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Dear Margo

Dear Margo column

Q. We recently wrote our will and named our best friends as guardians for our children. And we told our parents, just as an FYI. They already know and are familiar with our friends, including regularly seeing them on holidays, etc. They have no problem with this choice. However, my mother-in-law has flipped out about one point: She wants us to amend our will to specifically state that the grandparents will have visitation rights, and that it must be at least x times per year. It’s not enough for us and our friends to state that of course they will still be heavily involved in their grandkids’ lives; she wants it spelled out and legally binding.

We are not going to make any such amendment, and we cannot get her to stop harping at us about it. It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to answer her calls, much less be around her, because it inevitably comes up, and the haranguing starts again. What to do?

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A. Why are you not going to make any such amendment? Why would you not want all of your wishes spelled out? People who assume that verbal agreements suffice are making a grave mistake, especially when it comes to what goes on after one’s death. It sounds as if the only problem with your mother-in-law is the issue of the will, so why are you determined to say no? Perhaps your husband’s mother feels either you or the children are closer to your parents, and she wants to ensure her place in her grandchildren’s lives.

There is the statistical probability that these arrangements will never be put into play, but I would encourage you to acquiesce to her request. Such a codicil will put all agreements into black and white, and your mother-in-law will calm down. I actually agree with her, and the bonus you will get will be peace and quiet, along with her appreciation. She is not asking for anything unreasonable.

Q. I am 26 years old and finally back on my feet after a terrible, horrendous marriage. I lost money, a vehicle, my home, and nearly my life while married to a monster. Abuse on many different levels was my life for nearly three years. The bruises have faded, and I am now divorced and living on my own with two beautiful daughters.

I met a wonderful man six months ago. My problem is that my monster ex (let’s call him Lucifer) gets very drunk and calls me at all hours of the night. It’s really awful for me and my new boyfriend.

We do have one daughter together, but my question is this: Do I have to let him into her life?

Is it wrong to just ignore his calls so I can live in peace (because he will never change)? His child support is hit-or-miss, he goes on drunken rants, and he is clearly unable to get his life together. As a mother, I want to shield my child from a life of insanity and disappointment, as well as unnecessary drama. What are your thoughts on this?

A. My thoughts do not matter as much as the court’s. You would need an actual police restraining order against him, and I’m afraid it takes more than drunk dialing to get one. To get a court order stopping him from seeing his child is a long and messy process. Should he be drunk for visits, however, that would support your request to keep him away.

You can tackle him legally for child support arrearage, and you could get free or discounted legal assistance if you qualify. The only thing you can do right now is turn your phone off (or unplug it) when you go to bed. I wish you luck going forward.

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