B.C. siblings being sued by mom lose bid to end case
Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011 1:13PM PDT
A B.C. mother who has been trying to sue her adult children for additional financial support for more than a decade can proceed with her case, but only if she complies with a previous court order.
Shirley Anderson, 73, successfully filed for support from her five children in 2000 using a rarely-used clause in the B.C. Family Relations Act, but was awarded only $10 a month from each child. An appeal for more money was dismissed, and lay dormant until 2008.
She now wants four of her estranged children to provide her with $750 a month each, despite their claim that she abandoned them when they were teenagers.
In September, three of Anderson's children filed to have her suit thrown out, arguing that years of waiting for the case to see trial had caused them undue stress, expense and inconvenience.
In a ruling posted Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke refused to dismiss the case, writing that the mother's claim for support "is an ongoing one, which would not be defeated by a limitation period."
"If the current proceedings were dismissed for want of prosecution, it would remain possible for the claimant to start a new proceeding," Ehrcke added.
But Anderson must comply with a previous court order that she provide a financial statement and submit to questioning by her children's lawyers before the suit can move forward.
A section of the B.C. Family Relations Act ensures that "a child is liable to maintain and support a parent having regard to the other responsibilities and the reasonable needs of the chid."
The section dates back to 1922, before the existence of pensions, and has only been used a dozen times since 1927. The clause has been recommended for repeal by the B.C. Law Institute.
Anderson, who has never worked, claims to receive $1,500 a month from the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security but says she can't afford to make ends meet.
She also suffers from lupus and arthritis, and says she can't afford her medications.
Her 47-year-old son Ken has said he has no intention of paying his estranged mother more, describing her suit as a "nightmare" and arguing "you should not have to pay when you're left behind at 15. It's not right."
If Anderson does not provide an up-to-date financial statement by Dec. 2 and appear in Trail, B.C. by Jan. 30, 2012 for questioning, her case may well be dismissed, Ehrcke said.