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Dad rejects estranged daughter; won't reconnect until she pays back child support.

Dad rejects estranged daughter; won't reconnect until she pays back child support.

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AITA for expecting my adult daughter to pay back what she owes me?

My (48M) daughter (21F), Aria, abandoned us (her stepmother, younger half-sister and me) when she was 15 to go live with my enabling ex-wife, Sandra, and her husband.

Until then, we had 50/50 custody, but Sandra has always been less 'strict' than me. She's always let Aria do what she wants and has never had any home rules. She also buys Aria everything she wants so she will want to live with her.

Sandra lives in the same town where Aria's highschool was, while I live 25 mins away. So, one of my rules was that if she went to meet up with a friend there (meaning I had to drive her), the next time they met it was her friend's turn to come.

If the friend's parents didn't want to drive the kid here, then Aria wasn't allowed to meet them again while she was with me. Everything was fine that way for years.

The major fallout happened in her last year of highschool (she was 15). She went on a trip to another country with her school and didn't bother to send more than a couple texts when she was away for 5 days. So I decided to ground her, because she had to learn to respect and show some love for her family.

She insisted she had sent messages to her mother but we had barely heard from her. She's never had a lot of friends, but she had been invited to some popular girl's birthday party. This was my punishment, not going to that party after forgetting about her family.

She got upset and started calling her mother to come pick her up, but it was illegal to get her if it was my week. Plus, she wanted to go to her mother's because she would lift my punishment and let her go to the party. Her mother came by the end of the week and I told Aria that she didn't have to come back if she didn't want to.

I waited, but I heard nothing from her again. Her sister kept asking me why she didn't come back, and I didn't know how to explain to her that she didn't love us and that she preferred staying with her mother, her parties and her free-of-rules life.

Over the years we've communicated through lawyers, because Sandra has 0 intention on helping me get my daughter back (she finally has her to herself). They've been demanding that I pay for child support, even now that she's 21 years old. I have to pay for that and for half of her college expenses (by law).

When Aria turned 18, an adult, I started adding up everything I had to pay in an Excel that I send to Sandra when I update it so she knows what damage she is doing to our daughter (I expect Aria to pay her debt, but I gave Sandra the option to pay for her to which she refused). We are now at $18K.

Aria has been trying to get in touch again. I told her that we can't fix the emotional part unless we fix the money part first. She needs to prove to me that she doesn't only care about the money. Sandra says I'm an asshole but I think she is, since she has done nothing but try to take my daughter away and she finally has what she wants. So, AITA?

Here's how people judged OP:

rishcast writes:

YTA. First: Your daughter was 15, and you've decided to blame her for a decision teenage brain her made.

Second: You're required to pay that money by law. if the tables were turned - that is, Aria at yours and not Sandra's - would you have been okay with Sandra paying nothing and you paying everything? Doubt it.

She was gone for under a week, and sent you a bunch of texts to let you know she was alive and well. She was on holiday with friends and classmates. I'm sorry, how much did you expect her to contact you exactly?

You're doing an amazing job of proving all you care about is the money. personally, I has a suspicion the issue w/her living with you wasn't that her mother was less strict, it's that you were very controlling

metalvito OP responded:

I sent her some texts, to which she replied. But she never initiated the conversation or even told us how her day went. I understand with the data roaming she could only use her phone when she had internet, but when she was back at the hotel she could've at least said something.

Aria made her decision, which was staying at Sandra's. She's an adult now and I shouldn't be forced to pay her if she chose her mother, she is the one who should be paying.

JaydeRaven writes:

Wonder if he’s keeping track of everything he spends on his other child… bet not. YTA

metalvito OP responded:

I don't keep track of what I spend on my other daughter because she lives with me and loves me. I get a 'good morning' a 'good night' from her everyday. She's also a lot more easy than Aria, she doesn't talk back to me like Aria did.

Emiliodash88 writes:

YTA you are a horrible father and I can see why your daughter left.

Laurelinn writes:

Even after reading the first sentence, 'my daughter abandoned us', I was pretty sure OP is going to turn out to be an insufferable asshole. And... yeah.

KeyFeeFee writes:

This part and the part where he punished her for not “showing some love” to them. WTF kind of weird attitude is this?? I knew it was a YTA week before the end too.

carefultheremate writes:

Oh it's not the money that he cares about the most. It's the power. The money is a tool.

Dewhickey76 writes:

I'm blown away that any father could write this and not realize that he is the AH. The little 'excel' sheet OP created is the icing on the cake for me. OP's bitching about his daughter only caring about money while simultaneously demanding she pay him back for money he was legally obligated to provide.

OP isn't owed anything and he's going to lose his daughter if he insists he is. It's obvious from his post that OP hates his ex. I'd put money that OP's attitude about his daughter's mom contributed to the kid leaving.

Also, what HS senior calls home repeatedly while on a school trip?!? The kid was thoughtful enough to text multiple times and to keep in contact with her mom. OP comes off as controlling, jealous, and immature. I'm struggling to understand why his child wants anything to do with him.

Sources: Reddit
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