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Leave kids out of child support fight

Posted: June 26, 2012 12:03 p.m.
Updated: June 29, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: I’ve been a stepmother to two lovely girls, now 12 and 17, since they were very young. My husband gladly pays child support on time without fail. The girls have different mothers who raise their children in opposite ways, yet in both cases, it’s rare that the child support actually reaches the child.

The amount of child support each mother receives is fair, but is being used incorrectly. The girls continuously need clothes, shoes, haircuts, coats, money for school activities, you name it. It’s like my husband is paying child support twice for each child.

My question is this: If the conversation falls on deaf ears with both mothers, is it OK to explain the financial situation to the girls? My husband doesn’t want to talk money with them, and I don’t want to badmouth their mothers, but I’m tired of being broke. What’s my role? — North Carolina Stepmom

Dear Stepmom: To be supportive. Do not involve the children in your dispute over child support. This is not their fault, and they shouldn’t be put in the middle of unhappy parents. If your husband feels the support payments are not being used to cover the girls’ necessities, he needs to document what he spends for these things and then talk to his lawyer and ask that the support payments be reduced.

Dear Annie: I am a 28-year-old mother of two beautiful children. I have an aunt who suffers from various conditions, and over the years, she has been put on several medications. I have watched her physical and mental health spiral downward. Some days she’s fine, and other days she never leaves her bed.
My kids have a hard time understanding what she says, and sometimes she babbles on about nonsense and odd things. How do I get my family some help? —Fighting for My Family

Dear Family: Please tell your children that “Aunt Bee” is not well, and teach them how to be tolerant and compassionate. If she is taking a variety of medications and is babbling and talking nonsense, it is very possible that she is overmedicated or needs to check the dosages and interactions. Whoever is in charge of her medical care should address this with her doctor.

Bless you for caring enough to handle this.

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