why there’s an independence day

filial statutes: 30 states have versions of a law on the books which nursing homes are using to sue the children of parents with outstanding medical bills

“There are three or four major lawyers in Pennsylvania who specialize in representing nursing homes and hospitals, and one of their favorite tools is Pennsylvania’s filial statute. Dietrich is one of them,” says Pearson, an expert on the arcane issue, also known as “support of indigents.”

“These attorneys will bring suit against adult children even if the children live out of state and even if it’s been years since they had contact with their parent.”

The legal concept of requiring children to support their parents predates colonial America.

“It’s a noble theory, a law to make families responsible for each other,” Pearson notes. “It didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now.”

In fact, she adds, filial cases usually “end any real possibility of the family reuniting.”. . .


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