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What's fair share when moving in?

Dear Amy: I'm a 53-year-old divorced man who met a wonderful woman about seven months ago. Currently, I'm living alone, but we have often talked about me moving in with her.

I have an apartment, and she has a home. Her total monthly debt is approximately $1,800 a month. She also has two children she receives child support for.

What do you think my contribution to the home should be?

My friends and family say one third. She wants half.

I do not want to insult her or have her think I'm cheap.

Wondering

Dear Wondering: You and your lady friend have to work this out between you, but my own view is that if you are about to enter the home as a full-fledged adult family member, your financial contribution to the household should be equal to hers.

This issue is one you must discuss at length before cohabiting, and your ability to work this out well will have ramifications beyond this conversation and into the rest of your relationship.

Most important, you two need to come to terms with the impact your choice to cohabit will have on the children involved. Are you prepared to be a stepparent, or are you more focused on how to arrive at your most equitable financial contribution? Until you are ready to assume an appropriate parental role in their lives, you shouldn't move in.

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