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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 07-19-2014, 10:31 AM
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Default Talking to kids/young adults about divorce

My partner has found himself in an escalating situation with his 19 yo. Im wondering if anyone here has been through this, successes, and how you handled it.

His D19 is going to university in the fall and over the last six months has begun to realize how expensive it is. And how much of a responsibility she has in it. This has created friction because of how she sees how the divorce shook down. Which is "you took all moms money so you should give it back to pay for my schooling". And also "my life is crappy because I have to work all the time and its all your fault".

He explained to me that his ex didnt see equalization as fair. They didnt make it through one mediation because she felt he wasnt entitled to anything. Shes never agreed with the equalization including being told by a judge in court shes wrong. So the one child shares this (her comments mirror emails and phone convos he has with ex). The ex thinks because she had the higher paying full time job he contributed nothing. Ignore the salary he contributed, home renovations, yard work, cleaning, taking care of kids when he was not on a contract...

He has approached this many ways: its none of childs business, its the law, its between mom and dad, ignoring the comments, trying to explain to her that he invested a large chunk of the settlement to pay for education, etc. Nothing he says is getting through to her. Its caused alienation and a very strong sense of anger between the two. he loves her so much and he struggles with how to rebuild the relationship.

How does a parent talk to their kids about this? Does he recommend learning about the law? Is it a lost cause? Is this just a case of alienation that he has to muddle through? Maybe once shes away from home she'll be a bit more reasonable? Possibly its just that know it all teen attitude? They spent an hour fighting last night while he tried to discuss the issue maturely. She screamed at him while he tried to get a word in in between. Its so sad to see this break down between them. He says he doesnt recognize her anymore.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:42 AM
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Personally I've been through a similar situation with my son. It's unwise to be discussing a couples financials with children (even adult children). Simply put there is not enough $$$ to pay for your continued education.

She is after all 19 (adult) able to work a summer/part time job. Also there are student loans she can look into.

My son complained about how the divorce was ruining his life - bottom line he had to put on his big boy pants and pay for his own college. Low and behold he got his diploma, a decent job and NO his life was not ruined lol. He's actually very proud of himself for doing it on his own.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:47 AM
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I would say the issue he should be dealing with is the lack of respect.

She needs to understand two things:

1- the divorce is between the parents and should stay that way

2- *IF* she.wants to discuss anything with him, and expects him to discuss with her as an adult, she needs to act like one.

The second she starts the whiney, demanding, foot stomping Pre-teen behaviour and screaming at him, the conversation ends until she is capable of having a mature conversation without all the nonsense. Continuing to try to talk with her while this is happening is not only futile, but gives audience to her behaviour and encourages it to continue.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:39 AM
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Ya its that kind of a thing, putting on the big kid pants and realizing that life is tough. My partner is paying his proportionate share. Hes not a deadbeat. But because she has to work and applied for osap ("you have no idea how embarrassing that was for me") hes the devil. Compared to jobs ive heard other kids do, working 11-5 in a deli 4-5 days a week isnt the worst job you can do.

He tells her all the time that what happened between he and her mom is none of her business. And if she chooses to believe what she has been told by her mother thats her choice but its simply not the truth. He finally told her that if she wants to blame him for everything fine, but she needs to get on with her life and stop being so angry because its only going to affect her future relationships. I suggested he try a new tactic with her which is changing the subject. When she makes comments about what he spends his money on or how he lives his life or how he took from them, change the subject and walk away. Now though, because of the different cities she just ignores emails and calls.

He said hes going to give her space. Hes done trying to discuss anything. If this is how she wants to behave thats her choice but hes not going to enable or entertain it.

My favourite new line is "im going to go to law school and become a lawyer and fix family law so this doesnt happen to other families." Um, maybe go sit in a family courtroom and see how bad some families have it. Especially the families where mom/dad pays nothing for anything including school.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:21 PM
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She is 19 (an adult) for god sakes - I would answer her directly with details.

I would say:
1. You're right you got screwed by the divorce - I am sorry - that's what happens. If the divorce was my fault I would say sorry I shouldn't have done X or I'd say its your mom's fault we got divorced.

2. I would explain how the settlement was done and the logic behind it.

3. I would explain to her my financial situation

4. Discuss possibilities.

LEGALLY, Divorce is NO-FAULT - but in REAL-LIFE Divorce is FAULT-BASED an the kids pay so either man up and apologize or tell them the reasons.

