A 73-year-old woman from British Columbia, Canada is suing her adult children for parental support, despite them claiming that she abandoned them over 30 years ago.
Shirley Anderson began her claim nearly 12 years ago under section 90 of the B.C. Family Relations Act. The Act ensures that adult children must legally support parents “dependent on a child because of age, illness, infirmity or economic circumstances”.
Her son Kevin Anderson, 47, is fighting his mother’s claim for $750 (£486) a month as he claims that she moved away and left him and his siblings to fend for themselves when he was 15 years old.
He said: “We don’t have a relationship. I haven’t talked to her in years and years and years. She’s just out to make our life miserable.”
Since 2000, Shirley was initially awarded $10 per month per child. But truck-driver Ken claims he cannot afford to pay as much as his mother is asking for.
He said: “I’m done paying her and if the court awards her more money, after she’s used government money to go after us for the last 12 years, I won’t pay a cent. We have our own family and we haven’t saved for our own retirement.
“If you have good parents, like my wife’s parents, you don’t mind helping. My upbringing was just brutal, and I was basically abandoned at age 15.”
However, Shirley denies abandoning her children stating: “It’s alleged I abandoned them in their teens, but Ken lived with us until he was 18. Our daughter got a brand new car on her graduation.”
She added: “[My children] are not destitute; they still take trips to Hawaii while I’m forced to live under the poverty line.”
Ken’s lawyer requested that the judge throw out the case on Monday (19 September) since Shirley had not submitted certain financial documents that the court had ordered. The judge has reserved his decision on the case.
In the UK, for many years the Poor Law of 1601 saw adult children caring for their elderly and infirm parents and grandparents. However, this law was repealed in 1948 and there is currently no legal responsibility for adult children to support their parents.
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