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Mental Illness and Adult Children

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  • Mental Illness and Adult Children

    I'm looking for some advice on how my husband and I should handle the below situation:

    I have 2 children: D11 and S7
    Husband has 3 children: D18, D17 and S10.

    We have had little to no contact with D18 and D17 for approximately 5 years although we regularly see S10 (every Wed and EOW).

    D18 attempted suicide last year and was treated.
    This year she started univeristy - we continued to pay support and contributed to her schooling expenses.

    Late November D18 attempted suicide again. She was removed from school and hospitalized. She is now partially back at home and partially residing in a hospital.

    We are having a very difficult time receiving any information on her actual status. We did not even find out about the suicide attempt until a week after the attempt had occurred. D18 has authorized her right to privacy and will not allow doctors to speak to us regarding her issues. D18's mother has been less than forthcoming as well.

    Obviously she is not fit to attend school. She is also likely unfit to support herself and thus withdraw from parental charge. So where do we go from here? We are currently continuing to pay child support but have some concerns about the precedence we are setting. Obviously she is in need of assistance and we don't want to pull the rug out from her or her mother, however, what kind of responsibility to either (or both) of them bear in keeping us informed? At what point does this become the new status quo? Does this mean that we will continue to pay CS for her indefinitely?


  • #2
    Firstly, I am sincerely sorry to hear that D18 has attempted to end her life.

    Now would definitely not be the time to pursue ending CS. She is still 'a child of the marriage'

    Termination of Child Support in Ontario // Solution to Your Support Payment and Family Responsibility Office (FRO) Problems<

    As for obtaining information about her condition, you need D18's consent. The privacy act regarding health information, especially mental health has a lot of red tape. Unless she is deemed globally incapable and a SDM consents (doubtful she would be) your not going to get any info.

    I would suggest phoning the hospital and have them request consent from her to release information as to her well being to her father. If she says no, you remain where you are but she knows he cared enough to try, if she says yes, it opens other doors.

    Best of luck.


    • #3
      That's a tough one. Anything you do formally (letters from lawyers etc) would be highly offensive to the mother and would likely only alienate the daughter further. Does your husband have any contact whatsoever with the mother? If they are on speaking terms then your husband could ask to meet up with her to discuss the daughter's health issues. Sometimes young adults, who have not lived at home for a period of time, are considered wards of the province and can receive financial assistance. Then the two parents could perhaps look at other ways to assist her. I would think it is important for the parents to get together and talk about different options.

      You don't want the parents meeting up at the funeral, wishing they had done all that they could do to help their daughter.


      • #4
        Try to look at it this way. If in a few years your D11 or S7 was having the same type of problems... would you not continue to do everything you can to help and support them?

        Or, if your husband had stayed with his ex, would he not be doing everything he could to help and support his daughter?

        It's unfortunate he's not able to get any health information, but the same situation could arise under any of those scenarios.


        • #5
          Hi Everyone,

          Thank you for your responses. We don't want to stop supporting her, but our concern is that they have been less than forthcoming regarding her actual well-being. In response to Paris: íf my children were having this problem and refusing to share their medical information, then for their own safety they would be in a hospital as how can I could I properly watch/care for them without knowing what's wrong.

          The questions stem mostly from frustration. We really want to know what's going on. We have tried contacting the hospital but are getting stonewalled. Medical priviledge starts at 16 and is sacrosant. Not a bad thing, but not helpful in our case. They won't tell us a thing.

          I was sort of hoping that there was some sort of legal precedence. Once I know what we're legally obligate to do, that gives us a jumping off point and a place to start discussions with D18's mother. I'm not saying by any means that we'll stick with the bare minimum of obligation - we never have, but it gives us a basis to start from.

          Thank you again everyone.


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