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

by Abigail Van Buren

Deadbeat Dad Can't Be Depended on to Help Apply to College

DEAR ABBY: My father was never very involved in my life. He had a successful career, but gave it up to pursue one he thought would be more enjoyable (movie producer), which meant he has a very unstable income. Our family has struggled with money ever since.

I heard recently that Dad was kicked out of his house, and I have no idea where he is now living. He has been doing drugs and other questionable things that are uncomfortable to hear about or to discuss with him.

I'm applying to colleges now and need money, so I feel obligated to keep in contact with him. That way, I can make him pay for some of the applications since Mom can't do it alone. I don't know what to do. Everyone I ask tells me to cut off contact with him, but I feel trapped. Thoughts? -- TRAPPED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR TRAPPED: I'm sorry your father has been such a disappointment. But if you expect a drug-using, recently evicted deadbeat to fund any portion of your college education, you are dreaming. You should not feel you can depend upon him for anything.

My thought is that you should find a job ASAP to help you fund your college applications yourself, and make an appointment to talk with a counselor at your high school about this. I'm sure it won't be the first time he or she has heard about a predicament like yours, and perhaps he or she can suggest some scholarships or financial assistance for you. Your local library or the internet would be other good sources for researching what's available and if you qualify.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Work & School | Money