Dear Abby: Husband’s multiple affairs leave wife in legal limbo

Dear Abby: My husband of five years has confessed to affairs that resulted in two children. I suspected that something was up when after a year of marriage he seemed distant. I never thought he would do something like this.

A few months ago, he started disappearing. At first it was a day here and a day there, but then it became weeks. I finally confronted him, and he confessed about the affairs. He claims the mother of the newborn is a prostitute and that it was a “mistake.” He wants to be involved in the 3-year-old little girl’s life, but not the newborn’s. At that point I told him he needed to leave and remove his belongings from the house.

My friends say that legally I can’t put him out of a house he owned before we were married. However, he did buy a home during our marriage. (I found that out accidentally.) It’s where the 3-year-old lives.

I feel I am entitled to something. I asked him to have the older child’s mother move, but he refused. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have money for a lawyer and have nowhere to go. Please advise. – What a Mess in PA

Dear What a Mess: Your friends mean well, but you need a more informed source of information than they can offer. Because divorce laws vary from state to state, go online to womenslaw.org and search for “divorce in Pennsylvania.” You will find basic information about divorce laws in your state, which I think you will find rewarding.

Dear Abby: It’s Santa here. I wanted to tell your readers what my helpers at the malls are telling me.

First and foremost: When you stand in line with your child, and it’s finally their turn and they start to cry, please DON’T force them to sit on Santa’s lap. If you do, you are traumatizing your child.

Next, I would discourage new moms from bringing newborns. Remember how many children sit on Santa’s lap. Babies’ immune systems are fragile, and Santa’s suit can be loaded with germs. Thanks for your time, Abby, and Merry Christmas to all. – Shopping Mall Santa

Dear S.M. Santa: Thank you for your sensible suggestions. Some parents’ heads become so full of sugarplums at Christmas that they forget their little ones are too young to associate Santa with the goodies he brings with him. I hope readers will take your message to heart.