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Discussion Starter #1
Here is a Vancouver Sun article from a few days ago - a mom who abandoned her children (when they were teens) is now suing them for financial support.

From the article:

On Aug. 3 and 4, Ken, now 46, will face off against the woman who gave birth to him in B.C. Supreme Court.

Shirley Anderson, now 71, is suing Ken and four of his five siblings for parental support. The case has been dragging on for years, but the August hearing should complete it.

Shirley has dusted off a little-used section in B.C.'s Family Relations Act that legally obliges adult children to support their "dependent" parents.

Section 90 is considered archaic by many legal experts.


This is a really fascinating area of family law. If you read the article carefully, you can see that the mom ALREADY has a support order in force against her children - this application (which has been "dragging on for years") is to INCREASE the amount.

I got this article from Reddit, and I am going to link the comments because (if you can wade through the obscenities and general noise) there are some interesting points in there, too; namely the obligations in Ontario law on adult children with dependent parents.

I learned about support obligations for dependent parents during my CFP coursework but they were largely described as "theoretical." It's very interesting to see a real live case come before the courts. My mind is also boggled by the mom's financial situation - she has a ("small") pension, presumably she receives OAS/CPP/perhaps some GIS - and she wants $250 from each of her (5?) children per month.

Kind of puts a new spin on retirement income planning, n'est-ce pas?!
 

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ken got through to the vancouver sun reporter's heart, alright, but there are all kinds of gray questions popping up here & there like little ghosts. The whole story has many aspects that have not been looked at - aspects that another journalist might some day treat.

1) something happened to ken's mother shirley when he was 12. Since he's 46 now, this would place the event around 1976. The older children would have been aged about 14, 16 and 18. What happened in 1976 ? What sort of mother had shirley been prior to that date ? I'm not implying that she was perfect or that a day-and-night transformation took place, but the 2 siblings speaking in this story - ken and donna - have memories that date only from 1979, when the parents moved from osoyoos to the kootenays. One of the commentators raises the possibility of parental alienation in the acrimonious divorce that followed, ie the children all sided with the father & condemned the mother.

2) it's impossible to give donna any credit for her so-called abandonment, since she had voluntarily left home at the age of 18, in 1978, the year before her parents moved to the kootenays.

3) when the parents moved to the kootenays in 1979, the "children" were 21, 19, 17 and 15 (the only one missing from this line-up is darryl, reportedly the 2nd-youngest, so he might have been 16, but in any event darryl was definitely taken to the new home in the kootenays) (let's hope that there was not another darryl.) The only child shockingly left behind in osoyoos was ken. However, it does not look like the rest of the children were "abandoned" in 1979. The fact that the older siblings may all still harbour resentments, even hatred, towards an inadequately nurturing mother is not, in itself, a particularly unusual story.

4) i could go on about shirley, who apparently can't speak for herself. Her chaotic life and lack of relationship skills suggest some sort of borderline personality, and this absolutely does not mean that civil society should continue to berate and punish her. To what extent have social workers insisted to shirley over the years that she must seek financial support from her children. To what extent do her ongoing lawsuits for this support represent a camouflaged cry for contact and attention.

5) there are at least 2 wacky notes in this emerging legal tournament. Lawyer mcleod is a real bar association flintlock comedian, don't you think - aiming for glory in jurisprudence as the fighting black knight while never having to set eyes on his client.

and that expensive yellow corvette of ken's (it's behind the dump trucks so pathetically stuck together with duct tape) sort of got to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You know, I should not have just carelessly repeated the word "abandoned" from the original article. I did that thoughtlessly.

My interest in this issue is not so much in the particulars of the "abandonment" but in the suggestion that *whether or not parents remain involved in their children's lives from birth to the age of majority,* children can be called on to support their aging parents. And not just "called on," they can actually be required to support an aging parent.

How different would this story look if the parent in question had not "abandoned" her children? Would the outcome be different? The case is essentially arguing that *because* this woman "abandoned" her children, they do not owe her this duty of care (to provide for her financially in her old age). Is the implication that if she had cared for them longer/not been estranged from them, they would abide by a support order? What's the implication for all the rest of us who have aging parents? (I'm not sure that is coming out in the way that I intend it. I should probably say "what's the implication for society at large?")

I also find it fascinating that the lawyer is working pro bono.
 

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but MG as i said, she didn't "abandon" her children. She abandoned one child, and one child only.

the other "children" (not including darryl) were 21, 19 and 17 when the parents moved from osoyoos to the kootenays in 1979.

the 21-year-old could never claim "abandonment." The 19-year-old had already voluntarily left the parental home the previous year, so she wasn't abandoned. It's not totally clear, but it appears the 17-year-old moved to the kootenays with his parents.

that leaves only one child, aged 15, homeless in osoyoos.

as for any idea that the older children were "abandoned," surely we do not want our expensive courts' time tied up for one second attending to the psychiatric anguishes of grown men & women who feel their parents didn't do a good enough job. There are therapists for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Are we reading the same article, HP?

The case is not whether the mom "abandoned" the kids. The case is about whether they owe her a duty of care expressed as financial support.

The newspaper story presents the view that the children should not be compelled to support their mom because "she abandoned them" - but that is NOT what the court case is about.

If I could link to the case itself I would, but the article is all I have.
 

