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Man counts down days until stepdaughter turns 18 and she's 'not his responsibility.'

Man counts down days until stepdaughter turns 18 and she's 'not his responsibility.'


Being a stepparent to a teenager can be incredibly difficult. You're tasked with striking a balance between being a trusty adult in their life, while respecting the pre-established relationships they have with their birth parents.

In ideal situations, it can be the best of both worlds: you have the love of a child without the full responsibility of parenthood. In harder situations, it can be the worst of both worlds: you have some of the responsibilities without the closeness or ability to call any of the shots.

In the latter kind of situation, emotions can really come to an unfortunate boiling point.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for counting down the days until his stepdaughter turns 18 and he's no longer legally responsible for her.

He wrote:

AITA for counting down the days until my “daughter”turns 18 so I can stop being legally responsible for her?

I married my wife about two years ago and she has a daughter from a previous relationship. Early on during our dating period, she made it clear that her daughter has a father and she’s not looking for another father for her. The ground rules were set by her which and that I will be an adult figure but not a parental one. I will have no say in how she is to be brought up and I can’t punish her in anyway.

Considering she was 14 when her mom and I met and 15 when we married, I agreed to her rules. My thinking is that she’s already too old for me to make any difference in her life so why make it an issue. Fast forward a couple of years and my life has been a nightmare. The girl constantly gets into trouble and has been kicked out of several schools (she lived with her father at the time).

She had to move in with us so she could attend a new high school in order to graduate. She’s been suspended several times at this HS but it looks like she’ll graduate on time. While living with us, she’s gotten into 2 car accidents (once when she was drunk) and we had to remortgaged our house to pay her attorney fees and legal bills.

The judge dressed us down in court for not being better parents. I’m not a legal expert at all but from movies and shows, I know that judges can jail you for arguing so I bit my tongue and took it. It was humiliating. The girl is a couple of months away from being an adult and this weekend, I was out with the guys and she came up in conversation.

I complained about how much money I’ve spent bailing her out of trouble and that I can’t wait until she turns 18 so she can face her own consequences. Word got back to my wife and she blew her top. I still don’t think I said anything wrong but I’m staying at a motel tonight.

I want to be clear we’re not kicking her out and considering she doesn’t work, she’ll be living with us for awhile. I’m just waiting for the day she’s an adult so I won’t be yelled at by anymore judges.

People had a lot of strong opinions about this post, and overall situation.

CornwallyO wrote:

If you're not a parental figure why are you paying for these things at all? You're a saint for putting up with this.

Nta. Mom wants to have her cake and eat it too.

JoReb wrote:

NTA but you should probably be rethinking your whole marriage, because this is not going to stop when she turns 18.

avocadosdontbite wrote:

NTA...but I'm not sure what you think is going to change once she turns 18? You're not legally her father so your wife should have been paying for her daughter's legal expenses separately from her own savings, not using joint money that the two of you pool.

If that's how you are doing things, why would you expect things to magically change once the girl is 18? Your wife will still expect you to pay and the girl will still run wild and get in trouble with the law. Think long and hard about whether this situation is one you want to hitch your future wagon to.

FloMoJoeBlow wrote:

I think OP and his wife need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about what happens when the girl turns 18. Will she continue to live under their roof, or will she move? OP needs to make it clear to his wife that they will no longer continue to bail her out... meaning, no joint funds go for bail, new car, etc.

The wife is going to have to figure this out. Somehow, methinks that if OP puts his foot down (which needs to happen), then this marriage may not last...which based on how he went into it, it probably should never have happened.

After receiving a lot of feedback, OP jumped on with some updates and clarifications:


Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I wrote it while I was very angry so I left out some details. I read through all of the responses and will answer some common questions.

I built the house myself before I met my wife so it’s solely mine. I call it “ours” not because she’s on the papers but because she’s been living here and we’re married. My wife doesn’t really ask me to help out but I make more than her and her ex combined. She struggles to pay for her daughter and could never afford an attorney.

I know my wife would be heart broken if her only child was jailed so I decided to pay for the attorney to keep my wife sane. The bio dad lives several states away and has gone low contact with his daughter. I’m not exactly sure why because I was never told the reason. I didn’t have to go to court but my wife had to go so I took the day off to go and support her.

When the judge ordered the parents to come to stand before him, my wife could barely walk so I held her arm and helped her to the bench which was why I was standing there. I’ve never had any dealings with the court outside of speeding tickets and I took care of those with the clerks.

Standing in front of a judge who can jail me made me terrified and having him yelled at me was the most humiliating thing I’ve ever gone through which is the main reason why I’m so excited for the girl to turn 18 so I will no longer be called in front of a judge.

The first car she wrecked was her mother’s old car that was gifted to her when I bought my wife a new car. The 2nd car she wrecked was my old car I gave to her when I bought myself a new car. There’s been no talks of getting her another car because her license has been suspended.

OP is most certainly NTA, but his relationship might need some all around reconfiguring.

Sources: Reddit
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