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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dear Annie: How to reach out to estranged daughter

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: My daughter and I have not spoken in over 12 years. I am now getting up in age (I am 82) and don’t know what to do to even say hello to her. She has told me over and over again that she does not love me or want anything to do with me. She is still my daughter, and I do still love her.

My grandson got married last year, and I was not allowed to go to the wedding. My grandson and I keep in touch, but I don’t want him to get in the middle of all this, nor do I want my other two children to get involved. My two sons don’t really like their sister and do not see her that often or speak to her. My daughters-in-law have tried to be her friends, but she will not call them, either.

We were never really that close, even though I have tried in the past to be there for her. She is a very strong-willed person and feels she doesn’t need anybody but her husband, her son and now her daughter-in-law in her life. This is a real shame. I don’t know how many more years God has for me, and I just want to let her know that I’ve always loved her. Friends have told me to move on and know that I have done everything one can do. All these years, I have been deeply depressed because of this situation. What can I do? – Missing Her

Dear Missing: I am a firm believer in trying to mend family relationships whenever you can. Your friends hate seeing you get hurt by your daughter, and there is wisdom in their advice for you to move on. It certainly isn’t your responsibility to keep trying or your fault if she never wants to reconcile. She seems quick to burn bridges rather than repair them.

But if you’re just in this to have some contact with your daughter, I think you should continue reaching out as much as you’d like. Just make sure you’re wearing the proper emotional armor when you do – i.e., have realistic expectations and accept that she may never reciprocate.

Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter from “Crushed in California.” Shame on you for giving her such bad advice. You should have told her to make a beeline to an attorney who specializes in family law.

After 24 years of marriage, her husband has decided he wants a divorce and ordered her to move out, as if she were a mere tenant, without making any financial arrangements. Most states apply more or less the same procedures and guidelines. What typically happens in a long-term marriage is the husband is ordered to leave the home (although in rare cases, a judge allows both of them to live in the same house but sleep in different rooms) and pay his wife about 50 percent of his income (according to established legal guidelines) for the support of the children and her. The children are typically allowed to live with their mother in the family home, and the husband is given reasonable visitation rights. At a later time, the support order is adjusted. The judge takes into account the earnings of the wife, outstanding financial obligations, the needs of the children, etc. No court in the world would ever allow the scenario described by Crushed in California. – Attorney

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