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'AITA for refusing to take money from my son to spend on my stepdaughter's medical care?'

'AITA for refusing to take money from my son to spend on my stepdaughter's medical care?'


Drawing boundaries in a blended family is important, but that doesn't mean it can't cause conflict.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for refusing to dip into his son's savings to help alleviate his stepdaughter's medical costs. He wrote:

"AITA for refusing to take money from my son to spend on my stepdaughter's medical care?"

I (40m) have a son (15m) with my late wife Cassy. Cassy died when our son was 5. She was left a large sum of money before her death because her death would have been preventable but her medical team was negligent. She used the money to clear any medical debts, pay for her funeral and the rest went into a savings account for our son.

I have saved since but not as significantly as the money already there from Cassy. I remarried when my son was 11. My current wife Andi has a daughter who is now 11f. Before we ever got married we had discussed finances, the kids and how our blended family would work. We spoke about savings for our kids.

My stepdaughter has hardly any because her father cleared it out during his and Andi's marriage and refused to contribute to it again. So she started a new one. Andi was aware my son had a lot of money in his. But she does not have access to his and I do not have access to my stepdaughter's. We felt it was better to keep saving individually for our bio kid. And we agreed not to interfere.

But everything else is together, so paying medical stuff, household stuff, extra curricular stuff, etc. Everything with that was fine until September. The brief description is my stepdaughter was born with some medical problems. These problems require daily meds and surgery on occasion. In September my stepdaughter had a surgery that went badly and created more problems.

Andi found my stepdaughter a new doctor. This new doctor discovered a further complication which required a new (and costly) medication in the short term and a big surgery to correct. The surgery costs a lot but we would pay it off eventually. This is when Andi suggested asking my son if we could pay the cost directly from his savings. I told her no.

She told me if I explained that it needs to happen and he will still have plenty, it won't be an issue. I told her it would be and that money is for my son not for us, not for anyone but him. Andi went and asked my son anyway and without letting me know. He told her no and she raged at me which is how I found out. I told her she crossed the line.

She told me it's easy for me to say when my son isn't the one living with medical problems. I told her that did not give her the right to ask my son, who is still a child, for money. Things got so heated that my son and I moved out because Andi and I did nothing but fight and she then went on to say some crazy things, like my son hates her daughter and wants her to die.

Andi's parents have interjected now and called me out for refusing to alleviate the stress of medical bills for Andi and my stepdaughter by taking money I did have access to. Andi also said I showed how little I care for my stepdaughter. I told her we were still going to pay it so I don't know what she's talking about.

But she and her parents called me an $$s. I'm still furious she went to my son and asked for money after I said no. AITA though?

People had a lot to say about this dynamic.

Trevena_Ice wrote:

NTA. This is your son's money. She has no right to use it. And yes she crossed a line. A big one. And even more for saying your son doesn't care about his step sister. This money is from his late mother.

Andi should go after her daughters bio dad and call him selfish for not paying. Maybe even take him to court for this - as he should pay child support and so. Would give Andi an ultimatum. Eighter she appologize to you and your son for crossing this line or you are done.

Beautiful-Way-2259 wrote:

NTA. It isn't your money to give. End of. Period. Your wife is a AH for disrespecting you by going to your son herself after you said no. That is a huge red flag and would definitely be a hill to die on. As for her parents...they need to mind their own business. The entitlement in that family is strong...and something I wouldn't want to be a part of.

Holiday_Trainer_2657 wrote:

NTA If you remain in the marriage, consider putting the money into a college fund or trust until the boy is like 25. So he doesn't get guilted into "helping" when he's 18.

Impossible_Cover_232 wrote:

NTA. That money is what is left to your son from his deceased mother. I guarantee he would rather have the mother here instead of the money. It is not your money to give away. It’s your sons. And he has no obligation, as a child, to give away money from his late mother for his stepsisters surgery. I am sorry your wife feels the strain of finances and her daughter’s health. That is a horrible feeling.

But what she did was crossing a major line and it’s a hill to die on. Not only did she ignore what you said, she went to your son anyways. And then has the nerve to rage when he said no. Her ignoring what you had said prior shows what she thinks about you. But then she brings her family into the mix. Pure manipulation tactic.

Why isn’t she going to court against her father who wiped out the stepdaughters saving account to begin with instead of going after your son? You are/were still willing to make the surgery happen and pay for it but that wasn’t good enough for her.

I suggest some time for deep reflection. She has shown a side of her you didn’t know. Her recent actions would be a deal breaker for me. You have to figure out if it is for you. But no matter what, please don’t let her manipulate or guilt trip you into giving her your son's money.

everellie wrote:

Not only does she not recognize that what she did is wrong (going behind your back to ask a minor child for money she should not have,) but she also sicced her whole family on you.

If I were being called names for doing the right thing (protecting my son's inheritance from his mother), I would be HIGHLY offended. If she doesn't watch her tone, she's going to wind up paying for her daughter's surgery and meds all by herself, because you are going to peace out, permanently.

Worldly-Feedback6663 wrote:

NTA. OP, did I miss it in the post where she suggests returning the money to your son wven if you were to take it? Did she mean she wants to borrow that money? It looks like she just want you to cover it with your son's money and not have to controbute to it. Unless you didn't mention it in the post. Still NTA.

OP responded:

That's how it comes across to me as well because she did not mention paying it back. Maybe she expected me to do it solo.

Dexterus wrote:

What I find strange is why are they focusing on Andi's stress with medical bills when the bills are shared? You say they're doable and I assume this isn't a "surgery is not happening because of money" but a "we're kinda screwed for money for a while" so...weird. NTA.

OP responded:

Correct. The surgery is still and can still happen. Just we'll be paying it off for some time to come.

RJathk2023 wrote:

Please tell me that money is protected as a pre marital asset or it’s totally in the child’s name? Seek legal advice immediately to reassure yourself that if u divorce, the money is protected from your current wife? She sounds bitter enough to attempt to get that money in any divorce settlement. Her behaviour here was just appalling, she asked for your son’s money.

When you said no, she seriously asked a child for their money she went behind your back and disregarded your opinion- all to get more money. You are NTA! Get legal advice and reassess if u want to be in this relationship at all.

OP responded:

Yes, the money is protected.

jclom0 wrote:

NTA an 11-year-old cannot reasonably consent to this, even if he had agreed. It is not reasonable for a person in a position of power to put pressure on him. The fact she spoke to him about it is completely wrong. I get the wife is desperate, but she is effectively trying to steal from a child. For me this behaviour would be a deal breaker, I’m not sure I could trust the wife after this.

OP responded:

My son is 15 now, not 11. My stepdaughter is 11. But I agree that he should never have been brought into this by my wife.

TheLadyIsabelle wrote:

Info: where was all that energy when her baby daddy ran out? Why isn't she making him pay child support‽ Unless he's ab*sive and she's concerned about him knowing their location or something she's really failed her daughter financially her.

OP responded:

She went after it but he had stopped working. At least he appears to have stopped working.

DearOP_ wrote:

She needs to go back to court & press it with every bill she has. Most judges will set a deadline for when he should have a job & if he fails to get one/start paying, they'll put him in jail.

OP responded:

That's what they told him they would do with a failure to work. But she knows he won't care about being in jail. That's what she told me at least. She said he would let it happen out of spite toward her.

Big yikes all around, but one thing is for sure: OP is NTA.

Sources: Reddit
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