I've been married to my wife for 5 years. She has two kids from her previous marriage Jason- 22M and Carla- 19F. When we married, my wife still had 50/50 custody of her kids and she wanted to move into my house.
I converted the attic into a bedroom so both of her kids and us could have our own rooms. Their father is present in their life so I was pretty much designated the guy that married their mom and I'm fine with that.
I sorely underestimated how much having two teenagers in the house would increase bills. When I was single I could do my mortgage and bills fine on my own. Post-marriage everything but the mortgage has gone up, not including spending money for the kids and their extracurriculars.
My wife got child support from her ex and some extra help with their expenses, which helped a bit while she had it, but I still had to dip into my savings a lot. It was really important to my wife to be a stay-at-home mom until they graduated. It was tight but we made it work.
Jason moved out after graduating high school to attend college out of state and when Carla graduated last year we agreed she could have one year to figure if she'd be moving out or applying to nearby schools. Currently she's not working or in school.
Few days ago I go into the kitchen and my wife's on the phone with Jason and she told him that he was more than welcome to move back in and she was excited to see him when he got here. After she hung up I told her that she should've run that by me first so we could discuss it.
I wasn't opposed to it but told her he should know what he'd be expected to contribute if he's moving in. She responded that she had always told her kids that they would always be welcomed home whenever they wanted and not have to worry about expenses.
I told my wife that was really nice of her, but she made that arrangement with her ex-husband when they were married, she didn't make that arrangement with me.
If Jason moved back in he'd have to pay 'rent' to pitch in with groceries and utilities he'd be using and it probably should be the same for Carla so it's not one sibling paying while the other isn't.
She said they're her kids and shouldn't have to pay to live at home so I told her if she felt that strongly about her kids not pitching in now that they're adults, she could go back to work.
She's been sleeping in Jason's old room since we're still debating it and her parents have chimed in with their two cents that I shouldn't be making 'kids' pay to live at home.
My whole thing is - they're not kids anymore. When they're 40 they'll still be her kids but that doesn't mean treating them like minors. Especially if it means someone else footing all the bills. AITA?
From the comments:
While he shouldn’t have to pay for their gas, car insurance, or any allowance. He SHOULD know that he married a woman with kids. They’re HIS CHILDREN NOW. Merely occupying space should not be charged that much rent if any at all.
The houses heat and air conditioning stays the same. The square footage stays the same. Water and electric spikes only SOME as long as the daughter isn’t taking 2 hour long showers every day.
Food is really the only expense. That’s it. What’s the cost to charge your cell phone 1x? A nickel’s worth of electricity? 😂🤣 a dime maybe?
Kids moving back after college is extremely normal in 2022. And the alternative is what? What if they’re facing living on the streets? Again they’re legally your children you married into the family. You’re related by law now. You’re part of the literal family tree. Permanently. Genealogy records? Yep, he’s part of them now. Forever.
throwawayrentornot OP's responded:
- Still paying off the renovations to my house to make sure both kids had their own rooms here.
- Splitting both their monthly car insurances with their father
- Their clothing expenses, the streaming services both she and the kids want with ample screens.
- Medical insurance.
- Food, snacks, spending money, prescriptions, doctor's appointments, eyeglasses, both of them taking 15-30 minute showers, no A/C system as its window units and Carla runs hers constantly while keeping her window open no matter what she is told. Any hobbies they have that cost money.
- Still paying off repairs to my car that Carla damaged before her father got her her own car.
- Their phone payments
It is a lot of extra expenses that have required cutting a lot of costs over the past 5 years and would have to continue to do so. I have no legal rights to them and that's fine. If they had moved out and were looking at being put out on the street, I had already agreed they would be able to come back and get back on their feet. This is not that however.
Yeah- the idea that she wanted to be a stay-at-home mother for high schoolers is ridic especially when the OP needed to dip into his savings to bankroll their lifestyle.
She's also setting up a situation where it's going to be increasingly harder for her to earn a decent amount of money. It isn't right, but it's often much harder for people to get hired if they've been out of work for a long period of time.
Honestly, this isn't even an issue about money. It about your wife's lack of respect and support of you. You have come to your wife and communicated a very reasonable request for her to adjust her behaviour so your family can live within their means.
She can't have it both ways: if she wants her kids at home (expense-free), she gets a job to help pay for it; if she doesn't want to work, her kids need to pitch in.
I'm not sure what 'stay-at-home-parent' means when your kids are in high school. They're probably gone like 75% of the day...so what is there to do at home every day that couldn't be done while also holding a part-time or full-time job?