However, I wonder if you have overlooked one of the main ways you can support him. What if you and your dad had a frank discussion of your respective situations, figuring out a strategy to deal with his financial problems? You can talk about what is reasonable for him to expect from you, depending on your situation. These conversations are bound to be uncomfortable, and it’s possible that both of you avoided them for that reason. But I suspect that facing the problem – with love and respect – would be better than each of you continuing to torment yourself about it. In the end, you will decide what you give him. And a loving father won’t want to undermine your chances of a happy and successful life, whether it’s in the United States or in his hometown closer to him.
For almost a year and a half, we were in the middle of a pandemic with another family, and our kids quickly became friends. We see this family almost every weekend; it’s our only social interaction. A few months ago, right after the kids went to different preschools, the parents suddenly said that they were going to split up, much to our surprise. A few months later, one of the parents with sole custody, claimed that the other parent was mentally ill and recounted some violence.
Another parent has reached out to ask us to write a letter on her behalf to assist in regaining some of her custody. She said her ex-partner’s claims of violence and mental illness were untrue. I wasn’t around for any incident, so I can’t say who’s right and who’s wrong; We merely heard stories. On the other hand, claims of violence could be true, and my account of her character would be false, even though to me it would. On the other hand, if the claims of violence are false, am I supporting a system that is denying my child’s friends interaction with the other parent by not writing on her behalf? I want to do what is in the best interest of the child, while maintaining healthy boundaries. My husband said don’t join, and my instinct is to trust the system. Am I obligated to write a letter on her behalf? Name withheld
Law system to decide child custody issues is not perfect. But it is more likely to work well if decision makers have as much useful information as possible. So describing exactly what you know – and avoiding guesswork about what you don’t – is more helpful than not.
In a custody battle, each parent is often tempted to exaggerate the other’s flaws. While things have changed since your time together, relevant is (as I assume) both of your friends are proving to be responsible and caring parents. them when you spend time with them. You worry that your character’s claims will be false, even though “true to me.” Really, they are true or not. The fact that you phrase it this way emphasizes your uncertainty about how well you know. So make it clear that you can only talk about what you are there to see. The parent who solicited the letter is the one to file it with the court, and she wouldn’t if she or her attorney backed it up. However, this is one case where the adage “write what you know” is worth remembering.
Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at NYU His books include “Cosmivism,” “The Honor Rule,” and “The Binding Lie: Rethinking Identity.” To submit a query: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or write to The Ethicist, The New York Times Magazine, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018. (Include daytime phone numbers.)
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/22/magazine/parents-financial-assistance-ethics.html How Much I Debt My Indebted Father How Much Help?