I’ve been married for five years, have one 25-year-old son from a previous relationship, and my husband has four adult children from his first marriage, ages 22-28. We both entered the relationship with different assets, but I’d say they’re mostly equal in value. My income is over $30,000 to $40,000 annually.
My son lost his father years ago and took nothing from his death. In fact, I have supported my son 100% financially during most of his school years, and have worked hard to get to where I am today. My husband is a wonderful man, caring, loving and kind to my son. I can’t ask for more.
My sons mostly grew up when we got married. One of them lived with us for a year from high school during which time we continued to pay support to his ex-wife. I try to be there for his kids, but there is no real bond. Often times, there are no responses to phone calls/texts, invitations to dinner, family trips etc. The best description of the relationship is “my stepmother”, and I agree.
“I try to be there for his kids, but there is no real bond. Often times, there are no responses to phone calls/texts, invitations to dinner, family trips, etc.“
I can’t say it doesn’t hurt; I haven’t seen or spoken to someone in over 2 years, but there’s not much I can do besides being here when needed and sending out invitations. I say that my husband spends more time with my son, and I have had the opportunity to communicate with him more.
Where I Struggle: My husband believes we should divide everything equally among the five boys. I don’t agree with that. Maybe it’s because of my son’s age and what he’s been through. I feel like I’m taking from my son to give to boys with whom I have no relationship. I think our possessions should be divided in half, with one half going to my son.
Maybe I will feel differently down the road, as my son grows up or after several more years of marriage. Am I the evil stepmother? Have I been single for a long time, and do I have to focus individually? I regret not talking about this before marriage, but I thought that would be the fair and proper way to approach things.
Financially, how do couples in similar situations deal with these difficult decisions?
Torn mother and stepmother
Yes, it would have been better to have this conversation earlier, but it’s good that you’re talking about it now. And no, you are not an evil stepmother.
I agree with you that splitting in five ways is excessive, and that could have helped. If you’ve met when your children were young–in the style of the Brady Bunch–I would understand if you wanted to divide your possessions into five ways, as your husband would like. By all means, consider your relationship with your spouse’s children and the length of time you’ve known them.
The relatively short period that you and your spouse have been married, the fact that your children are now very young, and the quality of your relationships with them play a natural part in the decision-making. You had a long life and a career before you met your husband. There is absolutely no reason to divide this hard work into five ways.
“You had a long life and a career before your husband. There is no reason to divide this hard work into five ways.“
Be aware of other restrictions related to marital inheritance. As for your home, a “joint tenancy” allows you to leave your share of your home to a third party. If you have a “joint lease” arrangement, one of the partners will inherit the other’s share upon their death. There may be an “election right” in your state that limits how much you can disenfranchise.
In New York, for example, a surviving husband has the option to receive a portion of his wife’s estate. These laws vary from state to state, and may depend on the length of the marriage, whether you share children from the marriage, the value of your estate and undocumented assets, among other factors, according to Dimitri Law Firm.
Consult a real estate attorney to find out how much you can actually leave your son with, considering all of the above. It’s time to start talking about trusts, wills and beneficiaries. There are many ways in which you can leave your son’s money. You may also have bank accounts created prior to your marriage, which are treated as separate property and not marital property.
As difficult as you may feel now, the division of inheritance into large mixed families can be much more complicated than your inheritance.
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