Paying "keep" if you're a non resident child

(77 Posts)
theredhen Fri 14-Jun-13 17:22:54

What do people do once step children are out at work but only live with you part of the time?

We have two resident children who I want to pay some keep to us when they start work. However we also have non resident children, the eldest being 17 years old who still abides by the contact rota as she always has done with no sign of any change. I fully expect her to adhere to it if and when she starts a full time job. I also am sure that her mum will expect keep to be paid at hers. Not sure what she would do about her daughter who lives with us.

So, what to do? Should we charge her a pro rata rate? That seems the fairest option to me. I think not asking for keep will just send her the message that she's a "visitor" and not part of the family.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 14-Jun-13 20:52:06

At 17 isn't she, the elder children together possibly, old enough to sit down and have a family debate to work out what is fairest to all?

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 14-Jun-13 20:53:10

Would dsd1 tell you what her mum charges her/them, then go from there? Make it so overall they pay out the same amount?

So say her mum charges dsd1 £100, and dsd2 :£50, then you charge the other way around so that both girls effectively pay the same amount but with more going to the home they mainly live in, iyswim?

catsmother Fri 14-Jun-13 21:30:25

If you're of the mindset that you charge adult working kids keep then I think it'd be very unfair not to charge a "part time" child who, nonetheless, maintained their own room in your home, accessed all the facilities, and partook of all the usual meals/snacks/drinks while they were there.

I wouldn't necessarily charge each adult child the exact sum - but I would charge them each the same percentage of their take home pay - and then pro-rata that for the kids who weren't there full time. I'm not sure why this should be considered such a terrible thing - as others have said, "part time" kids are either part of the family or they're not, and if they are, then they should be included in all aspects of family life, including the less desirable, less interesting, less fun stuff - like starting to take responsibility for yourself at both places you see as home.

I don't think this is something for the parents to discuss and/or negotiate between them either - not when the "child" is now an adult. It's the adult child themselves who should be negotiating with each parent - and of course each respective parent may have different ideas about what they think's appropriate - it doesn't have to be the same in each household (e.g. some would want a percentage, some would want a set specific sum, some would want regular chores performed in lieu of keep and so on). Any decent parent - whether they're the "main" household or not shouldn't see anything wrong in principle with the pro-rata idea (assuming they want to charge keep at all) - so the adult child shouldn't lose out or have to pay double or anything. I'd think a "main" parent who insisted on a full week's keep despite their child spending 2-3 days and nights elsewhere every week would be very wrong.

Finally, I think it's important for all the adult children, however many days they live in a household, to feel that they're each making a fair and equal contribution to the running of that home. Given the potential disparity in income, that doesn't have to mean they all pay £75 a week for example, but if they all pay the same % of take home, pro-rataed if necessary, then there can't be any dispute. If "part time" kids aren't asked to contribute I can imagine that that'd cause a huge amount of resentment and ill feeling from "full time" kids - they might well take the view that if their step siblings are allowed, say, 3 days for "free" that they should also be granted the same privilege.

purpleroses Fri 14-Jun-13 21:44:40

I think it depends a bit on what you want her to do. Charging keep is one way often used of giving the DC a bit of a kick to go on and move out.

On the other hand, if you/DP would rather she stays at home and/or keeps coming to stay regularly then charging her to do so would seem counterproductive. The difference with charging keep in a two home scenario is that the DC is very likely to choose to spend less time in the home that doesn't charge them to be there. And may also read in it that they're not welcome at the home that charges them. If you've got a situation (like I think you have from previous posts) of two parents still battling out to "win" the DCs and make them live with them - then I can't see your DP wanting to go down the route of charging any of his DCs to live with him.

I also wonder a bit whether you might lose a bit of the authority you have as the adults of the house if they did pay keep. I find it hard enough as it is to feel I'm in authority over teenage DSC - think I'd find it even harder if they were feeling it was some kind of house share. Personally it's not a battle I think I'd choose to fight - at least until I thought DP and I were both wanting the DCs to leave home.

purpleroses Fri 14-Jun-13 21:45:29

Should read less time in the home that does charge them

babyhmummy01 Fri 14-Jun-13 22:54:08

I suppose you could broach the subject and the fairest thing would be a pro rata but as someone else says it might be worth trying and having a discussion with her mum too so that it is all fair iyswim. I read your post above but there has to be some way - mediation maybe?

NotaDisneyMum Fri 14-Jun-13 23:36:59

* I think not asking for keep will just send her the message that she's a "visitor" and not part of the family.*

I don't think this is a step-issue, but another manifestation of a frequently held debate on MN about when you stop 'l

NotaDisneyMum Fri 14-Jun-13 23:44:04

Oops!
When you stop living at home!

If your DSD was living anywhere other than at her Mums, (in a flat share or with a DP, for instance), how would you feel about her spending 3 nights a week with you, with free access to your cupboards, laundry facilities etc?

NatashaBee Fri 14-Jun-13 23:47:36

I'm truly stuck on this one... Really can't work out what's fair. Could you ask her to buy food and cook a meal on one or two of the nights she's visiting, rather than charging 'keep'?

Fraxinus Fri 14-Jun-13 23:58:02

Cats mother is talking a lot of sense. Has this 17 year old got a job yet? If so, well done her! If not, wait and see what kind of a pittance she brings in before deciding how much to charge her.

