BLENDED families have become more common than ever, and they are expected to continue to increase in numbers as global divorce rates climb. While most of these family units have been able to come to an agreement on matters such as visitation and parenting plans, one aspect still hangs in the balance: Deciding who should pay for what when stepchildren are in the mix.
Last week, All Woman asked male readers if they believed it is a man's responsibility to financially sustain a woman's child, who is not his own, but who is living in his household. This week we asked women, if the tables were turned, do they believe they would have a financial obligation to their stepchild living with them. Check out what they had to say:
Shanny, 32, sales agent:
If a woman decides to make a family with a man with children then I think she should support her partner's children in any way. There should be no separation, because as women, we wouldn't want the man to be separating the support that's provided either. 'You tek the man with all that him carrying'. A relationship is a partnership — no one should be expected to carry all the family's burden.
Jhevere, 24, production supervisor:
In my opinion, once the father and I are together I have to love and care for the child/children. They also become a part of my family once we live together, so wherever my partner falls short, I will help; I think that is only fair.
Evonnie, 36, social worker:
Yes, I think so. Once you knew of the children and you knew of the living arrangements — that means everything. Oh, and especially if she has children living there, whether it's for the man or not, then I think she should. You can't do for one and not the other, it will breed resentment.
Kashine, 23, administrative assistant:
Yes. Once the child lives with us then definitely, and nothing should be off limits. I would not take the majority of the financial responsibility, but I would definitely contribute to the financial well-being of the child.
Rachel, 30, nurse:
No. I would buy gifts for the child or children and so on, as I do with my stepchildren now, but taking care of a child is a big responsibility. Maybe if I had more financial resources, but truth be told, their parents can more than manage so I won't insert myself in that equation.
Andrique, 34, business operator:
Yes, I would. I am an adult in the household and I would likely be their primary caregiver. So, of course, I would have a part to play financially, and it would be my pleasure. Once I accept the man, I accept his kids and I will love them even if they make that difficult.
Michelle, 46, pharmacy technician:
I would think that it is my responsibility. I have been in that kind of family unit before and I treated the children as my own. When it was time for back-to-school, for example, my partner at the time took care of books for the children (two of which are mine), and I took care of uniforms and other small items. It is not because I was compelled to do it, as my ex-husband could have more than afforded everything, but I had a part to play. I also gifted the children and took them out all the time, and I did not expect to be financially compensated for it. In fact, their mother never had to give a dime towards the care of her children, she took advantage of that and I was okay with it. Today I do not regret having done any of it, especially since I have gained two daughters for a lifetime.
— Penda Honeyghan