My ex-boyfriend was killed in an accident. Since he was unmarried and my child was his only surviving child, he was awarded a large sum of money in the ensuing lawsuit. Since he was 10 years old at the time, I set up a pension that is to be distributed between the ages of 18 and 35. Because of this, he will also receive great interest.
Two years after the settlement (4 years after the accident) my attorney received a letter stating that there was another child whose mother wanted them to be included in the settlement. We never knew about this other child because the relationship between them ended badly and the mother told my ex that he was not the father and never allowed him to see the child. She named the child after another man.
She knew of the death, but did not come to the funeral or send the child. As it turned out, she knew about the lawsuit in advance and was told to wait for it to finish and get on. She went on to prove paternity by taking a test with her grandfather. After she has exhausted all efforts and sued me personally, she has no more legal options. She has now asked if the two can have a relationship.
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My child is still a minor and their child is now 20. I think it would be inappropriate given the bad blood between us and the two children who never meet (they never spoke on the phone and they never saw each other in person). She also asked if we could give the other child “something” from the settlement.
I also suspect the timing because my child will turn 18 this year and receive money from his pension. But the pension is set up so that my child doesn't get a lot of money early, and if it's broken giving them a piece, it costs almost $ 500,000 in interest. I know he can probably start another, but I doubt the interest will be the same.
My son said that he doesn't want a relationship and doesn't want to give the other son anything from the settlement. He feels that he has other siblings (my other children) whom he could help in front of (in his words) "a stranger". I feel like both young men are suffering. I do not know what to do. I want my child's future to be secure, but I also think the other child should get something.
I think this mother should have secured the future of her child as I did with mine. Do I have a moral obligation to encourage my son to be in a relationship with him or to give him money?
A mother who doesn't always know best
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No. It is your duty to protect your son. This woman had a duty to please her son and her son's father. She lied about his paternity when your ex-partner was alive and she waited for the lawsuit to be resolved before coming forward to sue you for some of the money she believed was going to be Belongs right to her son. There were two big mistakes on her part. The statute of limitations on the case has expired and it has created enough turmoil for you and your son.
Your last resort is to try emotional blackmail. Her son has made it clear that he wants to keep the settlement and does not want to have a relationship with her son. He also rightly suspects that this boy's and his mother's motives are not pure. In developing a relationship with you and your family, this woman seems eager to get involved in your life, not with a lawsuit, but with a guilt trip and a smile. You are not responsible for your son. You have endured enough.
It's time to get on with your life. Tell this woman the truth. Wish her the best, stop replying to her emails, letters, calls, or text messages, and move on.
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Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch's Moneyist columnist. You can email The Moneyist at firstname.lastname@example.org with any financial or ethical questions. By emailing your questions, you consent to them being published anonymously on MarketWatch.