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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My French partner's son spent alternate weeks with his mum and with us until two years ago when he finally moved into a place of his own. He still occasionally joins us on holiday, sometimes inviting himself, which my partner doesn't mind. He's 27 years old and single. His 18 year old daughter still spends alternate weeks with us and always joins us on holiday wherever we go. My gripe is that we never seem to get more than a couple of days away together very occasionally. Is this a French way of life or is it me being unreasonable? In my experience in England, teenagers wouldn't want to be seen on holiday with their parents, preferring to do their own thing from about 16 years of age. I've tried reasoning with my partner, but have to tread carefully because I don't want to make things awkward for him, but I'm beginning to think that they'll always be tied to the "apron strings"! Does anyone else have similar experiences? I don't have any children myself. I get on with his kids generally, but they still seem a bit aloof even though I've lived here almost 4 years now.
 

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Sounds only too familiar to me. When we were first together, I tried treating his kids like I thought I would have wanted to be treated by a "new" adult in the picture - i.e. as adults. Wrong big time! The other big shocker was that "child support" payments are supposed to continue here until the "child" is "established in their chosen career" - not just until they get through whatever school or training they choose. DH had to push his daughter a bit to actually look for work when she finished her post-secondary schooling - basically told her he'd send her her check when she sent him a brief report of her job hunting efforts for the month. There's lots more to the story, but you see where it's going.

It's tough to work out boundaries with your partner. French family members don't seem all that inclined to "talk these things out." And having a foreigner in the equation just makes it that much worse.

Unfortunately, I don't have any handy dandy advice to give you. I made a real hash of things for a while (though I suspect one way or another it was going to be ugly and I just took responsibility for pushing it over the edge - which I don't actually regret), but you have to judge for yourself how willing you are to poke the bear and deal with the consequences. Just don't feel like the Lone Ranger here. I know of a few other expats in similar situations. The price we pay for being with someone from a "foreign" culture with kids, I guess.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply Bev, it's good to know that it's not just me! His daughter will be starting university in September, but has already make it quite clear that she "does NOT want to work" during the two-year course. Her dad has told her she will have to get some kind of weekend or holiday work to help out with the cost, but then he's been saying that for a couple of years now and she's still floating round the pool all summer! I don't know how she's going to manage at university when she doesn't have everyone running around after her. I'm hoping that she'll surprise us, but I think she'll be living on pasta and rice for two years.
 

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It's very different in France. Whilst your partner's daughter is studying (at least up until a certain age and definitely in the circumstances you describe), her parents are jointly responsible. But French families can often be very different and very often consider it par for the course for children to remain 'close' well into adulthood and even beyond. Not all kids want to, but it's far from uncommon and French parents, even when they complain and try to set boundaries re self-sufficiency, very often see it as a sort of feather in their cap.

Edit: Oh, and at some time in the future your partner's children will have at least some legal responsibility for him. Swings and roundabouts I guess.
 

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On the other hand, when you're old and on the wane, you can always count on the youngsters to take you in under their wings.

Works both ways ;)
 

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On the other hand, when you're old and on the wane, you can always count on the youngsters to take you in under their wings.

Works both ways ;)
As long as you're married to the biological parent. When the biological parent dies, any and all obligation to the "interloper" ceases. (And don't forget that if the offspring are broke, the biological parent also has a legal obligation to provide for the kids.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bev, does the legal obligation never end? IE when the kids are adults, does the biological parent still have a legal obligation to provide for them if they're broke?
 

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Bev, does the legal obligation never end? IE when the kids are adults, does the biological parent still have a legal obligation to provide for them if they're broke?
As Poloss has already demonstrated, oh yes indeed. Though it cuts both ways. A friend of my husband's got tapped to contribute to the support of her (long estranged) grandmother, who had fallen on hard times. Ultimately, she was going through a rough patch herself and was excused from having to contribute, but had to go to court to request the exemption. (And it no doubt helped that her father, who was a rather wealthy individual, was the next in line anyhow to pick up the bill for Grandma.)

The courts aren't heartless. You only have to contribute to the kids' or elders' upkeep to the extent of your own means. But for those of us without kids of our own, the obligation for the kids to provide for step parents only lasts while the biological parent is still alive. (And the step parent has no obligation for the kids once the biological parent is gone.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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