Skip to content

This column is part of Tips weekSlate’s celebration of all things advice.

Sometimes you just need a different perspective. So this week our columnists swapped areas of expertise. In this edition, Care and Feeding columnist Doyne Richards tackles your personal finance issues.

Dear Care and Feeding,

My husband “Josh” and I were both young widows and didn’t marry until our respective children were in their 20s. I’ve always gotten along well with my stepchildren, but I’ve never been very close. My husband and I try to make sure that for every shared social engagement there is an opportunity for them to see him one on one.

Josh has always had a progressive disease, but until recently it was well managed. According to her doctors, we are looking at about two years of very expensive and very painful care, with little chance of stabilization, but eventually hospice. Josh wants us to divorce so we can protect our assets from his soon to be unpaid medical bills, with a firm written agreement on how he will continue to live in our home, etc. to protect himself. Our financial advisor and lawyers agree that we can make it happen, but there is one sticking point. she refuses to tell her children.

They know he’s very ill, and I think they deserve to know, but he insists it’s too personal. I don’t want them to accidentally know or think that I somehow hurt their dad in his time of need. How do I approach this?

– Soon to divorce

Dear, soon to be divorced,

First of all, my heart goes out to your family as this is an absolutely shocking decision to live with. I agree with your reasoning about protecting your assets from foreclosure, but strongly disagree with not telling the kids about the divorce.

They’ll find out eventually, and you’ll be the one holding their grudge bag. Even though you know the truth, how can you make them believe that the divorce happened? her idea If I were them, there is no way in the world I would believe you, and it could ruin your relationship with your stepchildren forever.

I know your husband’s heart is in the right place because he is doing this to protect his children, but he is not looking at the big picture. He may think this is private, but divorce is not really a private matter, as people can often look it up in public records to see if such a thing has happened. You have to do everything you can to get him to see the light or he’ll hurt a lot of people needlessly.

– Doi

More tips from Slate

A close friend, “Sam,” and his girlfriend, “Emily,” do something truly terrifying.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *