Man she's divorcing snoops around her home

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: After almost 20 years of marriage (half of it miserable), I am just days away from a final divorce decree. We kept the process civil, but we are not able to have a conversation. He suffers from a mood disorder, which destroyed our relationship and continues to make me very uncomfortable. Our two children, ages 16 and 18, live with me in the home we all shared for 16 years. The house belongs to me as part of the property division. My ex picks up one or both kids for dinner every week. Usually I am home, but not always. Recently one of my kids vented his annoyance that "Dad snoops around the house" when I am not home. If he would not wander around the house when I am here, he must know it's not appropriate. It feels like an invasion of my privacy. He has a new home, and I would never walk farther than the foyer unless invited. How should I handle this? Ex-Wife

DEAR EX:This is definitely a violation of your privacy, but (the way I read your query) it is also trespassing. Neither party should enter the home of the other unless directly invited by the homeowner.

Your ex might create some wiggle room by telling himself that the kids have invited him inside, but your son has reported that this bothers him. Your son told you this because he thinks (correctly) that you need to know and because he can't police his father's access.

You shouldn't involve the kids, or expect them to control their father.

Speak to your lawyer. Ask if she could send a letter to your ex and his attorney along the lines of: "Now that this divorce is nearly final, I'd like to remind you that neither party should enter the home of the other unless directly invited by the homeowner."

Do your utmost to be home when he comes over to avoid confusion about where the boundary is.

And change the locks, if you haven't already.