Denethor: Steward of Gondor and a second-tier character I hadn't related to in the past. Ding ding!
I guess every couple finds their own way to handle finance. In our home, my husband handles money by aligning expenses with his larger goals. In a more methodical philosophy, I prioritize things that we're required to pay, regardless of whether they align with my emotional priorities.
To illustrate: my husband is a chef and owns a tree business. In my mind, a parking ticket with a threatening late charge would take priority over a Cook’s Illustrated or ISA Arboriculture subscription. To him, the benefits of learning more about his occupation are worth the city’s late fee.
These things come and go, but child support is a fact of life. For the most part, I’m lucky that our rates and arrangements are fair. They provide for the kids, leave enough for us to live on, and require that the other parent contribute financially. Just three points cause distress for me as a stepmother:
- Do the kids benefit from the support that we pay? Mommy can do whatever she wants with the money—drink, shop, gamble, enjoy $150 haircuts or cosmetic dental procedures.
- “The system” is right that my stepkids’ mothers need to have larger homes...and so do we. Some standard adjustments (based upon how much time we spend with the kids) allow for us to provide food, clothing, transportation, etc. when the kids stay with us. But there is no provision for the rather major requirement that our home accommodate five people.