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by Abigail Van Buren

Stepchildren Engineer Divorce to Cut Off Elderly Dad's Wife

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing this as a warning -- especially to older women who get married a second time to someone with adult children. Please keep your own money separate, if at all possible.

Throughout our long marriage, I trusted my second husband to do what he promised me and my relatives. He arranged very good financial care for me in the event of his death, and assured me that I would want for nothing.

Unbeknownst to me until it was too late, my husband had left power of attorney to his money-hungry children, who proceeded to take advantage of his dementia and very old age. Tragically, they convinced my husband to divorce me. This brought me much heartbreak, shock and lack of trust after a happy, long marriage.

Because I am a strong person, I have learned to cope and take care of myself. It wasn't easy, and the process has been slow, but I'm succeeding. Along the way I have learned some painful but valuable lessons.

I would like my experience to help other women, especially older, traditional women like me who have spent most of their lives taking care of their husbands and are dependent on them to take responsible, proper and loving financial care of us. Thank you, Abby. -- MOVING AHEAD NOW

DEAR MOVING AHEAD: What was done to you is disgraceful, and I hope your letter will serve as a warning to other wives. If your husband had shown you the documents he had drawn up regarding his estate planning, and he and his lawyer had explained them all to you, this wouldn't have happened. To me, the lesson here is "trust, but verify," and I hope others will learn from your experience before it's too late for them.

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