Monday, August 3, 2015

Mom thinks daughter's ex stepfather should pay child support...

Oh boy...  as you know, today's first Dear Amy letter is on a subject that hits close to home for me.  A mom writes that her twelve year old daughter's bio dad died when her daughter was two years old.  When the daughter was five, Mom married another guy, then they split up when her daughter was ten.  Her ex husband never formally adopted the letter writer's daughter, but he always treated her as his own child.  He continues the relationship since the divorce and both he and the daughter are happy to see each other.

Mom is at least kind enough to see that the relationship is good and isn't so bitter that she prevents her ex from seeing the daughter.  But she still feels entitled to financial support from the guy because he enjoys a fatherly relationship with her child.  Way to monetize your daughter's relationship with her only father figure, lady!  She might as well offer the child's time for rent.

Bill was one of those guys who felt obligated to support a former stepchild who wasn't his.  His ex wife used to tell him her son would feel neglected and left out if Bill didn't financially support him.  Bill genuinely loved his ex stepson and thought of his as his own, even though he never formally adopted him.  And when he and ex divorced, he paid $850 a month for that kid until he was 21 years old, even though the boy's actual father was still alive and kicking.  For that, he got disowned, parentally alienated, cheated, and lied to.

Frankly, it upsets me that some mothers feel entitled to a paycheck for their kids after a divorce.  I'm not talking about legitimate child support that comes from a non custodial parent, I'm talking about mothers who see financial support as payment for time their child spends with another adult.  It surprises me that there are apparently so many women out there who have no qualms about expecting cash from former stepparents to support children from other relationships.  I think this mom should just be grateful that her ex husband is a decent person who loves her daughter.  And if she hasn't already, she should get Social Security payments for her daughter from bio dad's estate.

I also don't agree with Amy's advice that this mother should "offer" her ex the chance to pay for school pictures and soccer cleats.  He's not her parent, period.  It's not his responsibility.  Financial assistance for the daughter should be his idea.  If he did offer support, I would also hope he'd realize that this mother could choose to sever the relationship he has with the daughter at any time.  Because since he is the child's former stepfather, he has no legal rights to see her.  And if she remarries and a new "daddy figure" comes into the girl's life, this guy's financial support toward her would probably all be for naught.  He might end up in the same situation Bill was in, contributing thousands of dollars toward a former stepchild's upkeep, yet in the end, being treated like a walking wallet.  

I guess I should be grateful that this woman is at least able to see why her idea may be wrong.  Some people, like Bill's ex wife, feel entitled regardless and won't hesitate to use guilt trips and threats to get money out of their exes.  I wish to God Bill had told her to go screw herself when she suggested that he pay support for her son.  Better yet, I wish he had told her to go screw herself when she showed up with her son on Bill's doorstep back in 1989.

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