Adult Support Obligations of Elderly Parents – Part II

November 21, 2006 Hull & Hull LLP Uncategorized Tags: , 0 Comments

Yesterday, I reviewed the facts in Godwin v. Bolcso [1993] O.P.J. No. 297. Today, I will review the law and consider the court’s decision.

According to the court, section 32 of the FLA required three questions to be asked: (1) Did Veronica provide support to her children? (2) Did she provide care? (3) Was she in financial need?

The court held that Veronica was, in fact, in financial need. Given her age, Veronica had difficulty securing employment. She owed income tax. Veronica also had health needs and could not afford proper medical care.

In terms of care and support, the question the court posed was what care and support for children would reasonably have been expected from a parent in the circumstances in which the family found itself? Minimum or maximum measurements were to be avoided.

The court defined support as such things as housing, food, clothing, health, recreational activities, vacation, travelling expenses, as well as nursing and medical attention during illness. Reasonable care was defined as such care as an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under the conditions existing at the time he or she was called upon to act.

The Court found that Veronica did provide as much care as reasonably might be expected of her in the circumstances. Moreover, the conditions existing in the 1950s and 1960s were relevant in judging Veronica’s level and skill of parenting.

In the end, the court held that Veronica’s children had a financial obligation to support their mother and so ordered. The court invited the parties to agree on an amount; otherwise the court would fix an amount. The court also declined to impose a termination date and held that support could run for an indefinite period of time.

In conclusion, the Godwin case stands for the clear proposition that a court can order a child to financially support a destitute parent, who had provided the requisite level of care in support.

Have a good day.

Justin de Vries.

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