Fury as Dad Expects Stepchild to Split Dead Father's Money With His Kid

A father wanting to split his stepdaughter's inheritance with his own children is being blasted by Reddit users.

In the post, user u/AITACollegeFundMom explained that her first husband passed away when her daughter was 7 years old.

Describing it as an "avoidable accident," she received a substantial settlement. The poster put the money into a "trust fund of sorts" for her daughter, to pay for her education.

Mother comforting young daughter with a hug
A stock photo of a mother comforting her young daughter with a hug. The poster's husband was killed in an "avoidable accident" when her daughter was 7 years old. Prostock-Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"It is money that - managed wisely - would enable her to have a head start in life," the mom wrote.

"She knows about this and has never taken for granted given where the money came from. After all, we'd both rather have her father around than the money."

The poster remarried six years ago. Her current husband has two children of his own, a 17-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son. Her own daughter is now also 17, and will be graduating at the same time as her stepsister.

"My daughter was admitted [early decision] to her dream school last year and is ecstatic about it," the mom wrote.

"Her father is an alumnus and she has this old sweatshirt of his that she kept to remind her of him. She cried so much when she got in and both her step father and I were proud of her."

Her stepdaughter will also be attending a "wonderful school." However, she will have to take out student loans to cover the costs, while the poster's daughter will not.

"Her parents cannot afford to pay the tuition in its entirety," the poster explained.

"All told, she will graduate with about $40K in loans which I think is still quite modest for the school she's attending and her earning prospects post graduation."

Middle-aged woman ignoring her yelling husband
A stock photo of a middle-aged woman ignoring her husband, who is yelling and pointing his finger at her. The poster refuses to split her daughter's inheritance with her stepchildren, causing a rift with her new husband. Kateryna Onyshchuk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

However, her husband "suddenly has a problem" with her daughter graduating "debt free," and wants to split her inheritance with his son and daughter.

"My daughter won't have much left over and will definitely need to borrow for grad school - which she has expressed interest in attending - but, according to my husband, that's ok because everyone will start off on an equal footing post college," the woman wrote.

"I think this is unfair to my daughter because 1) her father had to die for this money and 2) this is like her inheritance from him.

"My husband thinks that they are all siblings and she should be happy to share the money with them if it means giving her siblings a head start in life," the poster explained.

"I absolutely do not want to put her in the position of being guilted into saying yes if she doesn't want to."

The poster said no, but her husband called her "selfish."

Reddit users unanimously backed the mom, with the post receiving almost 7,000 upvotes and more than 2,000 comments.

How to Manage Parenting Conflicts in a Blended Family

According to Jack Hazan, a psychotherapist and co-founder of the Modern Therapy Group in New York City, it's common for conflict to arise in blended families.

"It's a constant balancing act," Hazan told Newsweek.

"Parents (whether biological or step), are expected to give time, love, and often money to their children, but you have to be honest with yourself and with your partner in terms of what is considered fair and unfair."

Middle-aged couple ignoring each other on sofa
A stock photo of a middle-aged couple sitting at opposite ends of the sofa, giving each other the silent treatment. Psychotherapist Jack Hazan said it's common for conflict to arise in blended families. KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When it comes to parenting, Hazan said the sooner partners discuss their beliefs on child-rearing, the better, as it will help to prevent arguments further down the line.

"Nothing is worse than having values and expectations be misaligned for your children," he said.

"Asking questions like, 'Was this expectation realistic or not?' or 'Did this person know I had this expectation?' are examples."

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the parent has the final say.

"Regardless of what a decision is in terms of opportunities, have respect for the one deciding for their child," Hazan said.

"You can't and shouldn't force someone to change their answer for your benefit."

'Not Enough Compensation in the World'

In an update, AITACollegeFundMom explained that her husband and his ex "got their finances together later in life." This is why they can't afford to pay for the full cost of their daughter's college.

User bmoreskyandsea urged the poster to "nip it in the bud," writing: "$40k is not that bad and if she doesn't want debt she can go elsewhere.

"That's not necessarily for you to bring up, but her father should."

Upset teenage girl leaning against school wall
A stock photo of an upset teenage girl leaning against a school wall with her head in her hands. The poster is concerned that her daughter will feel "guilted" into handing over her inheritance. Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

StAlvis agreed, commenting: "That settlement was for your deceased husband's children, not your future children, and certainly not someone else's."

Personal-Yam-819 wrote: "OPs [The original poster's] daughter is still without her dad and will be forever without her dad. There is not enough compensation in the world for that.

"Don't diminish his importance by giving his legacy away. It's hers and only hers..."

Standard_Bottle9820 wrote: "If he wants his kids to have as much as OP's daughter has, he can get another job to pay for it.

"Grown ups have to work for what they get. They can't just take money from other people."

Waltersmama commented: "This entitled man is arguing with his wife over stealing money from her daughter. He is ridiculous."

ErikLovemonger posted: "I would honestly be questioning who I really married and whether I really know this person."

Newsweek reached out to u/AITACollegeFundMom for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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Correction 02/21/23 04.26 a.m. E.T.: This article originally listed Jack Hazan as founder of Bryant Park Therapy Group, rather than co-founder of the Modern Therapy Group.