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

by Abigail Van Buren

Kids Lobby Mom to Return Long-Overdue Child Support

DEAR ABBY: I'm a divorced and remarried mother of two adult children. Both live on their own and have decent jobs. After the divorce, I managed to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and provide college for my children. My ex-husband, their father, sporadically paid child support, which resulted in an arrearage owed for the past nine years.

Recently, I received a substantial sum of the balance I was owed for back child support. My dilemma is that my children feel that because their father is having financial problems (finances were always his issue), I should give the money back to him because I am financially secure.

Abby, they are ignoring everything I had to do to support them while they were still dependents and my responsibility. Add into that their health care, extracurricular activities, Christmases and birthdays, etc., when he said he didn't have money.

I feel I have every right to keep the money. I have told this to my kids, but they are mad at me because I can't seem to get the message across. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. -- FLUSTERED IN FLORIDA

DEAR FLUSTERED: You were divorced from this man for good reason. Your responsibility to him ended when the divorce was finalized. What you have received for shouldering the entire responsibility for raising your children is yours and yours alone. Do not apologize to anyone for what you prefer to do with the money. And for your sake, please don't allow yourself be trapped or guilted into doing anything against your better judgment.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Money | Family & Parenting