Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 9:08 pm
Dear Annie: Five years ago, I had a mortgage of $15,000 left on my home. My daughter, “Jacey,” wanted to buy a house, but her husband’s credit was bad and she couldn’t get a bank loan, so she asked me to take out a second mortgage and give her the money.
Jacey was to pay $400 a month and I’d pay the rest. A few months ago, we had a fight and now she refuses to pay anything. Needless to say, this has left me in a dire position because I cannot make ends meet. Do I have any legal options? — Lost and Barely Making It
Dear Lost: We wish we had better news. Since you weren’t coerced into taking out that mortgage, you are legally responsible for it. If the interest rates are substantially lower now than five years ago, you might want to refinance. You also can sell the house if you can make enough from the sale to pay off the mortgage.
Otherwise, your only recourse is to sue Jacey and see if a judge will agree that there was a verbal contract and she needs to pony up. We hope Jacey does the right thing before you have to take her to court.
Dear Annie: My office is in close proximity to that of a co-worker who seems to have no regard for his wife. Even if I shut my door, I often hear him arguing with her through the wall.
He yells, threatens and talks down to her, often using phrases that make it clear he thinks she’s an idiot. I have lived in a house with verbal abuse and recognize how painful his behavior must be for her. I am also concerned because people who speak to their loved ones in such nasty ways often may be doing more at home.
I do not like being entangled in other people’s personal business, but I am starting to feel like I should say something. Should I, and if so, to whom? — Hearing Too Much in Indiana
Dear Indiana: Bring up the subject to the Human Resources department, or if your company doesn’t have one, to the head supervisor. Discuss the issue not only as a matter of professional decorum (his harangues should not be audible outside his office), but also to bring up the possibility of a personal problem that needs to be addressed.
If your company has an Employee Assistance Program, that would be extremely useful.
Dear Annie: This is for “Bitter Ex-Wife,” who feels her hatred toward her ex-husband is healthy. I thought so, too, when my ex left me for another woman. Animosity was my friend.
My ex began his affair two months after my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not only did I spend eight months dealing with the shock and pain of his affair and our divorce, but my 7-year-old son and I had to watch my loving father wither away and die. To have his last months marred by the callous behavior of my ex was unbearable. Counseling was the only thing that kept both of us going. I was also lucky to work in an office full of wonderful people who let me cry, yell, cuss and spit until I felt better.
It has been seven years and my ex and I can finally have a civil conversation. I can also speak to his wife, and although we will never be friends, I don’t wish for either of them to be hit by a bus anymore. My son now loves his stepmother and has gained some wonderful new relatives.
I hope “Bitter” finds someone to help her through this. The pain does lessen, the anger does dull, and you finally realize it takes more of your energy to hate than to forgive and move on. — Been There and Survived
Dear Been There: You were fortunate to have such a supportive group of friends, and smart to seek counseling for you and your son. Thanks for the backup.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.15.08