The Supreme Court has just released its decision in the very last claim for parental support that will ever be heard in this province.
In Anderson v. Anderson and others, a mother sued her five adult child for parental support. The case began in 2000 with an interim order that each of the children pay their mother $10 per month. The mother lost her appeal of the interim decision, and the case lay dormant until 2008 when she filed a Notice of Intention to Proceed. Although the case was again beset by delay, it was at last heard at a summary trial in the summer of 2012.
Without getting into the nuts and bolts of the decision, the court held that none of the children had the means to pay parental support to their mother once their incomes had been applied to cover the needs of their own families, and that even if the children had the means to pay parental support, the mother was not morally entitled to support as a result of her historic treatment of the children and their present estrangement from her.
Section 90 of the Family Relations Act, the section which allowed parents to sue their adult children for support, was repealed on 24 November 2011 when the Family Law Act received royal assent. Although the essential concept of parental support has a long history in British Columbia, being first implemented in the 1920s in the economic turmoil following the end of the first World War, the present legislature seems to have considered the section to be the cause of too much domestic strife and to provide too little return for too much costs to be allowed to survive. Justly so.