Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, June 19, 2017

Seeking Advice

A reader seeks advice in the New York Times Magazine:

After 25 years of marriage and three children, my husband and I divorced. He was a former seminarian and a pro-life Catholic when we married. He insisted on no birth control. When we divorced, he was a lawyer and vice president of a Fortune 500 company. I did not receive any spousal support, but he promised he would always be there for the children. I worked hard and was always able to take care of myself. I felt guilty about the divorce and never asked for more.

Shortly after our divorce, my ex-husband remarried and never again had anything to do with our children. He told the children that they owed him “filial piety,” but apparently he felt he owed them nothing. That was 30 years ago. Over time the children, now adults, have reached out to their father with the help of therapists, but he refuses to have anything to do with them. I have sent letters to him as well but have received no response. He and I have a daughter-in-law and two teenage grandchildren he has never met.

I never remarried. I try to provide emotional and sometimes financial support for our children and grandchildren because I love them. Nothing I do, however, will heal the wounds of being cut off from their father. My question is this: The law says that parents must provide financial support for their children until age 18. But what are the ethical obligations of parents to their children after age 18? Doesn’t a father have an ethical obligation to provide something for the children he has brought into the world? Name Withheld

Read the response here.

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