caught in the middle... again

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
caught in the middle... again
Sat, 12-20-2003 - 1:39am

My DH and FIL are on the outs a bit, and I wonder if you folks have opinions or ideas about how to help everyone come out happy.

DH helped FIL do some major home repairs several months ago, and charged it all on our credit card. He also helped FIL fix up some ailing vehicles, AND we bought a house down the street from ours for


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sat, 12-20-2003 - 9:24am
This is a tricky situation. Does the rest of the family know how much in debt your FIL is to you? Or is it a secret?

I think that you need to draw up formal documents at this time, at least for the loan. List all that he owes you and come up with monthly payments. Then, when he works for you he can get a true paycheck. He can deposit it into his bank account and then write you a monthly check. It seems kinda silly to go through all this hassle, but it might stop some of his resentment.

As for the working, I think it is time you have some sort of time sheet. Then, at the end of a job, you can see how many hours he has worked compared to you and your hubby. Perhaps it is time to start paying him an hourly wage instead of part of the job. That is less nebulous as just part of the job and might help.

And as far as the business goes, have you incorporated or anything? If so, then for once and for all show him the business documents showing who the owners of the company are. Tell him you appreciate his working, but that you and hubby are the ones who started the business. To bring home the point, you can show him how much it cost you to start and then drop the subject.

I have to say though, from what you say, these suggestions may not work, they may make him madder. There is a old addage that you never lend money to or go into business with a relative...I think you see now why that is. I hate to say it, but it honestly sounds like you will never see him pay off the debt.

Ejkdmom Come visit my store:
Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 12-21-2003 - 3:24am
This is getting too complicated, I think you should call a lawyer, since FIL is not happy with just being an 'employee'. Unless it can be settled in a mature manner since it's all in the family. If you pay FIL, then he will have to pay you back IN CASH for all the work DH have done! It's only fair you all get paid accordingly.
Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 12-22-2003 - 10:02am

Don't worry about the hat.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Mon, 12-22-2003 - 2:28pm
No, you're not greedy slavedrivers. You sound like generous hard-working people. So don't take my suggestions the wrong way.

You've probably heard that you should never loan money to family members (or go into business with them, etc, etc). There are some wonderful exceptions to that rule. So I would amend the first part to... Don't loan more than you can afford to lose to ANYONE, and don't loan ANYTHING to family members unless you can readily forgive them if they never pay you back. Life is a lot shorter than you may think.

I agree with the person who suggested that you need timesheets. That might help on the time issue.

As far as not paying him until the debt is paid off...that's probably not the best idea for your own good or for your FIL's. If he isn't getting anything in his hand, he may not have incentive to keep working. Not only that, it hurts an old man's pride. You are not dealing with a reasonable're dealing with a stubborn, proud human being is not going to change because he's just too old. Accept that and life will be a lot easier. Maybe you could sit down with him, ask him if it's still important to him to pay back some or all of what he borrowed (he'll probably say yes, given his pride). Then say, in that case, we'd like to come up with some terms that we can all live with. I think he is more likely to stick with it and pay back at least some of the money if he gets at least a percentage of what he earns to put in his pocket. With a little compromising, maybe you can come up with an acceptable amount for both of you.

I don't know much else about the relationship with your husband and his father, but I know my dad has made a lot of sacrifices through the years. If I were in a position to help him and he needed the help, I probably wouldn't keep much of a tab. But like I said, I don't know the relationship or background.

Good luck with your family and your business! jps