DEAR ABBY: My husband is a well-known surgeon, and we have two beautiful children together. One morning we awoke and made love.
Then he went off to the hospital and I left to do some errands. When I returned later in the day I was shocked to find that our house had been burglarized -- the furniture, artwork, electronic equipment had all been taken.
I called my husband's office to tell him the bad news, and his receptionist told me my husband was not available and gave me the number of his attorney. When I called the lawyer, I was told to come to the office to sign some settlement papers -- there was a check for $20,000 waiting for me that I could have if I agreed to give up custody of the children. When I called my husband's parents, who are prominent people in this community, they urged me to take it and leave the state so my husband could have a happy life with a new wife. Needless to say, I was in shock.
When I tried to hire a lawyer to represent me, I discovered that my credit cards had been revoked and our bank accounts had been cleaned out.
Abby, I never saw this coming. Do you think I'm right to stay and fight for my children? -- IN SHOCK AND HEARTBROKEN
DEAR IN SHOCK AND HEARTBROKEN: You have my respect for deciding to fight for your children against such odds, and I hope you prevail. Your husband must be a brilliant surgeon to have amputated a beating heart and left the subject viable enough for a custody battle.
Your unfortunate predicament demonstrates how important it is for a married woman to have credit and sole access to a sum of money to tide her over in case of the sudden death of a spouse or, God forbid, desertion. It's one of today's realities.