Dear Amy: I’m 24 and live on my own. I have generous, loving parents. They paid for college, still pay my car insurance and phone bill, and every so often will buy me groceries. My folks are not rich, but they would rather see my brothers and me benefit from the money they have than spend it on themselves.
Last September, my car was totaled when someone slammed into it while it was parked on the street. I bought a new car, which cost $14,000. I used $8,000 of my own money, $4,000 from a bank account that my parents started for me after I was born (birthday money, baptism money, etc.) and $2,000 out of their pocket as a gift.
I’m planning to move to New York City this summer. I won’t need my car, and my mom will soon be in need of a new car. She loves my car. I was thinking of “leasing” it to her for $100/month, or asking them to contribute to my metro card balance while she drives my car. Is this selfish, considering they’ve been so generous to me my whole life?
Should I sell her my car at a discount? Should I just give it to her? I’m trying to be morally and financially responsible.
— Loving Daughter
Dear Daughter: Your folks have already financed almost half of the cost of this new car ($4,000 from their gift fund and $2,000 outright). They are already paying for the insurance.
You should either give your mother the car outright or sell it to her at a steep discount. (You could then use this money to finance a security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment.)
Don’t lease the car to your mom. This puts you in the position of collecting payments. It also keeps you as the owner of the car, and given that someone else will be driving it, you don’t need that responsibility.
More important, it is time for you to start giving back to the people who have given so much to you. This is going to feel good.
Dear Amy: My husband of 18 years has confessed to having had five long-term affairs during our marriage. In addition to his infidelity, we have been dealing with his drinking.
We have three children (the youngest is 5). My husband has said he wants to stay married but has shown no effort to rebuild the trust he squandered. I want to end the marriage.
I am considering the “nesting” style of divorce — where the kids stay in the home while my husband and I switch back and forth from an apartment. Long term, do you think this is successful?
I stayed home with my children for 10 years. I now have a full-time job, but my income is low. My husband can’t afford child support/alimony, which is why I think “nesting” could work for us.
I feel trapped in our unhappiness. Amy, what are your thoughts on nesting?
— Sad Wife
Dear Sad: “Nesting” would undoubtedly be less disruptive than having three children pack up their things to travel back and forth between households. It would also be much less expensive. With a nesting arrangement, you and your husband could rent an efficiency apartment nearby, and the two of you would essentially switch domiciles on a regular schedule, while your children stay put.
So yes, this sounds like something that could work for you, as long as you also pursue a sound and legal co-parenting agreement.
The most important factor contributing to the emotional outcome of a divorce is the attitude the parents maintain toward each other. Don’t kid yourselves. Your children care more about their own happiness and stability than yours. If they feel loved and cared for by both parents, and if parents are kind and respectful toward and about each other, then the kids will feel less disrupted and insecure.
Dear Amy: “Worried Mom” asked how to time their divorce for their son’s sake. He was a senior in high school. My parents separated a few weeks after I graduated from high school. I went off to college lost and apathetic. I didn’t do well and skipped a lot of classes.
There really is no good time for parents to divorce for kids, but if you’re going to do it, just rip off the Band-Aid and do it now, rather than waiting. Chances are, her son already senses things are off.
— Been There
Dear Been There: Thank you for offering your perspective.
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Copyright 2019 by Amy Dickinson
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