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THINK QUICKLY, OR PAY THE PRICE

Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to "Confused in the Midwest," whose husband moved out when she wasn't home. He left a note saying he would call her. Within a few days, she learned he had an apartment and a new phone number. She wanted to know if she should call him and find out what he had in mind.

Ann, when a husband moves out without telling his wife and has an apartment and phone number already set up, she should accept the fact that he isn't coming back. Worse yet, the rotten sneak probably has another woman waiting in the wings.

You should have told "Confused" to go immediately to her bank and take out 50 percent of her checking and savings accounts. She should also cancel all joint credit cards or have them put in her name. She should check out any retirement or pension plans, car titles and property assessments. This woman needs to know what her assets and liabilities are and figure out an equitable split.

She should also see a lawyer promptly and be prepared for the worst, because that's what she will probably get. I have seen too many wives left with no cash and all their joint credit cards maxed out while they are left responsible for the payments. This woman needs to protect her interests, or she will find herself working two jobs, wondering what happened.

-- Voice of Experience in Tupelo, Miss.
Dear Voice in Tupelo: You have given the woman excellent advice. And now, I would like to add a comment for any woman who suddenly discovers her husband has set up housekeeping elsewhere. Dear woman, you have lost nothing of value. Good riddance. The man is a scoundrel. You are better off without him.

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