Case Story 3 - CMP Understood Why No Maintenance from Child

Background:

Mr Tan, aged 58, had approached Social Service Office (SSO) for financial assistance but he was advised to claim maintenance from his only son, John. 

Mr Tan reported that he divorced in 1992 when John was about 6 years old. John was under the mother's custody. His ex-wife did not allow him to visit John though he was given access rights. He has lost contact with his ex-wife and John for the last 30 years. He was unable to provide more information on John.

Mr Tan was staying with his younger brother for free. He lived on financial assistance from the SSO. He suffered from neurological issues and had been certified to be permanently unfit for work since October 2003.

CMP's intervention:

CMP managed to trace John and invited him to attend conciliation. John shared that he did not know who the claimant was when he received CMP's letter to attend conciliation. He had to seek clarification from his mother. He was shocked to know that his biological father was claiming maintenance despite having abandoned him since he was 2 years old. His parents' divorce was finalized when John was about 6 years old.

Mr Tan understood why John refused to maintain him when he was updated on the conciliation outcome.

CMP was of the view that John had some basis for refusing to maintain his father. He should be able to maintain him at a nominal sum as he did not earn a good salary. However, he found it hard to do so because he had never known his father. His father did not meet the criterion of reciprocity of care under the Maintenance of Parents Act.

CMP had since referred Mr Tan to SSO for consideration of public assistance.