This house believes children should have legal obligations towards parents after adulthood.

If children had a legal obligation towards their parents after adulthood they would be responsible for the care of their parents in much the same way that a parent is legally responsible for the care of their children. This would legalise the assumption that adult children should look after parents. Historically the elderly have always needed the support of their offspring and the community in order to survive and this is still the case morally, but legally, a child in many parts of the world has no obligation to provide for their parents, with the responsibility of care often falling to the state in economically developed countries. India, Israel and Taiwan there are laws in place to force adult children to support their parents and in China parents can make their adult children sign a voluntary but legally binding Family Support Agreement. Similarly a dozen American states, including California and Illinois, have civil law in place that allows parents and grandparents to sue their descendants if they are in need of support that their children fail to provide willingly. In the United Kingdom the Elizabethan Poor Law made parents and children legally responsible for each other from 1601 until 1967: now no such law exists. Proponents would argue that it is important children provide for their elders, particularly in times when the provision of state pensions is becoming less economically viable, however opponents may question a society and a parent-child relationship that needs a law in place to enforce an obligation that should be a moral and not legal issue.


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