My husband had a daughter before we were married. She’s never really been a part of our lives. When her mother married, she and her husband decided to raise his daughter and nothing was ever discussed. Fast forward eight years, and now they are no longer together. I heard that her husband started gambling and lost his job, but I don’t really know all their business. She recently called my husband and said he needs to start paying child support. I’m not mad, but I don’t want my husband to be taken advantage of. How can I best handle this situation?
LaTicia, Baltimore, Md.
Put on your flip-flops, Bahama Mama and let’s take a walk down this beach together. As a mother, I’m sure you can understand her plight. Her position is different than yours, you being the wife and all, but a mother’s love is a mother’s love no matter the circumstances.
Your husband was able to turn a blind eye all these years, which wasn’t right – so don’t you go mishandling his underhanded oversight. She didn’t come to your husband for child support initially for whatever reasons because clearly both her needs and the needs of her daughter were being met. I commend her for that, because she had every right to be in your husband’s pocket all along. The fact that her husband is now unable to provide for the family as he was previously doesn’t remove your husband from his obligation and commitments to his daughter.
You and your husband should come up with an amount that works based on your finances, one that you can commit to and deliver every month. Be fair, don’t be shady and continue those payments even if she and her husband reconcile. You should also commit to spending time with his daughter, all of you as a family. It goes without saying, she should be welcomed into your home with loving arms.
Life has taught me and I’m a firm believer, you get what you give, give her more than what’s expected. By all means, refrain from wretchedness. Be the best wife and stepmother you can muster. This situation will follow your lead. Remember, it won’t be easy for baby girl, either. She’ll need a minute to warm up and adjust to you and your family. Provide and nurture her, as if she were your own biological daughter. Then stand back and watch her bloom into all that she can possibly be.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.