Dear Amy:

I am having a financial problem.

My husband and I divide most of our expenses 50-50.

He makes $30,000 more than I do, but he is always behind in paying for his share of the expenses.

Sometimes he takes several weeks before he pays his share.

In the meantime, I am struggling to pay my expenses.

So far, my husband owes almost $3,000 for his share of our household expenses and a vacation that we took.

When I ask for his share, he becomes angry and calls me names.

This situation is so serious that I am contemplating divorce.

How can I get my husband to pay up?

Broke All the TimeYou don't mention what your husband is doing with all of his income, but in a marriage in which both parties contribute to the financial well-being of the family, you have a right to know where his money is going.

You and your husband should have a more equitable arrangement for your expenses, with each of you contributing proportionally to the household and retirement and savings accounts. A financial planner or a marriage counselor with expertise in helping couples sort through financial issues would help you to let some light in and to work out a new arrangement.

If your husband won't cooperate, you should work with a lawyer to find out where you stand in terms of your legal rights and obligations for jointly owned property, etc. If your husband has gotten himself into debt, he could drag your credit down with him, seriously affecting your future. Once you know where you stand, you can make a decision about what to do next.

Dear Amy:

You ran a letter from "Just When I Was Comfy," who complained about late arrivals at movie theaters.

It's hard to imagine today, but there was a time in the 1930s and '40s when people didn't think twice about taking their seat in the middle of a row in the middle of a movie (with the help, though, of an usher or usherette).

The theaters didn't clear the auditorium at the end of a film. Rather, there were typically two full-length pictures plus a cartoon, newsreel, comedy short and coming attractions, all of which were repeated nonstop.

When moviegoers recognized a scene that they had already seen, they would typically say, "This is where I came in," which was their cue to pack up and leave. The practice of coming and going anywhere in the middle was so common that "This is where we (or I) came in" became a popular catchphrase, used in many other contexts.

I guess you don't hear it too much anymore, because fewer people are around to remember those days -- or to remember the great stage shows, games of chance and giveaways that came with the price of a ticket.

Don Devine in Woodcliff, N.J.Presumably, the movie theater is also the origin of the phrase: "Down in front!"

Thank you for the reminder of a time when going to the movies was a real experience.

I grew up hearing stories about dreamy Saturdays spent at the wonderful Earle Theatre in Washington, where my mother was once plucked from the audience and chosen to lead Sammy Kaye's orchestra, right there on the stage in front of the movie screen. (Kaye had a famous gimmick called "So you want to lead a band.") She was 12 years old. Over the decades, this experience led her to occasionally note, "Once you've conducted a major American orchestra, it's hard to stand in back of the church choir."

Unfortunately, the experience of going to the movies has shrunk considerably, much like the movies themselves.

Dear Amy:

Many parents of adult children are discovering that we have, apparently, made it too easy for our children for years, and now they find simple actions to be just too much trouble. It is sad.

To our chagrin, our 20-something daughter is this way. She moved back home after a relationship didn't work out. She thinks she is helping by doing her OWN dishes after supper. I can see her eyes roll when I ask her to do all of the dinner dishes! If a load of our laundry is in the dryer when she wants to use it, she doesn't fold the clothes in it -- she dumps them for us to fold.

Now that I've reread what I just wrote, I can't believe that I haven't been harder on her! I feel a heart-to-heart coming on.

Frustrated ParentYou need to send your daughter to "parental boot camp." When she graduates, you should give her a move-out date. It's time for this particular baby to grow up.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2007 by the Chicago Tribune

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