Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

Advice Vixens

It's tax time. My fiancé has supported me and my children all year. I have had no job, at his request. I assumed we would file together. If he claims me as a dependent as well as the three children, he will get the earned income tax credit for all three and get close to ten grand back! Of course, I do have student loans due because of nonpayment so they may take a couple grand, but still, it won't make too much of a dent. Here's the thing: our car broke down. Backstory: When I met my fiancé he fibbed and said the car was his, when actually its in his cousins name. His overprotective know it all mom thought that since my fiancé had no credit at the time, being young and all, that it would be best to put it into his older cousins name, who lives with them and agreed so he could still live there. His mother has been making the car payment on her own this whole time. My fiancé just pays for gas and maintenance. I must mention here that once, when his mother was very upset with him for moving out with me, she took away the car as punishment!!?! But she gave it back within the week and said she wouldn't hurt her son like that again. I had a car myself, but it was on its last leg, so I sold it after my fiancé agreed "his" car would be "our" car as a fam. A problem arose where our oil kept running out. We put some in, it didn't help. I begged him to take it to get a professional oil check to no avail. Finally our oil was about spent so I asked him what kind we needed. I know Nothing about cars and their maintenance. As I found out, neither does my fiancé. He told me the wrong kind of oil, so I asked a salesperson at the local car shop, and they corrected me. I borrowed money from friends and purchased the oil. Then I drove to my fiances job begging him to put the oil in on his break. He declined, saying as always, he would handle it later. So, I left. I thought to visit my sister because maybe she could help me. As I drove to her house, our engine fell out!!!! All because my fiancé refused to take time to fix the oil situation! I mean, come on! The oil was sitting on the backseat when the towtruck came! Anyway, his mother got an estimate and says ok its dead it needs an engine replaced! Also, she blames me for the car dying! We expressed very clearly to his mother that we did NOT want her to pay for an engine. Instead, we planned to buy our own car with tax money. But she insisted, saying that she still owes $8,000 on the car and she has already paid $1,800! She doesn't want the money she has spent to be a waste, and she doesn't want a collection for 8 grand put on her credit. I'm confused because the fact still remains that the car is in neither her, nor his, name. This all falls on the cousin, legally! Well, mama don't listen...she pays some family connection to get an engine. She just called yesterday to tell us the car is ready, the man just needs the money now....over $2,000! So, I'm over here thinking my man and I are going to get this nice tax return and be able to buy a nice used car together and still have leftover money to splurge on ourselves and the boys! Right? But instead I am hearing from his moms that he is NOT going to file with me...he plans to file alone, and only claim his biological son by me. (My other two sons are from other relationships). AND that she is taking his return to repay her for the car! She keeps telling me "his tax return belongs to me!!!" and she keeps blowing up his phone, "have you done your taxes yet? I need my money!". Now, I understand why she is refusing to give the car back unless he pays her, even though we have an excruciating need for a vehicle. I get it. Okay, so I confront my fiancé...why is your mother telling me this? He tells me he actually has not decided how he wants to file. But, he does assure me that his mother does not speak for him. He says he will handle it. But here it is March, time is almost up to file on time!!! I don't understand why he would file without me?! If he files alone, he get back maybe a grand tops. If that! If he files alone with just the baby, he might get something back. I don't know. But just think of how much he would get if he claimed us all?! I have explained this to him. See, he's real young, 24. And his mother has him so confused about the world and life. I have had to hold his hand and walk him through so many basic adult things. Last year he just filed alone at a tax place. Every year before that his mommy helped him. We filed separate because I worked last year and it just felt right. This year, we are engaged and entangled in every way possible. He's even on my welfare case now. So, here is my question...WHAT DO I DO? Seriously, what do I do now? Continue to nag at the risk of upsetting him? Confront his mom and say back off of OUR finances. Should I try to file alone? I don't know if I even need to file since I had no income. But I have these kids that need claimed right? Do I try some other tactic with my fiancé to try and persuade him? Or am I doomed to sit here and bite my nails to a bloody stub, wondering how this will play out? I mean, I am almost considering leaving if he A) files alone or B) gives money to his mother. OMG! This is driving me nuts! HELP!!!!!!!

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    I'm not sure where to start here. Firstly, you do need to file your taxes. You file separately or together, likely it doesn't make much difference because you live together - you still need to tell the truth about your living situation. Secondly your boyfriend can't just decide not to include you or the baby. He has to disclose who lives in the house whether you file separately or not. There is no issue of custody. I don't know the details of personal tax laws in the US, but if you are a student - try calling H and R block. They used to have a phenomenal deal for students. It was something like $30 or $50. If this isn't an option, try your school's legal aid - they might have ideas.

    Relationship advice though. Stop believing that you don't have power. Threatening to leave when you have no intention of leaving is not going to help. Please think seriously about your options. The basics of getting a job, paying for daycare, sorting out transportation and so on.

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