Am I responsible for taking care of my aging parents?

There is a law on the books called “filial responsibility” which are laws that impose a duty upon third parties, usually (but not always) adult children for the support of their impoverished parents or other relatives. This law exists on the books of half the states in the US. If you are unsure if you live in a state that has this law, you can always check with an elder care attorney to find out.


There are many reasons that may require you to take care of a parent, often related to self-neglect. An older person may develop dementia, depression, be in poverty, have a disease or feel isolated. If you are in a state that does not have the “filial responsibility” and you have a parent that cannot take care of themselves, then you can contact a local agency such as Adult Protective Services. They have a number of resources available to them in cases of self-neglect.


One thing that you can do if you live in a state that has the filial law on the books and you do not want to take care of your parent, is legally divorce your parent. You will need to contact an attorney in your state to get assistance with the filing. Make sure you gather all your info to make the case as to why you cannot take care of your parent. If it is financial, make sure you have good proof of your financial situation and the burden it may cause you to take care of your parent. If you are emotionally disconnected from your parent and you have no relationship, then you will have to be prepared to demonstrate the disconnect.


There are other options available as well, such as becoming a conservator. You will need to speak with an attorney to find out if this is the best approach for you. If so, you will be required to attend a class to learn how to become a legal conservator.

(Tags - responsibility of children )