Husband won't help my sister with school fees

53 posts
HelpPlease
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2016
Options:
Share this post on:

Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby HelpPlease » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:40 pm

Hi
I'm usually a lurker on NVN but need some advice as I really feel this could break up my marriage.

Myself and my elder sister are incredibly close as my mother died when we were quite young.

She's now through a nasty divorce but struggling with paying school fees, to the extent where she is planning to take them out. The one constant the children have had is their school whilst all the rubbish with their parents relationship has been going on and she is absolutely distraught at the thought of taking them out.

I'm happily married to a lovely man (I don't work) who has done really well in his career and we could easily afford to pay my sisters fees. However he came from a tough background and carries a bit of a chip on his shoulder about this (he's totally open about this) and feels that no one was around to help him so it's not up to him to help my sister. We've talked/argued/fought about this and his feelings are resolute and really stem from his view that my sisters "type" (he means not from a tough background) wouldn't have helped his family if they were struggling so why should he help her now.

This is having huge ramifications in my relationship with my sister and I really don't see how I am going to continue to love my husband if his (in)actions mean I lose my relationship with my sister.

Any advice gratefully received - I'm really at my wits end.
Post Reply
supergirl
Posts: 1241
Joined: May 2011
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby supergirl » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:09 pm

Wow thats a tough one but i am amazed that you would have that break your marriage. Surely you can deal pass through that especially since you said he is a lovely man?

I do (i really do actually) understand your point of view but at the same time i can see your husband point. Maybe it is to do with having a chip in his shoulder but maybe it is not.

Why is the father not carrying paying his share of school fees? You dont say. If they had remain together, would they have carriedon paying school fees or stop? I know enough divorce families who still put their children into private schools, to know that if it is a choice parents have made they dont just stop paying because they are separating.

It is important for the children to have stability when smthg wrong is happening. In your situation i may ask my husband to step up so the children can finish the school year. But anything else and i would not suggest it.
Sadly, there are some miments in life when being taught the hard way a valuable life lesson ie. Resilience is the best approach.

Try to help your sister to find the strength for her sake and of her children to find resilience, to accept the change that is coming, to find happiness again. I wouldnt waste my energy on fighting a lost battle.
By paying your sister school fees for her kids, you are not helping her in the long but she needsyou to help run a marathon not a sprint.

Good luck.
Post Reply
2009Kat
Posts: 327
Joined: Oct 2010
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby 2009Kat » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:29 pm

So sorry to hear your sister is having such a tough time and really lovely of you to want to help. However I think it is a tough call to ask your husband to pay - is this for their whole school career? Uni too? Where would it stop? I think private school fees, being a personal choice, is different to expecting help say when couldn't afford more basic things like rent, food or the occasional treat (e.g. Meals out, holidays).
If your sister can't afford fees has she looked into bursaries ?
Post Reply
IrenaP
Posts: 47
Joined: May 2016
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby IrenaP » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:08 am

Great advice On here already. And from experience: My wealthy uncle bailed out my cousin's business when it was/ they were going through hard times. It has caused a legacy of resentment on both sides.
Post Reply
sw18er
Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2013
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby sw18er » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:23 am

Private education for two kids at a decent day school all the way up to 18 can cost £500-600,000, or nearly £1m before tax. Even for the sorts of people who live round nappy valley that's an enormous commitment. If it were for some life saving medical treatment then I'd understand where you were coming from, but private school fees really isn't one of those things.

Also, don't underestimate the huge resentments that this may bring up further down the line once the divorce is ancient history, and say the kids are unruly teenagers skiving lessons, or seemingly squandering the opportunity your husband has given them. That could be terminal to your relationship with your sister

Sure it would be nice to help out with this year's fees so the kids aren't taken out of school mid term, especially if your sister is just waiting for her ex-husband to sort out maintenance payments. That's the sort of thing all families do for each other. But thereafter it's hardly a catastrophe if they end up going to state school thereafter. 96% of the UK population manage fine, and tens of thousands of families go through precisely the same experience of tighter family finances after after a divorce. Kids are pretty resilient about this sort of thing.

If you are determined this is the right path forward, can I suggest you try to put yourself in his shoes. Would there still be sufficient money left for him to make a similar gesture if, say, the same thing happened to his siblings a few years in the future. And would you mind if all the roles were reversed in the situation? It's probably just me being fairly selfish as a man, but it feels like a huge financial commitment to protect the kids from something which - in time - will not be disastrously awful.

