Moving for love could harm bond with children
Dear Readers: A Jan. 26 question from a man, separated a year, and considering moving across the country to be with “the love of (his) life, prompted strong responses. His move would mean leaving behind his own three young sons to live with this woman and her triplet daughters.
Reader #1: “I’ve been in the exact same situation as that man, and moved far from my two-year-old daughter 16 years ago, for a ‘new’ life. However, I cried every day, my ‘new’ life crumbled, and I was back 89 days later.
“Thankfully, I had enough sense to get back home. I had immense personal growth and insight from the experience and am a better man for it. But I lost the close bond with my daughter, and I’ve struggled to maintain what I got back.
“Love is not letting 5,000 kilometres hinder love from growing. And it’s the glue that makes life worth living. If it’s true love, a couple will make it work. But to leave your children, that love pales in comparison to the long-term devastation to the child’s life. This man’s sons will have abandonment issues for the rest of their lives and will never forgive him. Nothing’s more important than being the best father he can be.
Also, the amount of pressure on the new woman isn’t sustainable. The immense loss his kids will feel is crushing. As you recommended, he needs counselling to learn to cope with his current life.”
Reader #2: “He’s ‘separated,’ not divorced, and he’s already considering a cross-country move for a woman he hasn’t known for very long.
“He should be finalizing his divorce before he makes a major commitment to a woman and her three kids. Then, if he thinks he can be full-time father figure to children who aren’t his, and part-time (at best) father to his own sons without causing a lot of resentment from them, he’s being naïve.
“His children will see this as it really is — he’s choosing another person’s children over his own flesh and blood.
“What will he regret more — losing a woman he doesn’t really know well, or respect from his children?”
Reader #3: “This father will be abandoning his children. They will not accept his decision. He will ruin their relationship, they will grow up without a father, and they will resent him.
“Furthermore, he’ll be leaving the everyday heavy lifting to the mother, assuming that she’ll be able to handle everything, while he’s abdicating the responsibilities that he signed up for when he became a father.
“If he’s any kind of decent human being, he will stay near his children and be the father they deserve.
“At this point in their lives, that is what matters. Not his happiness. Their stability is the most important thing. Leaving would be the ultimate act of foolishness and selfishness.”
Sisters feel vulnerable to sibling
Q. Three sisters and their mother own a house. One sister lives there and is executor of her mother’s living trust, which stresses equal distribution of assets. The mother has died and the executor ended communications with her sisters. She doesn’t answer the phone; texts are “undeliverable;” letter mail brings no response. Yet all attempts to contact her have been friendly.
How do we two sisters proceed? How vulnerable are we to an executor who may have very selfish motives?
A. Get to a trusted lawyer immediately — someone who’s separate from your sister’s lawyer. Ask that your lawyer speedily investigate what assets existed at the time of your mother’s passing. Your sister may feel she has special entitlements due from living in the house (and perhaps from care-giving).
If there have been any changes in your mother’s will or wishes, from what you two believed true, your lawyer will check when and how these changes happened.