Money Manners

Get a lawyer to play hardball with ex-wife

Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz say to call in the lawyers when dealing with ex-wife who’s stopped paying her half of a combined student loan.
Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz say to call in the lawyers when dealing with ex-wife who’s stopped paying her half of a combined student loan. King Features

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: Prior to their divorce, my husband and his ex-wife combined their student loans, each agreeing to make half of the monthly payment. But his ex quit paying her half a couple of years ago, so my husband has been having to make the entire monthly payment.

What’s more, his ex has the account set up so that only she can see it, plus she uses the interest he pays as a deduction on her taxes. What should we do? — Gabi, Kansas City

DEAR GABI: Does this woman also kick small dogs, or is her abusive behavior reserved for your husband?

No matter. Your husband should go back to the attorney who represented him in the divorce and ask how to put an end to these shenanigans.

If that attorney can’t help, find one who can. There are lawyers out there who will do whatever it takes to get his ex to behave, but your husband needs to be willing to play hardball. We hope he’s prepared to be as tough and thick-skinned as his ex-wife.

Parents aren’t obligated to disclose finances to kids

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I attend a private school that I know is very expensive. My parents both have well-paying jobs, or so they tell me. The issue is, I’m prone to anxiety, and I want to know our average yearly household income (or their salaries) so that I can stop worrying about how expensive my school is.

I have asked in the past, but my parents will tell me only that we are “comfortable” and that I “don’t need to worry.” Is it their prerogative whether to tell me our financial situation, or do I have a right to know? — Percival

DEAR PERCIVAL: Sorry, friend, but as long as your parents are supporting you, pretty much anything they want to do is their prerogative. In particular, they’re free to keep their tax returns off-limits, and they are not obligated to review their resources with a child who may or may not be mature enough to understand the situation.

(Nice try saying “our” household income and “our” financial situation. But unless you’re a tech whiz or a movie star and are contributing a meaningful portion of that income, the correct word is “their.”)

Our advice? Relax. As far as we can see, your parents are being nothing but nice to you, and you have nothing to complain about.

Return the extra donations and add your own

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: When my cat was hit by a car, there was no way I could afford her vet bills, and I was afraid I was going to have to put her down. But I set up a fund for “Mamie” on, and 37 friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers contributed a little over $1,500.

That turned out to be $85 more than I needed to pay the vet, and I’m wondering what I should do with the leftover money. If I return it to the donors in proportion to the amount they contributed, most of them will get two to three dollars. Is that worth doing? — Uncertain

DEAR UNCERTAIN: Of course it’s worth doing. It’s their money, and it’s not as if you’re the one who was hit by the car and consequently are unable to make out a check.

But why not send each of the donors a minimum of five dollars — enough, at least, for a top-of-the-line coffee drink at Starbucks? After all, unless you return more than $85, you won’t have contributed anything yourself toward the care that kept your cat alive.

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| King Features Syndicate