Blended Family Struggles Over Children’s College Funds

With a rise in blended families comes an increase in arguments about money. Parents with stepkids need to navigate their kids’ varying financial situations, which may differ based on contributions from non-custodial parents. 

Things can get dicey based on inheritances from biological grandparents, contributions of biological family members, and incomes of the birth parent not involved in the new relationship. 

One mother came to Reddit to determine if she was in the wrong for refusing to split her daughter’s college money with her stepkids. 

Should I Split My Daughter’s College Fund?

The Original Poster (OP) sought Reddit’s advice after her husband demanded that she split her daughter’s college fund among her unrelated step-siblings. 

“My daughter will graduate debt-free, and for my husband, this is suddenly a problem.” she writes. “He wants us to split up my daughter’s fund between all three kids because then they could all (probably) have college fully paid for.”

The request might sound reasonable if the fund was started after the family got together, but it becomes abhorrent when we discover where the money came from.

Daughter’s College Fund Stems from Tragedy

The mother wasn’t saving money for her daughter while ignoring her stepchildren. The money resulted from a tragic accident. 

“When my (42F) daughter (17F) was 7, we lost her father to an avoidable accident. Due to that and the subsequent settlement, my daughter was able to have a trust fund of sorts that provided for college, grad school if she wanted, and even some left over for whatever life might bring,” shared the OP. 

She added that she remarried her current husband, who has two children of his own, aged 17 and 13, six years after her first husband’s passing. 

How to Pay for Step Daughter’s College

The husband knew his stepdaughter had a college trust, but it wasn’t a problem until his own daughter got accepted into an expensive school at the same time. 

“This year, both our girls are graduating and should be headed to college. My daughter was admitted to her dream school last year and is ecstatic about it,” stated OP, adding that her stepdaughter also got accepted into a great school.

Unfortunately, the stepdaughter doesn’t have access to the same financial support as her own daughter. 

“The problem now arises with the money to pay for SD’s school,” said OP. “Because her parents cannot afford to pay the tuition in its entirety, SD will have to take some loans. All told, she will graduate with about $40K in loans which I think is still quite modest for the school she’s attending and her earning prospects post-graduation.”

Husband Demands Money

The husband saw a perfect solution that would benefit his own children to his step-daughter’s detriment. 

“He wants us to split up my daughter’s fund between all three kids because then they could all (probably) have college fully paid for,” said the OP of her husband’s desire. 

However, she worried that splitting the money would negatively impact her daughter.  “My daughter won’t have much left over and will definitely need to borrow for grad school – which she has expressed interest in attending.” 

 “According to my husband, that’s ok,” added OP, “because everyone will start off on an equal footing post-college.”

Unfair to Daughter

OP was skeptical. She thinks it’s unfair to ask her daughter to give up the money because it was essentially a gift from her late father, the only thing left that he can offer her. She considers it an inheritance and doesn’t think it should be split between kids that weren’t even related to her husband. 

“1) Her father had to die for this money, and 2) this is like her inheritance from him,” stated the OP. 

Husband Thinks She’s Selfish

The husband has a different view. He thinks she’s selfish for not sharing the money and even accused the OP of mistreating the stepkids. 

“My husband thinks that they are all siblings, and she should be happy to share the money with them if it means giving her siblings a head start in life,” OP said, adding that she doesn’t want to make her stepdaughter feel guilty about using her father’s gift. 

She shared her concerns, but the husband dug in. “He thinks that I’m being selfish, that I’m teaching my daughter to be selfish, and I obviously don’t consider my SKs the same as my daughter,” lamented the OP, wondering if she was in the wrong for refusing to share. 

Who’s Right?

The OP came to Reddit to see if she was in the wrong. Should she force her daughter to split the inheritance among her step-siblings?

Although situations involving blended families and money can get complicated, most users agreed this case was clear cut. 

“That settlement was for your deceased husband’s children, not your future children, and certainly not someone else’s,” stated one user plainly, agreeing that OP shouldn’t split the money. 

Another received gold for giving OP guidance on precisely what to say to her money-grubbing husband. “Circumstances stole her father from her, I am not going to take away what he was able to give her. This is not open for discussion.”

“I think that you should ask him if his ex will be giving your daughter equal share of the money she gives to her kids,” snarked another user. 

Source: Reddit