Dear Annie: Is there a way to save my daughter from financial ruin due to her messy divorce?

Dear Annie: We’re in a bit of a crisis here. My daughter has gone through a messy divorce. Her ex-husband took her to court for custody of their two younger children, calling her neglectful and unfit, as well as seeking to reduce support payments, to name a few charges. She won the case, but now he is appealing.

He has practically unlimited funds, making over $400,000 per year, while she makes $70,000.

This has already cost her tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees. She is beside herself as to how she can pay for this. She hasn’t even paid her attorney all that she owes yet.

We are convinced this guy won’t give up until he is left with nothing. He’ll continue to drag this out until she’s totally broken. My question is, what are her legal rights related to this harassment? Will the law allow him to continue until he drains her of all her funds (because, eventually – that will happen)? I just don’t know where to tell her to turn. Any thoughts from you or your experts? — Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned Mother: It sounds like the crisis is not just legal. The ex-husband appears to be using the divorce to wreak psychological havoc on his ex-wife and, sadly, his own children. It is important that her attorney point this out to the court and make sure he is paying all support payments during his appeals. If your attorney can show that the ex-husband is not paying child support and any other requirements from the court ruling, your daughter can ask for her ex to be forced to pay her attorney fees.

I would be interested in hearing suggestions from readers who are divorce attorneys or who have gone through a divorce and can offer insights. I am sorry that your daughter and grandchildren are going through this.

Dear Annie: My husband of 30 years took a job in another state. We sold our home, and I moved in with friends to finish my contract at work. We agreed on living apart for 10 months.

The pandemic ended my husband’s job, and my contract had already been extended twice. The living situation with my friends changed, as one of their parents had a stroke and needed to move in with us. I help with caretaking so we can all work and have equal downtime.

This has been amazing for all of us, and I am extremely grateful.

It is four years later, and I am now ready to join my husband. My friends want to throw a huge party. How can I express my gratitude, but shut this down?

Being the center of attention gives me extreme anxiety. — Shy

Dear Shy: The best way to express your gratitude is to be honest with your friends. Tell them how much this situation has meant to you and how grateful you are. But also tell them exactly what you told me — that you don’t like to be the center of attention. Allow them to have a party with all their friends, but maybe ask that it not be FOR you but rather just a party to celebrate life and your friendship. It sounds like you have a wonderful friendship, which is such a blessing in life. Best of luck on the next chapter of your life with your husband.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected].


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