Co-parenting after a divorce can be a minefield of custody arrangements, child support agreements and a whole lot of differing opinions but some couples choose to keep things out of court and within the family.
However, one man is watching his arrangement with his ex backfire tremendously.
He took to Reddit’s “Am I the A–hole?” forum, a place to find out if you were wrong in an argument. Folks on the site use a rating system, one is “NTA” (not the a–hole), and the other is “TA” (the a–hole).
His ex-wife and her husband wanted to save up for the other children in their home, by making him pay for it.
The post began with him describing his relationship with his ex-wife.
They had a daughter, 17, and a son, 15. It has been 13 years since the couple was divorced, and they shared 50/50 custody of the children.
“Neither of us pays child support because we have equal time with the kids and we split the costs of everything (school, medical, dental, extra [curriculars]),” he wrote.
“I opened up bank accounts for my kids when each was born and I have saved from the get-go.”
The father-of-two explains that around eight years ago he suffered and injury at work and ended up receiving compensation — money that he was able to transfer to his kids’ accounts.
“As well as this a relative died 4 years ago and I was left a sum of money that also went into the accounts for my children,” he adds.
Then he expressed that the money would “help them tremendously” in the future, even if they decide not to go to college.
His ex is in a different financial situation and now has more kids to pay for.
His ex-wife had remarried, which caused her to gain several new family members. A 16-year-old stepdaughter, her husband’s 14-year-old nephew that they are raising, as well as a 7 and 5-year-old with her husband.
Now that his kids with her are nearing college age, time came for the dreaded conversation about tuition fees.
“She told me that she and her husband had told all their kids that community college would be the most affordable option for them and that they would get as much help as possible but a more expensive school would be tough on them,” he wrote.
“I told her that our kids would have that option if they wanted it because I have saved a more than healthy amount for them,” he continued.
His ex was somewhat bewildered about why he had never told her sooner, though he countered that it was none of her business since he had always pulled his weight financially.
A few days after that conversation, he got a phone call from his ex and her husband. They wanted to know if he would pay child support so that they could save for the other kids in their household.
He told her that he “was not going to pay her child support just so she could support the other children in her home.”
“Her husband told me I could always offer to split the money between all of the children. I told him I wasn’t paying for his kids to go to college,” he wrote.
He insisted that his only responsibility was to his own children.
“I told her the day I have an obligation to help her support her entire household is a day in another universe where we never broke up.”
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Most felt that he was not in wrong for refusing to pay.
“The courts did not order [child support] because I only make a little more than my ex-wife and I was well below the threshold they use to determine CS in 50-50 custody cases,” he wrote.
“I have control of the money. My children are aware it is there and we have talked about it but they are still undecided on their future plans. They do not have access to the money yet”.
One user decided that he was “not the a–hole”, and commented “Also, I’d be extra careful with the college funds, your kids could be bullied into sharing with their step/half-siblings in the future.”
Another agreed, “they are trying to sucker you into paying for their kids. Don’t budget”.
“NTA, what a laughable suggestion on their part,” wrote a third.
Taylor Haynes is a writer based in Chicago. She covers entertainment, news and human interest stories at YourTango. You can find her on Instagram here.