Everyone has different approaches to money, and none of them is necessarily the right one. Personally I wouldn't sign my kids up to a private school without knowing I had a few years fees inreserve to protect the from precisely the disruption of divorce or job loss. I slightly sympathise with your husband feeling that those (especially who've not had a rough start in life) have to live with the consequences if they choose to live a bit more on knife edge. Again we clearly not talking about a family living on the breadline here

When I was growing up my parents paid for private school fees but money got very tight in later years. My uncle was loaded and could easily have helped, but not for one moment do I think it would have been appropriate for him to pay - intact it would have made for a very awkward relationship with him thereafter. In reality, being told I had to win a scholarship and that we wouldn't be able to take any holidays for a few years was a very useful lesson that life is rarely easy but dealing with those challenges is what living is all about
Post Reply
kjn
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2012
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby kjn » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:28 am

Is your sister asking? If she is, I think that's being unreasonable and if she's not, then it shouldn't affect your relationship with her as she may not know what's happening behind the scenes.
How many children does she have? Private school costs a lot of money, you have to earn almost double, take the doubled figure and how would she feel if she was asking you to gift her £30/60/90K per year for the rest of her children's school years? He would have to be a multi millionaire to pay for your own and your sister's kids fees plus all the usual costs of living without it making a dent.
If your husband has done well, he may be thinking of retiring early, school fees are what weighs down and stresses people the most. Asking him to take on additional children's fees is unfair regardless of the situation.
Does your husband have siblings? Does he pay their kid's fees?
Why don't you suggest a loan to help your sister get to the end of the year that she pays back in instalments, that way everyone could be happy? Also be wary that your help might cause problems in the divorce - if the fees are being paid elsewhere, her soon to be ex may not have to pay as much and then she's actually worse off.
I hope you sort out a solution but I would put some effort into reminding your husband how wonderful he is working hard and providing so well for the family, you may find the situation has stressed him a lot more than you think. If he's in finance, it's been an awful yet and stress levels and worries are high - not a good time to take on additional burdens.
Post Reply
Scottov
Posts: 251
Joined: Dec 2012
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby Scottov » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:34 am

Not sure why your husband should be expected to pay the school fees for another man's children?

Private schooling is a luxury not a necessity

High probability of resentment from him towards you if you push it, and higher chance of resentment from both of you towards your sister when she inevitably doesn't show suitable appreciation over time for your generosity

I'd not be impressed if I were in your husbands shoes
Post Reply
Kittens77
Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2012
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby Kittens77 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:48 am

Hang on a minute... this is entirely unfair. Your husband absolutely should not be expected to pay... and I'm shocked your sister would expect it or even ask this. How can your sister allow this problem of hers (which it is) come between you and your husband and how can she (and you) allow this to come between the two of you?! This is HER husbands fault and should not involve your husband st all... even if he was the richest man in the world it's his choice where his money goes. Her kids will absolutely be fine if they have to change schools... yours will not if you and your husbands marriage falls apart. I don't mean to sound really harsh here (and I'm sorry if I do) but she's coming across as a spoilt little girl. I'm sorry her marriage fell apart but she needs to dust herself down and be a strong and positive role model for her kids. You should stand by your lovely husband and support his decision.... I really hope you manage to all come out the other side of this unharmed xx
Post Reply
bjmama
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2012
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby bjmama » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:53 am

I just wanted to post as I have a different experience. My uncle paid our private school fees (for me as a teenager) and I am eternally grateful. I don't know any of the specifics behind how it came to be, but I do know that there's an enormous cultural difference between private and state schools and it's completely understandable that your sister would hope dearly that she can keep her children in the schools where they are happy and settled, and also try to keep their life "trajectory" less altered by such an already upsetting situation.

People have already raised good questions about why the children's father couldn't help sustain the fees but I guess you've already considered that.

I don't have a solution but I understand your feelings about it and I hope you can find a way for your husband to see your sister differently. Perhaps there needs to be a more formal agreement made and the fees become a loan of sorts. Try to think of his main arguments against helping and see how you can reframe the situation to make it more palatable for everyone.

On a final note I hope your sister understands just how much this is affecting you and that your relationship remains strong whatever happens. She shouldn't be pushing so hard that you end up divorced too. Surely then you resent her and end up in the worst situation!

Good luck!
Post Reply
Beachbum
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2015
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby Beachbum » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:01 am

Is your sisters situation temporary? Will things smooth out for her once the divorce is settled? If that is the case you may be able to speak to the school. I am sure they would rather have the fees further down the road than trying to fill the spaces.

