New Mom Mystified Her High-Earning Husband Is Still Making Her Split Rent During Unpaid Maternity Leave — 'Is This Fair?'

​Many thought it sounded not only unfair, but like dangerous financial abuse.

worried woman Rido / Canva Pro

Finances can be a touchy matter in marriage. What couple hasn't argued about money at one time or another?  

But finances can also become a means of control, manipulation, and even abuse in some cases — the situation a woman on Reddit has found herself in has struck many online as one of them.

The new mom's high-earning husband is making her split the rent while she's on unpaid maternity leave.

Whether to keep finances separate or merge them in marriage is an often controversial topic, but many financial experts, especially female ones, recommend retaining some kind of financial autonomy in marriage, especially for women. 


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Experts recommend the "yours, mine and ours" approach to money in marriage for many reasons, chief among them that it prevents either partner, but especially women, from ending up with no resources should something occur in the marriage that necessitates her leaving her husband. But financial experts also say it's just a fairer way to manage things.


In a Reddit post, a new mom said that she and her husband chose to go this route — their money is separate, and they split the rent and utilities on their home evenly. But since their baby was born four months ago, she's become uncomfortable with their arrangement, and it's beginning to feel unfair in ways that have people seeing red flags.

Despite making four times as much as her, her husband is still making her pay for rent and baby supplies and it's draining her savings.

"My husband earns 4x more than me (I earn 68k and he earns 280k)," the new mom wrote.

Their $2,600 rent has been split their entire relationship, including after their marriage. But now that their baby has arrived, it's become untenable, because her maternity leave is completely unpaid.

"With me having 0 income … I’m relying on my personal savings," she wrote.




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They're also house-hunting, and her husband expects her to contribute her share of the deposit, which comprises 75% of her savings. She feels this is all very unfair especially given that he's let nearly all of the financial burden of the baby fall on her too. 

"Since there is no joint account and he doesn’t give me any allowance for baby stuff," she wrote, "I ended up buying most of [it]."


On a $68,000 salary, that can't be easy. 

People felt their wildly inequitable arrangement was not only unfair but rose to the level of financial abuse.

The arrangement they have is obviously unfair on its face. But even experts, like financial guru Suze Orman, say that an even 50/50 split on costs is inappropriate when partners have significantly different incomes and that a percentage-based scheme should be used instead.

But for most people online, that was the least of their concerns with this new mom's situation.


"This is financial abuse," one Redditor wrote. "Start charging him for childcare and cleaning services. Even when you return to the workforce you should not be paying half."

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Writer and activist Mikki Kendall took things one step further. In a tweet, she wrote that the new mom's situation "makes more sense when you understand that some abusers wait until they perceive their victims to be trapped (often by pregnancy and in this case maternity leave) to escalate." 

She theorized that the new mom's husband's demands were retaliation for her having "savings he can't touch." These are, unfortunately, all common dynamics among abusers when it comes to money. 


Marriage coach Nicola Beer told us financial abuse often takes one or more of four different forms:

  1. Controlling access to funds,
  2. Constant monitoring of spending,
  3. Making large financial decisions without agreeing on the terms, and
  4. Placing unrealistic limits or allowances on spending. 

You could argue for all four of those in this woman's case, and like all too many women, the new mom shared in replies to her fellow Redditors that she had no idea situations like hers constituted a form of abuse. 

They urged her to have a direct discussion with her husband about these issues, and if he refused to relent, she should prepare to leave. Thankfully, she still has money in savings to do so.

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse or any other type of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for free, confidential assistance at 1.800.799.SAFE or text START to 88788. You can also contact them via online chat here.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.