hit with fines and penalties for underpayment,

OP never said fees. The problem with business income is you don[t really know how much until the end of the accounting period (year).  the summer could be great and the end of the year terrible but payroll must still be met.  Cash not flowing out of the business until late in the year is pretty common.

At the end of the day, OP thought she was marrying a rich guy, and found out he was just high income. Maybe there should be an index fund for husbands to spread this risk around and improve performance over a professional matchmaker?

Since the OP mentioned trying to filing separately vs jointly, I assumed it was their personal income tax not taxes on the business. The OP said he hasn't paid any income tax so far this year. If you massively underpay the IRS through out the year, they assess fines and penalties.

Alright, I've posted a lot in this thread, I am going to take a step back.

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2019, 10:29:52 AM »
OP here.

A lot of good points were raised and I really appreciate using this forum as a sounding board. 

Iíd like to say first that my husband is a great partner in many ways and a wonderful father, otherwise I never would have considered marrying someone older and with 3 kids. At the moment Iím really weighed down with challenges that we created together and I want to solve, and I forget all the good stuff, and I'm sure that comes out in my writing. Even just as a practical matter, Iíd rather parent my daughter with my husband as sheís still very young and demanding and I want his help (and he is very helpful).  The financial divorce was an interesting concept to me because I feel like money is whatís straining our relationship and stressing me out.  I like the idea of divorcing in secret, selling the house, moving into a rental based on how much we each want to spend, and dividing up the costs related to living expenses and raising her in a way that seems fair to both of us based on our income and goals.  Itís not something Iím going to follow through on right now as I don't see him liking that idea and there's still a chance we can figure this out and stay married.  The issue seems to be (1) clashing values about how we want to live, work and save; and (2) the fact that under the status quo all of my values are being swallowed by his, which is making me resent him and his older kids.  And yes, I know that I made a series of mistakes that got me into this situation and I accept responsibility.  I shouldíve probed into his finances before we got married and bought, remodeled and furnished a home together (for the first year of our marriage we hadnít merged bank accounts; it was only after the house was done and furnished and when we finally filed our taxes right at the October 15 extension deadline that I learned he was already a year behind in taxes and we were therefore spending way too much money).  I also wrongly assumed that our financial obligations to his children would end up at age 18 and weíd be free to focus on Ďourí minor child our children because in my family, while my parents paid for the direct costs of college for each of us with money they had saved before college started, we were otherwise on our own financially after high school.  He came from humble origins and had no help from his family after high school, so I just assumed that his adult children would not impact our life very much, and I was wrong.  From my perspective, from the beginning of my career I knew that I didnít aspire to be partner and bill my life away, so I started saving about 50% of my salary so that I could still set myself up for a comfortable life, but Ďretireí by 35 to something less intense and more fulfilling.  Now, because I was way too passive in our relationship and didnít do things like (i) probing into his finances and obligations; (ii) understanding his parenting philosophies with respect to his older children; and (iii) asking for complete transparency starting before we were married, Iím in this situation that doesnít work for me.   We can afford payments on the expensive house, catch up tax payments plus current tax payments, tuition for two kids at $70,000 + schools, child support, shared child expenses with no push back when things seem crazy, his travel costs to see the kids (for example, to watch one adult child play his college sport, each trip costs a minimum of $1200 between air, hotel and car rental), and care for his elderly parent, but only if I (1) keep working at this job indefinitely; (2) donít save for my daughter to go to college (which, out of everything, is the thing that kills me the most emotionally); and (3) donít save any more for retirement. One issue with (2) is that my husband is older than me and will be retired when our daughter is in college.  I am not willing to do (1), (2) and (3), so just accepting the way things are and throwing everything at taxes so I can enable us to keep living this way doesnít work.  Heís aware of the situation but his priorities are just different right now than mine and that's why it's so hard.  I am hoping to figure this out so that we can continue be married and neither of us feel like weíre giving up too much to be together.  Anyway, one take away is that I need to be less of a pushover and require that we go to some kind of counseling and stick with it until we have a plan that works. 

cchrissyy

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2019, 10:59:21 AM »
Would you feel better if you guys signed a post-nuptial agreement saying that, if you did ever divorce, he would support your kid(s) to the same level he supported the older ones?

He sounds   like he actually wants to do that, it's not like his XW is twisting his arm. So maybe you guys could get a lawyer to document this level of child support, college expenses, sports, car, travel, etc so that you know your kid will be abundantly provided for even if you divorce.

Oh, and starting right now, get plenty of life insurance on him on a policy YOU own so that if he dies you and your kid will still have enough.  That way no case leaves you personally having to work your kid through college and you can relax about your own retirement plans.

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2019, 11:20:21 AM »
Chrissy, yes I would feel better. There are only 2 downsides.  First, paying for a lawyer to draw up the post-nuptial agreement, and paying for life insurance (I agree these things are worth the cost, but we are literally tapped out right now), and second, what about in the event that he lives and is healthy until old age, but runs out of money to support our daughter in the same way due to the way that weíre living now Ė how do I enforce said agreement?  I could end up working to support him and her.  But maybe that should be part of the solution, plus downsizing our current lifestyle. 

K-ice

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #49 on: February 26, 2019, 11:51:09 AM »
Chrissy, yes I would feel better.

I am a bit surprised by your answer. I feel your values would prefer that he just no spend so much money on the older children in the first place. Since that's not happening, I guess an agreement that he would spoil your child together is somewhat helpful.  (But stick to your values.)

One problem I see is it seams like the ex wife is well off and the split-parents are caught in the trap of both wanting to give their children everything.

I saw a preliminary version of my friends separation agreement.  The one parent wanted the other to agree to pay for a huge list of things including prom dresses, wedding dress, winter clothing, cars and insurance at 16, any out of province(state) school trips. And of course all the usual stuff like health care, braces, activities, university ...  They wanted the higher income parent to pay for all of this 100%, not even split based on income.  (In my province necessary extra expenses are split based on income about 60:40 in this case.)

This is a middle income family, not professionals, the list of demands was crazy and thankfully was cut drastically before the separation agreement was finalized.  (When your child is 3y old what selfish parent is already thinking I will legally make the other parent pay for their wedding dress.)

It sounds like your husband is facing the same type of ex in that she wants a lavish lifestyle for her children.  A lifestyle they probably couldn't afford together, never mind apart. Many families just can't afford Ivy league University or cars at 16 and a divorce shouldn't force someone to pay for that lifestyle.

I know another family and the first child wanted to go to school in the US (expensive for us Canadians) they had to say no because they knew they couldn't afford it for all three.

As you mentioned she is always coming back for every penny I would check what your state laws consider necessary expenses, especially after 18.  Here it is not black and white and based on family income and history. If you say your husband came from humble beginnings and had to pay his own way he could perhaps use that as an argument for his values stop at $xx dollar figure in terms of helping through University.   

You and your husband need to have a good values talk even before a money talk.