On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Taiwan ordered a son to pay his mother an "upbringing fee" of more than USD754,000, with additional interest bringing the total to more than USD967,000
In Taiwan, adult offsprings are legally prohibited from abandoning their elderly parents. Most parents, though, do not sue if their children fail to take care of them in old age.
However, in this case, the mother did sue her dentist son as he had signed a parent-child contract with his mother 20 years ago but failed to honour it.
In the contract, the mother and son had agreed — signed when he was 20 — that the son must pay the mother 60% of the net profit from his incomes.
After they had signed the contract, the mother had financed her son's dental training. She sued him eight years ago asserting that he had broken a written agreement to support her from the proceeds of his dental practice.
On 2 January, the Supreme Court sided with the mother, ordering the son to pay up.
The mother raised her two sons on her own after she and their father divorced in 1990. She putting them through dental school
She, however, was worried that nobody would look after her when she got old.
Luo, who was identified only by her surname, then signed the contracts with both her sons in 1997 after they turned 20. The mother claimed that she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars funding both her sons through dental school.
While the elder son reached an agreement with his mother and settled the contract for a smaller amount, the younger son, identified by his last name Chu, argued that he was very young when he signed the agreement.
He claimed that the contract should be considered invalid as it violated "good customs" as raising a child should not be measured in financial terms.
He went to a lower court against his mother where he told the court that he worked in his mother's dental clinic and repaid her more than USD1 million.
The lower court had ruled in favour of the younger son, after which the mother appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Taiwan
In the Supreme Court, while the son argued the fact he signed the contract when he was only 20 his debt should be cleared, the judges disagreed.
They ruled that because the son was an adult when he signed the contract and was not forced to do so, he was responsible for satisfying its terms.