My parents paid for almost all my education - I hoped to do the same for my kids but due the divorce I am just going to pay my prop share (probably 95% because my ex-wife is useless) and if my kids complain I will tell them that if their mother wasn't so useless I wouldn't have pay 10s of thousands in child support and could have paid for the education.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:54 PM
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Links, hes tried talking to her about things in a neutral "we both made mistakes" way but she is so entrenched in her moms camp. She believes the divorce was all his fault and hes not ready to tell her the ugliness and firmly believes its not her business. He has also tried explaining finances etc but it still goes back to "if you hadnt taken moms money we wouldnt be in this situation". Personally id be saying "if your mom hadnt kept a house she couldnt afford we wouldnt be having this discussion" but thats just me.

She also doesnt get that most kids have to work to pay for school. Its easier to blame him than take responsibility.

Hes tried to explain equalization and family law to her but shes still of the opinion that the law is wrong. And hes apologized repeatedly for his role in the impact the divorce has had. I dont believe he should apologize for her having a job or applying for osap. If they were still married osap wouldnt be an option and she would have to work.

I suppose its just a case of letting her figure it out. At some point kids grow up and get over themselves. Sadly hes been alienated by the environment shes been in for four years.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
Links, hes tried talking to her about things in a neutral "we both made mistakes" way but she is so entrenched in her moms camp. She believes the divorce was all his fault and hes not ready to tell her the ugliness and firmly believes its not her business. He has also tried explaining finances etc but it still goes back to "if you hadnt taken moms money we wouldnt be in this situation". Personally id be saying "if your mom hadnt kept a house she couldnt afford we wouldnt be having this discussion" but thats just me.
So he doesn't want to get into the "ugliness" then that's what happens. You can't win an argument if you aren't willing to discuss it

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Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
She also doesnt get that most kids have to work to pay for school. Its easier to blame him than take responsibility.
Right but if her parents were still together she'd have less of a responsibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
Hes tried to explain equalization and family law to her but shes still of the opinion that the law is wrong.
She could be right, the law IS wrong sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
And hes apologized repeatedly for his role in the impact the divorce has had. I dont believe he should apologize for her having a job or applying for osap. If they were still married osap wouldnt be an option and she would have to work.
Having some empathy for your child you dragged through divorce isn't bad.


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I suppose its just a case of letting her figure it out. At some point kids grow up and get over themselves. Sadly hes been alienated by the environment shes been in for four years.
Actually, they don't - most people at 35 remember the divorce of their parents as one of the most tragic things in their lives.


Recognizing the harm and saying I am sorry and doing what you can to make up for it is better rather than hiding behind "it's the law" and "I don't want to get into details" - both points are the refuge of the wrong.
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:24 PM
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Hey be sure to let us know how it goes when tell your kids their mother is a money grubbing whore. Im sure that convo will go EXACTLY as you hope.

I was 25 when I finally understood my mothers role in her marriage breakdown. And I was as brainwashed as his kid is.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Links17 View Post

Recognizing the harm and saying I am sorry and doing what you can to make up for it is better rather than hiding behind "it's the law" and "I don't want to get into details" - both points are the refuge of the wrong.
Yep, I'm so sorry about the divorce and all the financial difficulties associated with it .... guilt and more guilt - I'm sure daughters/sons of divorced couples would never dream of taking advantage of this guilt in any way?

Should parents with low incomes have to apologize to their adult children when money is too tight to pay for their higher education? Or should adult children make their own way in life regardless?

For one who complains on this forum about ''entitlement'' can't you see where this kind of thinking will lead? Parents do not owe their children free university - if they can afford to pay for it that's great - otherwise, that's just too bad (divorce or not).

I also don't believe that parents need to explain their financial situation to their offspring. It's one thing to educate them concerning money and family law - but private matters are none of their concern...
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:00 PM
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And the other thing is, she only has to pay one third of the costs. Shes pissed about that. Hes apologized repeatedly for the divorce and the situation it left them in, not enough. Its been made clear that they dont believe he deserved anything. Her attitude is that she shouldnt have to pay for ANYTHING.

He doesnt believe its her business to know what happened between he and her mother or what happened through the divorce other than he is there for them, he supports them, and he will continue to provide for them. It just becomes a continuous blame game for everything that goes "wrong" in their life.
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