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Daughter navigates devastating divorce – Chicago Tribune


Dear Amy: My daughter is 37 and has been married for 15 years. She and her husband have three boys, ages 13, 10 and 3.

She pursued the divorce in the most devastating way possible by moving a male “friend” who also had three children into the matrimonial home.

She needed housing due to her pending divorce. My son-in-law allowed this. Later, when the “friend” moved into his house, my daughter moved in with him.

My daughter and son-in-law are now at the point where they have to decide who will keep the house.

They both want to buy the other, but they won’t be able to do it without the financial help of my husband and I.

I tend to help my son-in-law, rather than my daughter, keep my grandchildren at home. My daughter just entered the workforce and is underpaid, while he has a well-paying job that eliminates the possibility of foreclosure.

I don’t understand how you can make your house payments.

I am fully prepared to help my daughter financially in other ways; such as renting an apartment.

I want the best for my grandchildren. Should I step out and let the house be sold and the profits split between them?

Neither will find a similar living space they can afford, and it’s a shame the kids have to move out and be “downgraded.”

I’m trying to avoid a fight with my daughter, but no matter what we offer her, she’ll be upset if we help her soon-to-be ex keep the house.

To get in or to stay out?

– Financially Secure

Dear Financially Secure: You’re already pretty involved in this split, but I don’t think you should offer to finance this house. For now, to keep the children in their home, the couple may consider “nesting,” meaning the children stay at home and the estranged parents choose to stay at home. You might consider helping rent a small apartment nearby where the non-custodial parent will stay on the days the other is home with the kids.

Your daughter left home of her own free will and was with this “friend” who had children. If she owns the house, she can move this man (and possibly his children) into the house; It marks a major disruption for all children.

If you financed the house, trying to control who lives there can get you further into the mess.

You can benefit (without interfering) by inviting your grandchildren into your home as a safe haven that never changes and is stable.

Dear Amy: I married “Bob” five years ago. When we met, she had been raising her two daughters alone for three years.

His ex-wife was diagnosed with antisocial mental disorder. During the three years it took for their divorce to be final, he was arrested for stalking a daughter in defiance of a restraining order.

He was not trying to physically harm his daughter, but was knowingly disobeying a court order.

He maintained occasional supervised visitation for several years, but again violated a court order and disappeared from view.

This all happened before Bob and I met. All these dramas have traumatized the children to some degree. They seem to be afraid of their mother and said in therapy that they do not want to communicate with her.

My stepsisters are young now and absolutely gorgeous.

My wife’s ex recently reached me via private message. She explained that she was receiving treatment and that she was looking forward to seeing her children now that she had recovered.

I’m heartbroken and I want to help him.

What are you thinking?

– Sensitive Stepmother

Dear Sensitive: My answer is a definitive “no.”

Transfer this connection to your husband. You were not there when all this was happening in the family.

His ex is using you because he believes you are easier to manipulate (and he is right).

If he is serious about this, he should contact the girls’ father.

Dear Amy: I can’t believe the “superstitious” suggested she throw her old wedding ring into the river!

Here you are suggesting to readers that they should not pollute the environment and our waterways with their garbage.

Thanks for doing such a great job!

– Disgusted

Dear Disgust: Are you… welcome?

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or write to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or on Facebook.)


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