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Stepdad Scoffs After Ex-Wife Expects Him To Pay Her Kid’s $80k A Year Tuition Post-Divorce

Man holding a pile of money.
Olga Dobrovolska/Getty Images

Stepparents always hope that their stepchildren will come to view them as if they were their blood relations, and vice-versa.

Sadly, that isn’t always the case, as some stepchildren are never able to accept their stepparents into their lives, as they can never replace their actual parents.

While some stepparents choose to take a backseat in the lives of their stepchildren, figuring their actual parents should be the ones doing all the parenting, things can get even more complicated when divorce comes into play.

The ex-wife of Redditor Significant_Virus747 had two teenage children of her own from a previous relationship.

Following their divorce, the original poster (OP) was surprised to discover that his ex-wife still expected him to be present in the lives of her children despite the fact that they never viewed him as a parent figure.

Specifically in one department, which the OP flatly refused to continue.

Wondering if he was being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for making my ex wife and her kids live in ‘poverty’ even though I have money?”

The OP explained why he didn’t think he was responsible for the financial situation of his ex-wife or her children anymore.

“I (46 M[ale]) recently finalized my divorce with my now ex-wife Liza (41 F[emale]).”

“We were only married for three years, and the cause for divorce was issues with finances.”

“We had separate bank accounts for our own savings and checking accounts for where our salaries went.”

“I did create an extra account for her where I would deposit money in monthly just as fun spending money as I make significantly more and wanted her to have less stress with her finances.”

“Even with this setup, she would consistently go over the limit and would even take lots of cash out of my wallet and personal safe without informing me.”

“When we were married, she and her two kids (18 M and 16 F) from her previous relationship moved into the house that I own, and I paid for them to go to a private high school.”

“Their dad is in their life, so they never saw me as anything other than the guy who married their mom, but I understand that because they did meet me much later in their lives and not as little kids.”

“Regardless, I tried to keep a good relationship, but neither of them ever wanted that and made me feel like an ATM.”

“I got a really thorough prenup made before we married, so I basically kept everything I have except for some alimony I have to pay every month.”

“After the divorce, Liza and her kids moved out, and I informed her that I had closed the bank account I made for sending her money and I was going to stop paying for kids’ private school tuition after this school year was over.”

“So that way, at least, they finish the year out and have a few months to figure out the next plans and transferring.”

“It’s been about three months since then, and I got a nasty call from her saying she can’t afford rent anymore, so she and the kids have to move in with her mother. She basically berated me for ‘taking away’ the credit card attached to my bank account.”

“Apparently, the kids have also had to stop some of their extracurricular sports because she can’t pay for the programs.”

“She said I left her in ‘poverty,’ and she had to apply for government assistance and food stamps.”

“Also, when we were married, I had mentioned potentially paying for her kid’s college tuition when the time comes, but it was never a set thing.”

“Apparently she still thought this offer was on the table and mapped out how her son just got accepted to his dream school and the cost of attendance will be 80k per year, so she wanted to know how I would be sending the funds for this.”

“I just told her she’s crazy if she thinks I’m giving up my hard-earned money for someone else’s kids I have no ties to anymore and that I covered her bills completely for 3 years, so she should have saved her salary then instead of blowing through it on designer items.”

“A lot of her family/friends and her kids’ dad are all calling me saying I need to provide for the kids at least because I’m their ‘stepdad’ and that’s a lifelong commitment.”

“Also, according to them, it’s not fair that I’m taking away their opportunities to be at a fancy private school and college, especially when I have the money to pay for all of it and keep up their lifestyle to how it was when they lived with me.”

“So AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to pay his former stepchildren’s tuition.

Everyone agreed that as his stepchildren never fully accepted him in their lives, not to mention the fact that his ex-wife mismanaged his and her own money during their marriage, the OP had no obligation to pay their current or future tuition.


“What kind of sane person would expect their ex-husband to pay for her and her kid’s lives?”

“Not to mention the fact that the kids are not yours.”

“Tell them that their ATM is now closed and wish them the best with their life.”

“Block their numbers and enjoy your money!”- lazy_panda369



“Not even remotely.”

“You are divorced.”

“You had a prenup.”

“The kids didn’t consider you their dad.”

“AND they have their real dad.”

“Doesn’t sound like you adopted them.”

“I don’t see what the problem is.”

“Legally, you are not responsible for HER kids.”

“Clearly she was bad with money if you are divorcing over financial issues.”

“No child support was set up.”

“She married you knowing there was a prenup.”

“What’s done is done.”- VegetableBee1

“So wait, their FATHER is saying that YOU should pay for their school?”



“These people see you have money and are taxing you with guilt.”

“No way.”

“So sorry that they see life this way bc it sounds like you gave them every opportunity to be better.”-Hot_Bookkeeper2349

“Holy Wow: NTA.”

“Honestly, you went above and beyond.”

“Cut contact when you can.”

“This dumpster fire is no longer your issue.”- BoudiccaRisen

“NTA, she can’t blame you for not being ATM and making her choices.”

“I guess it would have been different if you raised the kids for like 15 years, had things in writing, and they called you a dad, but 3?”- Icy-Dot4990


“I have no fear that you’ll fall for this ex’s post-breakup sob story, mainly because you took the trouble to get a prenup before you took her and her kids on.”

“It seems you were aware that your money might be a motivation for your ex to entangle herself with you.”

“Your precaution has paid off so far.”

“Be prepared, however, to argue in court whether or not you are responsible to pay for her children’s future education.”

“Some courts hold that a person can rely on another’s promise to pay, and act upon it and that the promisor must pay.”

“If one of them chooses to pursue the court route, you must lay out documentation to prove that you have never intentionally taken on her children’s financial care; only that of your wife, and convince the judge that you’ve never made any offers of future financial help for her children.”-Mysterious_Pea_5008

“I think an obvious NTA.”

“And being a stepdad is a life long commitment, which is lucky you’re now an ex-stepdad.”-Sad_Bathroom_7897


“Sounds like your ex needs a reality check.”

“Well, actually it sounds like she’s in the middle of receiving one and don’t like it much.”- jimbob19304


“What did she do before she met you?”

“You were only married three years you owe her nothing.”

“Her family and kids’ dad are all just money grabbers who want you to feel bad for something you shouldn’t.”- Artistic_Tough5005


“She was a very greedy woman – you are better off without her.”

“They aren’t your kids, and they only saw you as an ATM – you owe them nothing.”

“I hope you find someone who actually loves you and not your money.”- alien_overlord_1001

ATMs are notoriously unreliable devices.

As they have a way of being out of order or out of money.

Something the OP’s ex-wife and stepchildren should have taken into account.

Had they treated the OP more like a husband or parent, there is every chance he would have gladly continued to pay for the children’s tuition and help his ex-wife more financially.

Then, too, had the OP’s ex-wife taken a closer look at that prenup, this whole situation might have been avoided.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.