I live on my own and am relatively financially stable. A few years ago my parents got divorced. Things didn't go smoothly between them and they went to court a number of times.

I never fully understood the details but my dad always said that the courts had ordered both him and my mom to give me money because I am young or was still in school or something like that. He claims that my mom didn't give me the money owed, and that he wants 4 years worth of financial records from me. My dad had given a series of post dated checks and made it clear this was his contribution. My mom seemed to haphazardly give me money. It was very confusing as I was covered by both of my parents extended medical and sometimes my mom would include these payments with the reimbursement from medical. Also she would sometimes direct transfer money into my bank account so I didn't know it was coming from her. For the record it wouldn't be unusual for my mom not to be fully honest and for my dad to be bad at explaining things.

I'm not sure what to do. My dad basically wants income statements from the past 4 years, which I don't really have on hand. I guess a question I could ask him is if needs everything or would it help if I only had the info for some of my jobs and could guess the rest? (over the past 4 years I have worked at several different places)

How much work, if any should I put into this? Should I start trying to call up past employers and ask to speak to the pay roll department? Should I ignore my dad or say I'm not interested? I don't even know what's fair/moral. I'm an adult now so I guest the caned response is "you're on you're own" but I did find my parents seldom helped me (for example everyone beneath 30 I know had some help from their parents paying for school. Point is it's common in my area to get financial assistance from parents after 18).

My mom once helped me pay rent and latter said it was a gift and I didn't need to pay her back. So there's that.

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    As far as I understand this your mom and dad were supposed to each pay you a sum of money. Your mom X and your dad Y. Your dad has paid Y and has documentation to prove that he paid Y. Your dad, however, wants evidence that your mom has paid X and is asking for documentation that she has paid X. I don't think, however, that your dad needs this documentation to make his case. It is sufficient if he claims that your mom didn't and ask for documentation to prove that she did. If there is no documentation that she did, then that's pretty much the same as if she didn't.
    – user28011
    Jul 18, 2017 at 15:25
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    Of course it helps his case if he can show that there is no evidence that she paid by showing no transfers to your bank account. But this is something that your mom and him have to and probably can sort out between themselves.
    – user28011
    Jul 18, 2017 at 15:27
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    this is a legal question and has absolutely nothing to do with parenting. a forum full of parents is not the place to ask for legal advice. just because it has to do with your parents does not make it relevant. Jul 18, 2017 at 19:21
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    @anongoodnurse - you are wrong. maybe the rules aren't enforced here the same way they're enforced on so but the "how to ask" section clearly states.. "Is your question about parenting? We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed." - not only is the question not about parenting (it's about child-ing, if anything) but it's also asking for opinions .. Jul 19, 2017 at 18:29
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    I agree with @anongoodnurse. "Child-ing" and parenting are two sides of the same coin - looking at the same parenting relationship from two perspectives. To put it another way, this is a "Parenting" site, not just a "Parents" site. The question is appropriate here, and it is entirely possible that some of us could have helpful answers for the OP.
    – user16557
    Jul 20, 2017 at 19:17

6 Answers 6


If you are happy with the way it was handled & feel satisfied, then no I wouldn't do a thing. If you don't have some axe to grind with your mom & are not intending to get money out of her, then you have no dog in this fight. So if that is true, you don't want to try to get your mom to pay you more money, then this is how I would handle dad.

I would say, I am grateful for the support you and mom have given me in my life. It has helped me tremendously in getting myself set up to be self sufficient. I don't know what all was worked out between you two and the agreement on who would pay what, but I am not comfortable being stuck in the middle like this & being asked to help you sort out something that is about me and whether I got what you think she was supposed to give. If I didn't, that is between me & mom, not you & mom. I understand you two still apparently have unfinished business you haven't come to peace with, but I am trying to move on since the divorce, find my new normal for how family feels & heal. I would hope you could help that healing by focusing on my relationship with you & making that great instead of digging into my financials to argue with mom some more.

Helping someone financially is no excuse for feeling like you are entitled to their personal business & documents. That just isn't how it works. I have two grown kids I adopted, I have helped them out, it didn't entitle me to make choices for their lives, tell them what to do, have access to see what sort of money they had to validate their need for my help, etc. That is overly invasive & uncalled for. If it were me (it's not though, its you, so you have to decide) I would just not do it & explain it like I said. It would feel invasive to me and like he wasn't respecting my boundaries or my right to privacy. Helping someone financially is not a purchase of their rights & privacy. It's not, not even when it's your kid.


