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Ex-wife uses gifts as disruption

DEAR ABBY: My ex has primary custody of our young daughter, “Kayli,” and is with her 99% of the time. I have Kayli every other weekend. Her mom has been dropping her off with a bag filled with wrapped presents. These presents are marked by day and hour. Along with the presents, my ex has created multiple alarms in our daughter’s phone to let her know it’s time to open the presents.

I have asked her to stop doing this, as it is a huge distraction and disruption that interferes with my time with Kayli. On multiple occasions when my daughter and I are eating dinner, her alarm goes off and she gets up and leaves the table to open a present from Mom. Sometimes, she’ll delay leaving the house if she knows it’s almost time to open a present.

Sometimes, I turn off the alarms and silence Kayli’s phone because if she’s not reminded about them, she doesn’t care about the presents. However, what also happens is that Mom will text or call our daughter to see if she has opened the presents. She has refused to stop this practice and replied by saying she will continue because it makes our daughter comfortable.

Kayli has been visiting my house for 10 months. This practice only started three months ago when my ex and I finally settled on a custody agreement. Besides turning off the alarms and silencing her phone, is there anything I can do to limit Kayli’s mom’s interference during our time together? – Disrupted in the East

DEAR DISRUPTED: There is plenty you can do. Contact your lawyer and put a stop to her intentional sabotage. Your ex is trying to prevent you from building a close relationship with your daughter, and it isn’t healthy for you or for Kayli.

DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Buddy,” did some HVAC work for some friends of ours. We live in California, where it can get super warm. My husband paid upfront ($600) for the expenses. He sent them an invoice, and the husband replied, “No worries, Buddy. I’ll reach out to you next week.”

It has been four months – and still no payment. I know my husband should not have waited this long to collect, but the couple had just bought a house, so he was trying to be sensitive to their money situation.

A few weeks ago, he sent another message with a reminder and a similar response came back: “No worries, Buddy. I will come see you Monday.” Well, Monday has come and gone and nothing. No one wants to fight or go to court about this, but how can friends do that to other friends? Can my husband still ask for the payment? Or should he just write the money and the “friends” off? – Show Us the Money!

DEAR SHOW US: This appears to be another example of “no good deed goes unpunished.” Now that you know these “friends” lack character, cut your losses and write them (and the debt) off. Unless you have something in writing proving they owe you the money, I don’t think you stand a chance in court.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.