Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Says Visits to Prison Are No Place for 6 Year Old

DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife has been spending every weekend visiting her fiance, who is in prison. It is a five-hour round trip from where she lives, so she stays the night in a hotel due to the long drive. If she has our 6-year-old daughter, "Emma," on the weekend, the child goes with her. My ex knows I don't want Emma in a prison.

The only way I have to prevent my little girl from having to go is to keep her with me every weekend. My wife is supportive, but she is concerned because we never have a night to ourselves. She says we are enabling my ex's poor choices by taking Emma every time my ex wants to shirk her parental responsibility.

Is my wife right? Are we enabling my ex? Is it more important to keep my daughter away from the prison or take my wife out on a date once a month? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. -- DAD IN GEORGIA

DEAR DAD: This is a subject you should discuss with the lawyer who handled your divorce. I seriously doubt that when custody was awarded the judge would have agreed that accompanying her mother to a prison every weekend to visit her fiance is "quality time."

If you and your wife would like to go out on a date, your daughter's presence shouldn't prevent it. Hire a sitter.