What can I do if we have elderly parents who are being taken advantage of by one son?
I hope someone can help me clarify this situation, what the potential outcomes are, and the best course of action. We have elderly parents who are being taken advantage of by one son, Jim. For the past 20 years, Jim has never been able to grow up, in spite of being married & divorced, married again & widowed, and now he's living w/someone. He has custody of 2 children, and a 3rd lives with his ex-wife.
He has refused any type of self-improvement. Turned down a FREE college education to play video games. Gave up a well-paying job as as a trucker with a CDL because he didn't like being away from home. Most of his "career" has been delivering soft drinks & beer to quick-marts.
We estimate based on how much we think he's been given in recent years that his monthly shortfall is about $600-700. He & his common-law wife smoke 2+ packs a day, and she's now on disability for her emphysema and COPD and yes, still puffing away. And frankly her disability check is the only time she's ever managed to have an income, so kudos to her for her deathly habit - at least it's paid off! The children get SS survivor benefits, a few hundred each month. So their actual income is probably around around or just under $30K/year for a family of four - minus the child support that they state garnishes from his paycheck.
The parents have already declared bankruptcy once. This past year my husband and I hired a lawyer because although they cannot declare bankruptcy again, their income cannot be attached by any creditor because it's all disability, SS, and military retirement. Their creditors cannot get a dime. This also means they no longer have any credit available to them. We thought the lack of credit might force them to cut Jim off. Alas, they now give him their cash, and then call us when they can't afford groceries or meds.
I want to at least refuse all financial assistance no matter how painful to watch. I'd like to force my mother-in-law to finally say NO. (She and Jim are in a very unhealthy co-dependent relationship and my father-in-law has early dementia so cannot get between them to protect himself.) However, I told my husband that they ONLY reason I don't call APS is because it's his mother and I feel like he & his other brother should make that call. If this were happening to total strangers, I'd call APS.
Also, I fear that if this all unravels, the children will end up in foster care, or the question will be asked if we would take them. Nobody in the family is emotionally or financially prepared to start all over again with young children.
It's just the worst situation all the way around. I'd like to think if Jim's world came crashing down, he'd grow up and do something about it. But I don't believe that would happen.
I have already made it clear that NO MORE money is leaving our home for this problem. I have a senior in high school and I need to prepare to help him get out into the world. I have another that's a sophomore. I'll soon have four people with driver's licenses but only two cars. We need reliable transportation because my children are expected to work and contribute. I work at a start-up that like all start-ups is fragile in this economy. My husband works in a not-for-profit. Things are tight! I can't fail my own family just because Jim always fails his. And yet I'm letting the fear of the potential outcomes hang over me and prevent me from acting... help...