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anyone who pleases can be interested in the case only. Flintlock mcleod is the torchbearer here, sticking strictly to the jurisprudence, not even bothering to meet his client, which is why his answers to the journalist who questioned him for her article sound somewhat bizarre. He's speaking to make legal history. The reporter wants to write for the bleeding hearts.

and i for one am saying that it's the bleeding-heart article which is going to catch and keep public attention like a double fish hook. And MG you are the lady what opened pandora's box & brought us the article, no ? so now, i do beg of you, please do not try to stuff your genie back in the box by saying It's. Just. A. Cut. And. Dried. Legal. Matter. After. All.

will the public thirst to hear the dry details of common law precedents that have forced adults to pay for each other in the past ?

or is the public going to slaver over the tabloid details of this poor family's multi-decade-long dysfunctional life ?

in the end, it will be impossible to separate the two. The barrister's pleadings, the social workers' testimonies and the public tear-jerking over abandonment issues are going to flash back and forth like summer sheet lightning.

that's why i'm interested in the larger story, and i'll be happy to have the legal outcome settle up as it may.

PS i'll always take a journalist's side but in this case i'm sorry to say that i believe the journalist bought totally into a story created by a slick PR agent hired by the adult children or by their lawyer. Ken was singled out as being the most "sympa" of the 4 children, the one whose story could most effectively demonize his mother.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh my goodness, I would never argue that this is a cut and dried legal issue.

I am clearly not making my point...which was supposed to be that, wow, did you know that children can be sued to provide financial support to a parent? I had heard about this, but had never heard of an actual case. And here is one!

All I meant to say was that the specifics of this particular case are less interesting to me than the fact that there IS a case. Can we be friends again? :eek:
 

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as for the whole question of enforced financial support between and among related adults, i believe that there may also be shadowy laws somewhere reciting that able grown children can sue their parents for permanent support because ... because ... i'm not sure why, maybe because they just don't feel like working.

i for one am flummoxed by stuff like this. Fortunately it seems so rare as to be freak news. Perhaps that's because there's a profound unconscious taboo against the repulsive idea of living off your own flesh and blood by legal edict ...

hmmmn are there any social historians among us. At some point quite recently in the evolution of western civ, people moved to care for their weak, ill & dying on a broad national and universal basis, rather than on an older & more primitive basis of tribal/kinship/family connection.

and are we moving back now.

a detail in the bc story. Some judge, as a temporary arrangement, has already ordered the 4 children to pay a token amount, something like $10 each, to their mother each month. I wonder if the trial judge might eventually hand down a permanent decision along such lines. Something that would oblige the children to pay a tolerable amount, while also obliging the mother to collect the best she can from social assistance available to her & to bloody well learn to live with the total.

i think the precedent of any decision permanently awarding any sum of money from the children to their parent will be heavy. No wonder barrister mcleod seized the pro bono. It's his chance to make legal history.

as MG says, some fizz for your retirement planning.
 

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absolutely the children are entitled to defend themselves, but lurid tabloid-style journalism is not the venue for it. That venue will be the courtroom in august.

by throwing his or her 4 clients prematurely at the media, any lawyer for the 4 children is betraying the weakness of his or her case. Good lawyers don't seek out the media ahead of a trial. They don't attempt to try their cases through the press. They instruct their clients to maintain silence as well.

at the opposite end of the spectrum, look at how skilfully conrad black & attorney miguel estrada keep stringing the papparazzi along while telling them nothing more salubrious than that, yes indeed, his lordship did enjoy a glass of wine on the evening he regained the soon-to-be-history splendours of his mansion in palm beach.
 

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I think the article explains that none of the children have a lawyer. They are all representing themselves.

I think Ken was singled out for the story simply because the journalist knew that it would make for a more interesting story.
 

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The idea that any adult should be held legally responsible for another is quite frankly abhorent to me.

People should be responsible for child support until 18 and education of that child.

Wives/husbands their half of the marital assets but no ongoing income.

Mother's suing kids no way.

If you don't like how much money you get go get a job. Can't get a job rely on OW. Don't like it? Too bad, you leech.

No one owes anyone a free life.
 

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it's a little odd to find a message vilifying the mother in anderson v anderson when the party posting has gone to great lengths to explain here in this forum that, although no longer young themselves, they are living in a house generously bought & paid for by their own parents because they could never afford the same on their own.

i happen to believe that the topic of forced support among related adults is going to broaden over the next few years as we approach eras of fewer productive workers & more ageing dependents. In the same vein, canadians are beginning to openly discuss the ethics of euthanasia for the terminally ill at an earlier stage. I tend to believe that right-wing lobbies & presumably also some liberal-left thinkers are supporting these philosophies in hopes of lowering or at least eventually stabilizing taxpayer burdens.

in discussing this topic, namely, that canada may be embarking upon a stumbling path towards mixed family & government assistance for the elderly, i don't think that name-calling & invective will be helpful. What would be helpful is a calm focus upon the facts of the individual cases that will form the jurisprudence.

an important legal precedent in bc, when anderson comes to trial this month, will be newsom v newsom. This 1997 case is even more interesting because it consists of a lower court judgment - which denied support to an estranged father who sued for it - that was reversed by the BC court of appeals, which imposed a $200 per month payment upon at least one of the adult children.

not that my opinion matters, but if i were the judge in anderson this month, i'd order that the mother appear in my court even if she has to be carried in on a stretcher. I'd want to know something about her mental state. I'd also absolutely insist that her social workers testify.

btw noob i believe you are misquoting the article. Look again, more closely. Article recites that one of the adult children is being represented by his wife. Article offers zero details about counsel for the other 3.
 

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@ Humble Pie

Not sure who you're talking about... I'm thinking it's me... I'd suggest you dust off your reading glasses.

My parents do own my home but they did not generously buy or pay for it. They did help me buy in that I could not qualify for the mortgage due to my self employment status.

I paid for the whole damn shebang unfortunately the title is still in their name thanks to their help. It also means I sit on about $300,000 worth of equity, that I cannot use ever. Considering what I do for a living it really rankles at the best of times.

Glad I could clear this up for you.
 
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