DEAR ABBY: This letter is for women who have stepchildren or are considering marriage to a man with children. My second marriage of 20 years is in limbo with no closure. My three adult stepchildren took my husband away from our home two years ago. He was having some cognitive dementia, but we were doing well in our home. After a fall, everything came apart. To make a long story short, I was naive about legal issues and discovered he had named his children as powers of attorney with no plans for me.
I have not had a visit or phone call in months because his kids will not allow it unless they are present. Our home was jointly shared and the court has ordered me to maintain it with no financial assistance from my husband as I live here. He has been shuttling back and forth between his son and daughter and is presently living in another state.
Abby, I encourage any woman who is considering remarriage to take great care of important legal matters for their well-being in case stepchildren try to "kill" the marriage and take over. I have experienced the ups and downs that go along with abandonment, depression and absence of closure. I am grateful for my family and friends for their love and support. With God's help and prayers, I am still hanging in there. Ladies, beware! -- SURVIVING ALONE
DEAR SURVIVING: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your husband. It is tragic. Sadly, you are not the only woman I have heard of this happening to; I know one personally. This is why I, too, urge anyone, female or male, who is going into a second marriage to be conscious of the legal ramifications and end-of-life planning and to do it with the help of an attorney.