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Ex-etiquette: Fiancé too friendly with ex-in-laws

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I'm having a difficult time accepting the fact that my fiance still "hangs out" at his ex-mother-in-law's house when he picks his daughter up for visitation. I just recently found a video that his ex mother-in-law filmed of my fiance and his daughter playing in her pool together. When I confronted him about it his response was that his ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Two kids, night and day

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: We have two sons, almost exactly three years apart. The oldest was a dream child in almost every way, but his little brother is pretty much the exact opposite. My husband and I find this surprising, since we tried to do everything with our youngest exactly the same as we did for our oldest. Why are they so different?

A: What you'...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Defining boundaries will help family relations

Parents / Family Living /

Q: After dating nearly two years, my fiance and I are engaged to be married this month. He has two adult bonuschildren from a prior marriage. He continues to be active in their lives and a great friend to his ex-wife, although she initiated the divorce 5 years ago. My fiance told me that his ex-wife refuses to meet me, and tonight I also ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Forced fatherhood? It happens more than you'd think

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend and I talked many times about children and mutually decided not to have any. However, without telling me, she changed her mind and got pregnant. I have absolutely no interest in being a father or raising children, but she's threatening to come after me for child support. Is there anything I can do to stop her?

A: The...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: The distractions continue

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you had an email from a 13-year old whose mother talks on the phone. You should have told the child to rat her mother out to the cops. The mother is endangering her own life, her daughter's life, and innocent bystanders' and drivers' lives. The 13-year old should send a note to the cops saying that her mother ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: How do I get my ex to stop badmouthing me to our son?

Parents / Family Living /

Q. It seems every chance my ex gets he's telling my son what a terrible person I am. I had an affair and we broke up. It's gotten to the point where my son refuses to see him, and of course my ex thinks I'm the one putting our son up to it. I swear I am not, and I don't know how to get it through to his father that the badmouthing is hurting our...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Hitting the road with teens

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and have been planning a family vacation which, of course, will include our two teenagers. We've tried to get the kids involved, but whenever we try to talk with them about what we've planned, we end up fighting. I'm about ready to cancel the whole thing. Can you think of a way we can put together a vacation that everyone ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Have a sense of humor over copycat

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex-husband's new wife copies me and it's driving me crazy. She dresses like me, changed her hair to match mine, and my kids just announced that they recently got a new car -- same model and color as the one I drive. We rarely talk, so I'm not sure how to handle it, but with the kids going back and forth, if they notice so must other people...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Mother of teens chooses boyfriend over kids

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My husband passed away six years ago. We had twin boys. My boyfriend has two daughters. All the kids are very active in sports and go to the same high school. The problem is that after four years of dating and a lot of over nights, my boyfriend's divorce is not final and his ex-wife hates when I am around the kids. Therefore, I'm not allowed ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Driven to distraction

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: This may sound dramatic, but I'm hoping you can help save my mom's life. She's constantly on her phone, talking or texting, while she's driving. I'm only 13 and I've tried telling her to stop but she says she has it under control and says I should be quiet. She's cut out some of your columns and stuck them on our refrigerator, so I...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: When co-parenting works — and when it doesn't

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Last week you wrote about co-parenting strategies. But you made it sound like it's an arrangement that works for everyone. I'm a divorce lawyer and I can assure that it doesn't. Please explain to your readers why parents would want to co-parent in the first place, as well as when it's likely to be successful and when it's not.

A: ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: When feeling down, get and accept help

Parents / Family Living /

Q: I have been divorced for about 2 years, and I share custody of my three kids, ages 8, 12 and 17. My ex has a very strong personality and I am often intimidated into silence when he's around. When we were together he was rarely home. I did everything. All of a sudden, he's "Father of the Year" with creative energy to spare and I feel ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: What's good ex-etiquette on Father's Day?

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My ex married a surgeon and now has a ton of money. Her husband buys my kid "new" everything and I just can't compete. My son is constantly talking about him. Father's Day is coming up and I have to admit I dread it. I'm afraid my son will rather be with him instead of me because there's so much more stuff over there and it's just plain more ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Parenting through divorce

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are in the midst of what's turning out to be a rather unpleasant divorce. We can't stand to be anywhere near each other and conversations are pretty much impossible. The only thing we agree on (besides that we shouldn't be married anymore) is that our kids need both of us. How can we come up with an arrangement that ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: How to acknowledge 'Dad' and 'Bonusdad' at wedding

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My parents are both divorced and have both remarried. I love my bonusmom and my bonusdad. They have both been great to me and I fell very blessed to have so many parents put me first and make my life easy in what could have been a really awkward situation. I am getting married next June and I would like both my father and my bonus father to ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Meet my imaginary friend

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: My four-year-old son has an imaginary friend named Bartholomew. He's always talking to him, includes him in drawings of our family, reads him bedtime stories, and sometimes even pushes him on the swing when we're at the park. In the car, we have a second car seat for Bartholomew. And if we don't set a place at the table for Bart, ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Develop an exit plan for Nanny

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My fiance has a very high-powered job with a work schedule that requires a lot of overtime. His children have had the same nanny since they were babies. She currently works in my fiance's home when he has the kids -- a week with dad and a week with mom. I also have two children, and have always been a stay at home mom. I would like to ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Dueling with doulas

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: Our baby is due in a few months and all of my wife's friends are recommending that we hire a doula as a birth companion. What are doulas and what do they do? More important, will a doula try to take over? My baby is being born and I want to be there for the birth.

A: The word "doula" is derived from a Greek word that means "a ...Read more

Ask Mr. Dad: Disneyland syndrome is for moms too

Parents / Family Living /

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a divorced mom, and because of my past substance abuse issues, my ex-husband has primary physical custody of our children. I only get to see them on weekends and we miss each other terribly. I've been trying to make it up to them by filling every weekend with outings and activities. But I think I've made a mistake. More than ...Read more

Ex-etiquette: Embarrassed by girlfriend's behavior

Parents / Family Living /

Q: My girlfriend and I were invited to a friend's Seder dinner for the Passover holiday, but the invitation fell through. My girlfriend has met my former wife several times and they appear to like each other, so she asked if we could go to her home for Passover dinner. I figured out a comfortable way to ask and she welcomed us.

During the ...Read more


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