Should spouse pay rent?
Should spouse pay rent?
My spouse, Jessie, says I should pay rent while I say that a marriage does not include one spouse paying rent to the other. While the idea of paying rent to my spouse does not seem right to me, I am open to whatever the right thing to do is; hence Im posting to this forum in hopes of getting feedback as to what other couples in similar marriages are doing. Here are the relevant details (I apologize for the length; I am not good at being succinct):
WeÂve been married four years, and we each have two children from previous marriages; JessieÂs two live with us full time (the oldest is currently living at University) and my two were already out of the house by the time we got married, so they never lived with us.
We had what I thought to be a reasonable arrangement to cover expenses:
Â Jessie owns a house which was ~75% paid off when we married; if something happened to Jessie, the plan was to sell the house and give the proceeds to JessieÂs children, with the caveat that after ~five years I would "probably" begin to get partial interest in the house. I took this to mean that we would eventually end up pooling all of our assets and resources.
Â Because Jessie was already paying the household bills, I have been direct depositing money to JessieÂs bank account every payday so that I am paying my (more than) fair share;
Â In addition, IÂve paid for all of our vacations, including costs for JessieÂs children (airfare, hotels, food, activities, etc.); IÂve paid for all of our entertainment, e.g., dining out, movies, Disneyland, musicals, etc.;
Â IÂve also paid many incidentals for JessieÂs children, some of which include multiple University / College application fees, school supplies, personal hygiene purchases, etc, etc.
Â In essence, IÂve paid for everything just as if JessieÂs children were my children.
When all is said and done, the amount of money I have given to Jessie, after accounting for common expenses, is equal to ~10% of the house value. It is important to note that this is over and above the amount I have already paid for common expenses.
This extra 10% that has been at JessieÂs disposal has provided for many things that Jessie would not have been able to do alone:
Â Pay extra towards the mortgage such that it is now practically paid for (~94% paid off);
Â Remodeling of the house;
Â Re-landscaping the yard;
Â Vacations including two cruises, two trips to Mexico and two trips to Hawaii, among other things;
In essence, I have subsidized our household such that we could afford all of these things, thereby providing a certain "quality of life" that would otherwise not have been possible.
While discussing how we should setup our trusts, I suggested that if something happened to Jessie that the house would be sold and I should receive ~10% of the proceeds, while JessieÂs children should receive the remaining ~90%. If something happens after 10 years, my share would be ~25%, based on my continued excessive contribution to our familiesÂ finances. As time marches on (after 20 to 25 years) we would finally end up with pooled resources and assets, so if something happened to Jessie after this time, I would receive 50% and JessieÂs children would receive 50%.
Now Jessie says I get no interest in the house; it is for JessieÂs children only. Not only that, we need to keep all of our assets separate; and, in addition to paying my half of common expenses, I need to pay rentÂ and the amount I am to pay is more than double the amount already being charged to someone who Jessie recently rented a room to.
"Okay fine", I think to myself. Then I say, "I want to be fair to both of us, so I think that since you do not want to pool resources and assets that I have been contributing waaaay too much money and the current situation is very unfair to me."
To me, I am JessieÂs spouse who provides much more in intangibles as a spouse and as a parent than I already do in extra money. Some of the intangibles (I am more involved with JessieÂs child (Casey) than Jessie is in many important ways):
Â Since Casey has early morning school, I take Casey to school so Jessie can sleep a bit more before going into work (even though it is much more out of the way for me than for Jessie);
Â I take Casey to and from school and other activities, e.g., scouting events, church events, friendsÂ houses, etc. Jessie rarely is willing to do this;
Â I spend quality (and quantity!) time with Casey, allowing for spontaneous conversations about pretty much everything; Jessie does not spend quality time, and Jessie does not like to discuss things;
Â I coordinate and attend individual school academic counselor appointments to ensure Casey is taking the right classes and is not getting overloaded (Casey is an excellent student already);
Â In essence, I parent Casey just as if Casey were my own, which does also include guidance and discipline.
Â BTW, I enjoy very much this aspect of being in a family, i.e., the parenting role is very rewarding :-)
Here is the crux of the problem: While we are coming to terms with how to reconcile the extra money IÂve given to Jessie, we are still very much disconnected in regards to my paying rent. To me, I am not a roommate who pays rent; I am a spouse and a parent in a family unit. To Jessie, since I donÂt want to continue paying extra money, I should pay rent in order to help with the mortgage payments; to me, this is ridiculous: if Jessie wants to keep all finances separate, then Jessie needÂs to pay for JessieÂs own stuff; I already add a lot of intangible benefits to the family, only a short list of which is pointed out above. Plus, with my paying half of all the expenses, JessieÂs expenses are actually less than if we were not marriedÂ BTW, note that we each make reasonable money, but with significant monthly college expenses for the oldest child, Jessie is starting to feel a bit pinched.
After all of that, I again pose the question: should I pay rent to my spouse?
Thanks very much for any insight (and sorry for the long winded post)!