Boobybunny, that should go into some kind of posting hall of fame.
One thought for your aunt: Tell her to stop worrying about her son. She's now done saving for him and putting him through school. Sucks, but he will now have to do the rest on his own, and maybe for him that's not such a bad thing, if he's "soft" on goals. Meanwhile, she needs to focus on restoring her retirement. She's still got a long way to go and will need more the older she gets.
Beyond that -- What boobybunny's talking about is exactly why none of us can afford to skip child support, unless we have big plans for poverty in old age and a mountain of debt for our kids. Don't shrug and say "he has no money" -- well, he has no money now, but if he has money anytime in the next 30-40 years, it'll be recoverable, and you will never know when you'll need that money.
Most of you here are a bunch younger than me. When I was in my early 20s, I gave very little thought to things like retirement or the needs of old age -- it was forever away, my own parents were still in their prime, and I just figured with a toss of the old shoulder there that if I was poor, so what, I'd work forever. School debt, who cared. Everything would be as it always was, or at least the way it had been for the last five years.
Well, they don't call middle age "the hill" for nothing. Not just because bits of you start falling off as you roll downhill, but because from here you can see the beginning and the end, and you know it'll be a much faster trip down than it was up. My grandma is 87 and failing; my parents are in their mid-60s and starting to grow old. I see what it is now to live a long time old and sick, how expensive it is just to get by, how much more difficult decision-making gets as you age and your mind isn't as sharp as it was. (I've already, to my enormous dismay, had a taste of that. Lost someone's name entirely. I'd been good friends with the guy and his wife 17 years, wanted to introduce them to other friends, and found his name was gone. Not tip of the tongue, just gone. It didn't come back till the next day.)
Sooner than I want, I'll be 60 too. I'm healthy now; what will be then? I don't know. I know that others around me will likely be moving faster and tuned to a different time, and that if I want to work, I'll be competing with them. People in my family tended to live to mid-80s even with terrible diets, smoking, and no exercise; maybe I'll make it to 90, 100. Will there be Social Security, well, I wouldn't count on it.
My mother just recently retired and now has a new fulltime job: taking care of my grandma, who lives an hour away. Physically, you can see my mom is exhausted, and she thought she'd get some rest. But a few weeks after her last day at work, my grandma basically fell apart and got very old. So now....When my other grandma started doing poorly, my dad was still working 80 hours a week and living 1000 miles away. Fortunately, there was money, so he was able to hire round-the-clock care for her. But it was still a tremendous amount of work for him. He called her every day, talked to the nurses daily, and flew to visit a couple of times a month. That went on, I think, for a couple of years. Before that he'd gotten a sudden heads-up that my grandpa was going in for heart surgery, flew to be there, and stayed to turn off the life support, as my grandpa had asked.
It's a lot of work, being old and taking care of old people. And it's expensive, and difficult, because old people are willful and legally able and hard to manage in ways children aren't, and because there's no optimism about seeing them bloom and grow. The last thing you want, as a parent, is to ruin your kid financially and damage her career and family while you're laying the rest of that on her.
So I don't want my daughter spending her own middle age taking care of me and supporting me. This is why, frankly, I am a big advocate of saving c/s money that you don't need today as a form of retirement pay. Put that stuff away for yourself in some nice safe form. You're working for it and you're going to need it, and in the end a well-cushioned retirement helps you, your kids, and your grandkids. Motherhood kneecaps retirement savings under the best of circumstances, and financially, single parenthood is one of the worst. So yes. Take the money, and go after the money aggressively, even if you don't need it today and want to feel independent.
You already are independent, after all. You're raising those kids more or less on your own. I don't know how much more demonstration anyone needs than that.