Can you sue your family?

Can you sue your kids for support? If you live in parts of Western Canada then it appears you can. It turns out there is a section in the British Columbia Family Relations Act that legally obliges adult children to support a dependent parent.

This act is under Section 90 and is currently under consideration to be repealed. It was set up back in the recession after the first world war where situations could be quite desperate. The act was put into place when unemployment was rampant and there were no public pension funds. The act was put into place to protect the sick and poverty-stricken.

A hearing in the B.C. Supreme Court should help to establish if this archaic law will stay on the books or be struck. There is a case with Shirley Anderson, now 71, which will be heard in early August. Shirley made a claim against her children, Brian (52), Donna (50), Keith (48) and Ken (46) in 2000 and was awarded an interim judgement of $50 per month - $10 per month per child. There was another child Darryl who was named in the original suit but has since been dropped.

The current amount being sought is $300-$350 per month from the remaining four children. The children fear that they will be held responsible for the financial support of their mother.

Shirley left Ken on his own at 15 years-old to support himself. Only Darryl, who has been in and out of jail for most of his adult life, have had a relationship with Shirley. Brian has attempted to rebuild a relationship with his mother over the years without a positive result. Donna attended counselling with her mother and brother Darryl. Keith has not talked to his mother in years.

It appears that the court is not overly concerned about Shirley's parenting abilities. The four defendants have been ordered to provide financial statements showing their income and expenses over the last 10 years.

TurnersTips will update this story as we receive more information on the outcome of the case.

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