Also, and please don't take this the wrong way- I don't work either- have you thought about going back to work yourself and paying the fees from that? I can understand your husbands point of view, but if it was my sister I would want to help. That might solve all the problems as it isn't him who is helping. Obviously, there could be many reasons that it isn't possible but I think you don't want this to affect your marriage, it sounds like overall you are very happily married.

Best of luck
Post Reply
chorister
Posts: 152
Joined: Oct 2016
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby chorister » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:13 am

I am (a man) in a slightly analogous similar situation. I have an aunt in NYC and pay her care manager's fees (about US$70,000pa). Neither of her other nephews can afford to contribute. I am happy to do it, but know that the one thing that would make me resent it would be the slightest pressure or sense of expectation from the other two nephews.

Hope that helps a bit.
Post Reply
grumpydad
Posts: 21
Joined: May 2010
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby grumpydad » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:14 am

Please do not let this destroy your marriage by arguing over it.
His resentment of the “type” of person that your sister is, appears to be fraught with double standards, after all, he married someone who was a different “type” to him, did he not?
If the money is not an issue, he will actually be a bigger man by quietly ensuring that the children retain stability, without rubbing anyone’s face in it. You would no doubt make it clear to your sister, that but for the kindness and generosity of your husband, her children would not be at their school. From time to time, we end up questioning our deep-rooted principles, especially when we make sacrifices to help others who we feel should be helping themselves.
You also have to back up your position in the same way that I think he is sticking to his. Talk to the school about a repayment plan and find yourself a job to help with the fees. There are very few, lucky men these days who can afford to keep a wife comfortable at home. His pride may well be stung when you then explain that you intend to go out to work to help your sister's children. You may find that he changes his mind.
Finally, as I began, this disagreement needs to simmer down. Is it really worth another divorce?
And good luck.
Post Reply
Galks607
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2012
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby Galks607 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:47 am

Although very kind of you to want to help, it's not your husbands duty to do so, and it's not reasonable to get cross with him if he declines. School fees are very expensive and hardly a necessity - there are a plethora of good state schools. It's a slippery slope - if he starts paying for the fees today, is it going to be their mortgage tomorrow?
Post Reply
TFP
Posts: 53
Joined: Jan 2013
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby TFP » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:32 am

[I'll assume that we're not talking about kids who are a 17 yr old and a 16 yr old who just need tiding over for another couple of years in order to get through exams, i.e. that we're talking about younger kids & as such a very large six figure financial commitment]

The only circumstances under which, IMO, there should be even a whiff of an expectation that husband should pay would be where all of the following three criteria are satisfied:

(1) OP's sister hails from circles where state schooling would be unthinkable, I'm talking all of her family going a couple of generations back, all of her friends, etc, have all gone private;

(2) OP's husband is really seriously rich [e.g. with a net worth perhaps nudging closer to eight figures than seven, or else getting that way], to an extent that he could retire/be laid off/whatever tomorrow and still live precisely the lifestyle he wants to lead; and

(3) there's no one else with a more obvious obligation [i.e. the kids' father, the grandparents] who could possibly help.
Post Reply
Sircharlie_newmum
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2012
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Husband won't help my sister with school fees

Postby Sircharlie_newmum » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:38 am

I have been in a similar position. I went to meet the bursar of the school and we came to an arrangement for the children. I did not spend any of my own money but the mother spread the payments over a longer period of time which eased the burden.
If the children had been older and if the discussion with the bursar had happened sooner she would have been able to access charities who would have helped. However she stuck her head in the sand so the burden fell on her only.

Accompany your sister to see the bursar. There are things they can do.

Also I question why the ex is not paying the school fees. Surely this would be part of the settlement and part of the condition of his access to the children?

I do know of someone who successfully sued her father for her school fees once upon a time. She did it rather than her mother but at the time was on all sorts of bursaries to get her through. There are plenty of school kids in similar situations at private schools.

Your husband should not be expected to pay but if the kids need to leave then it would be a nice gesture if he would pay until the end of the school year to enable your sister to find a suitable alternative arrangement. However if you speak to the school together perhaps this can be avoided?

You don't say how old the kids are but if they are not yet at secondary school has she considered moving to live within the catchment area of a grammar school in Kent or bucks which might have a similar feel to their old private schools? Just a thought.
Post Reply