Dear Abby

Families Scramble After Gifts in Ruins of One Year Marriage

DEAR ABBY: Our 25-year-old son was married a year ago. Without going into detail, suffice it to say, he messed up big time. He and his wife are being divorced. During the time they were together they lived in an apartment.

Although he emptied out the savings account along the way, we gave his wife a check for one-half of what had been there. She should not have to suffer for his bad choices. As far as the divorce settlement is concerned, they have nothing but the shower and wedding gifts. Isn't he entitled to half of them? Her family thinks not. Oh, by the way, we paid for half the wedding. -- THE IN-LAWS IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR IN-LAWS: This is a problem that should be discussed with your son's divorce lawyer. Because the gifts could be considered community property, that property should be divided according to an agreement between your son and his wife, or by the judge if they can't agree.

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DEAR ABBY: I am not a licensed caregiver, but I baby-sit for a neighbor child, "Caleb." The boy is too young to talk and tell me if he's being abused, but I am concerned about his home environment. Caleb spends eight to 10 hours a day with me, and I have noticed that he's afraid of men and easily frightened.

Caleb's uncle, who lives with him, is violent and uses drugs. His mother breaks probation a lot, goes out after curfew and drinks. I don't think this is a stable environment at all.

Caleb often comes to my home unfed, even though the original agreement was that I would prepare lunch and snacks only. Now I'm doing much more than that.

Am I legally responsible to report my suspicions of abuse and/or neglect as a day-care would? And who exactly do I call? Please advise. -- CALEB'S CAREGIVER

DEAR CAREGIVER: You are not legally required to report your suspicions of abuse and neglect of the child; however, you are MORALLY required to do so. Child protective services should be notified about what you have told me. They're listed in your phone directory.

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DEAR ABBY: As the senior population increases, the baby boomer manufacturers have gone hog wild. They have made it impossible for seniors to open anything that has any kind of seal. They have manufactured such closures that we seniors can no longer open bottles, jars, etc. without using a hammer, pliers or breaking our wrists.

Once I was unable to open a bottle of medicine that I needed immediately, as the seal could not be broken. Can you please get the message out to these corporations to devise a way to make closures that children cannot open but we seniors can? -- BROKEN WRIST IN ALABAMA

DEAR BROKEN WRIST: I'm sad to say this, but the food and drug manufacturers no longer seal their products the way they do just to protect children. There's enough concern about protecting the public that they want to ensure that people don't buy something that has been tampered with.

Many pharmacies will gladly "un-childproof" medications for customers if asked to do so. It makes opening meds literally a "snap." As to the other products, it may be necessary to ask your grocer to open your purchases for you before you take them home, or invest in an electric jar opener.

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