Dentist ordered to pay mother for raising him

TAIPEI • Taiwan's top court has ordered a dentist to pay his mother around NT$22.33 million (S$1 million) as reimbursement for the money she spent raising and educating him.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the 41-year-old, identified by his family name Chu, should honour a contract he signed with his mother 20 years ago, promising to refund her.

The plaintiff, surnamed Lo, divorced her husband in 1990 and raised their two sons on her own.

Worried that nobody would look after her when she got old, Madam Lo signed the contracts with her sons after they both turned 20, stipulating that they must pay her 60 per cent of the net profit from their incomes.

Madam Lo accused her sons of ignoring her after they both got into relationships, saying their girlfriends even sent her letters through their lawyers demanding that she not "bother" her sons, according to local reports.

She filed the lawsuit eight years ago when they refused to honour the contracts. The elder son eventually paid her NT$5 million to settle the case. Her younger son claimed that the contract violated "good customs" as raising a child should not be measured in financial terms, and went to court against his mother.

Madam Lo appealed all the way to the Supreme Court after a lower court ruled in favour of her son.

The Supreme Court said the contract was valid as Mr Chu was an adult when he signed it and that as a dentist, he was capable of repaying his mother.

The verdict drew mixed reactions. "I believe everyone should want to repay their parents for raising them once they've grown old," Taipei dentist Wu Chih-hang, 30, said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'Dentist ordered to pay mother for raising him'. Print Edition | Subscribe