This is a definite "talk to a lawyer" case. There's some wiggle room here to work it out between adults, but "talk to a lawyer" would have to be the default judgement here.

The key wording for me is:

He claims that my mom didn't give me the money owed, and that he wants 4 years worth of financial records from me.

I think it's reasonable from this phrasing to assume that he explicitly intends to use your financial records as weapons in the legal battle between your father and your mother. As their intended use is legal proceedings against your mother, it seems very reasonable to say this is the right time to talk with a lawyer.

I can't speak to your specific family, as all I know is what I glean from 5 paragraphs of text, but can say that "family is family." It's generally recommended that money given to a family member be treated as a gift, because debts and family don't mix. Thus, what your dad is asking is basically to say that your mother should not be treated as your family. She should be treated as a stranger, who is held directly accountable for their debts.

Now whether she should be treated as family or not is your business, not mine. But fundamentally, your dad is asking you to treat her like a stranger. As such, one has to ponder whether you should be treating your dad as a stranger as well, in the name of equality and fairness. If so, you have a stranger asking you to provide financial information to them. This is why the answer is "talk to a lawyer."

If you wish to treat them like family (and, generally speaking, that'd be the usual recommendation), then you should engage your father and try to understand why he feels the need to use financials as a weapon against your mother. While I can't say what to do once you do understand his point of view, I'm quite confident that the path to healing always starts with understanding.

Maybe your dad is just trying to hurt your mom. Maybe you mom is actually doing something nefarious that hurts you financially. We may never know. But no matter what, don't do anything which could hurt your mother unless you feel that is the right course of action to take. If you're fine with how she handled the finances, then you haven't truly been wronged by her.


Why does your father needs the records?

Is it for "planning a retortion against your mother" or for some legitimate reason? Ask a lawyer to better understand what he may be up to and to know what data (if any) you are required by the law to disclose to him.

Are you happy with your current financial situation?

If you are and you do not feel any of them owes you something, in case you are required to disclose make sure that your disclosure includes also the "unofficial" money your mother gave you as a gift.

Talk to a lawyer

Really, do.


Unless either your dad or yourself desperately need money, I cannot see how doing this can lead to a positive outcome.

There is a real chance your mother has cheated you, and maybe even your dad, out of money you're owed. That sucks. But if you start fighting for money with your mother (or assist your father in fighting her), this will destroy any relationship you still have with her. Because it seems you don't need the money, I'd say it isn't worth it.


If you don't feel comfortable giving him the records, don't. Don't worry that you're going to get in trouble for doing so. UNTIL and UNLESS you get a subpoena. THEN you are going to either need to consult an attorney about quashing it OR you need to comply.

Note that subpoenas aren't the same as a court order. In many states, they're issued by the attorney in the party, and they can be fought if the subpoena is too broad, improper, or a host of other reasons.

Bottom line is that you need to do what you're comfortable with, unless ordered otherwise by a court.


It sounds like your father is trying to maintain control over something that was his responsibility when you were young (your financial welfare) but now that you are an adult, you need to decide whether you wish this to continue. If you don't, then telling him that you are fine now and you no longer need financial assistance and he doesn't have to worry about that might be a good thing for you both. Make it clear that you appreciate his concern, and bring up how he has always taken care of you, but let him know that you are no longer a child.

Try not to focus too much on what you don't want to do with him, and more on what you do. Do you go out and do things with him, interact with him other than in financial matters? If not, you might try that. Maybe he wants to maintain a connection with you and this is how he is trying to accomplish it. It is often difficult for parents to transition from treating their children as children, and forge a new way to interact with the adults that their children have become.

You don't want him to feel like you are rejecting your relationship with him, only this particular aspect (ie, that he is responsible for enforcing your mother's "obligations" to you). Telling him you just want to put "this" (this being the messiness and the bad feelings and bad memories) behind you, and step into something more positive and good, might help him to let go. If you just say you want to forgive your mother, it yanks on what is probably a deep well of anger in him. Instead, ask him to help you put aside a painful time in your lives, and find something better. Let him focus on your welfare, only in a different way. He's your dad, and he always will be. It's up to the two of you to define what that means.

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