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 00:25:38

I'm not sure about the percentage of wages thing, that doesn't sit quite right with me. I'd be more inclined to look at what their expenses would be if they didn't have the option of living at home, and then try to significantly undercut that. If OP's daughter lived three days a week in rented accomodation, what would she expect to pay in the most basic room and board?

I'd also wonder how to take into account money from other sources - benefits, or student grants, or (as in my DSD's case) inheritance - whiel remaining 'fair' to the kids who only have earned wages?

If one kid in a household is working full-time or over-time, and another one is dragging his/her feet over working more than a few hours a week - why should they both pay the same percentage?

Sure, it can be very very tough to find work, and I'd personally be content with knowing my kids were looking for work (read a great article about living with young adults where he made the point that a young adult living at home who doesn't have a job, should be treating getting a job, as his job). And I'd be very sensitive to the idea that a young person who chooses a less lucrative but just as valuable career should not suffer for that. But there needs to coexist some other mechanism to ensure that a kid who just chooses not to work or look for work isn't then taking the piss by working a four-hour shift and handing over a tenner each week, while his or her sibling works harder, longer hours, and hands over a hundred pounds...

I don't mean to sound like a Daily Mail reader! On the contrary, I think that society and families should operate on more socialist principles - each according to his means, each according to his needs - but that has to go hand-in-hand with a sense of community which means that everyone is doing their best to contribute, and some natural consequences for choices made.

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 00:29:04

...Coming from the position of having three children in our household, who will each have very different resources and different attitudes towards work...to the point where I can't imagine how to attain anything like "fairness".

Justfornowitwilldo Sat 15-Jun-13 00:30:31

'We will charge DSD for 'keep' once university starts in the autumn (she is living at home for a year).'

You're going to charge a student keep????

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 00:39:41

Yes.

deleted203 Sat 15-Jun-13 00:43:15

Resident kids pay keep. Non residents who come to see Dad at weekend don't. I would only charge full timers rent grin.

Justfornowitwilldo Sat 15-Jun-13 00:52:07

Wow. Just, wow. You're charging a student keep. The government assesses the parental income of students because it expects parents to contribute to their support and you're charging one?

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 00:59:16

We've already contributed fantastically to an education fund for her. smile

In addition to a substantial private income she receives, intended for her care and education, she will get a full student maintenance grant. She also has been provided with, as I mentioned, a reasonably substantial education fund, paid into by myself and another family member.

As a result, her monthly ‘income’ for the years she is at university will actually be higher than mine and DH’s monthly incomes, and she wants to live at home (for one year only) rather than in halls of residence or rented accommodation. We rent, and plan to move to a smaller home when she is no longer living here; we can't afford to stay in this house and provide for her without a contribution, and she can well afford to make a contribution (still far less than for basic accommodation elsewhere, and for more amenities), without working at all.

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 01:00:40

I know, she is very lucky. DH and I had nothing like this kind of funding available to us as students. She'll be able to do all sorts of things many people never get the opportunity to do.

Fraxinus Sat 15-Jun-13 01:19:33

Different worlds. I work with teenagers. Low end of the market. Desperate to get a four hour shift.

So, op, which world do you live in?

Justfornowitwilldo Sat 15-Jun-13 01:25:57

So she receives the full maintenance grant because you're on a lower income but you've contributed to an education fund for her? Interesting. I would never charge a student keep full stop, but she's your DSD not mine.

Justfornowitwilldo Sat 15-Jun-13 01:31:14

For the OP, if she's in full time work and you plan to charge the others then I suppose you'll need to charge her, but that may well be met with a response that she'll stop visiting and you're charging her to see her dad, which essentially, you will be. I don't know how you can make it 'fair'. If she is only there eg every other weekend it would seem very harsh to insist on her paying but if she's there half the time your other DC might find it unfair that she doesn't pay.

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 01:37:41

So she receives the full maintenance grant because you're on a lower income but you've contributed to an education fund for her?

Yes, that's right, justfornow. What is your issue with that? Do you understand that people's circumstances change? Our family's have, considerably, but my DSCs are well-protected and provided for. I personally think that is a very good thing.

Sorry, OP, I don't want to hijack your thread. I also don't want to post any more specifics about my family finances, but if you have questions, just, feel free to message me.

Justfornowitwilldo Sat 15-Jun-13 02:08:09

Not at all, it's just fairly unusual for a student to have a trust fund and a full maintenance grant. I wasn't aware that they would remain eligible if they had independent income. It's something I'll look into setting up myself.

Petal02 Sat 15-Jun-13 09:03:10

But back to the original point of the thread, I still think that all young adults who are earning, should make a contribution towards the household costs, regardless of whether they live with a parent(s) on a full or part time basis.

Chandras Sat 15-Jun-13 09:17:18

I dont think it's charging for visiting the non resident parent, at the end of the day that is not an odd social visit but living in part time, and I do really think it is morally wrong not to ask income earning young adults to start contributing (Providing for them no matter what cripples them for a future independant life, I see plenty of young adults at work still expecting mummy and daddy to foot the bill no matter what).

I would expect that if they are adults and working they should pay, or at least show up with some food (for the whole family) and take on other household responsibilities regularly.

They are adults, not children anymore. They shouldn't descend on either house to be provided for as when they were dependent children.

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