By: Lorne Fine
A parent is liable to pay child support for his/her dependent child(ren). As long as the child is enrolled in a full time program of education, and is applying him/herself to his/her studies, the child will be entitled to child support. If the child is unable to attend in a full time program of education due to health issues, the child will still be entitled to support. The nature of the school or the number of courses taken by the child may not be critical in determining if the child is entitled to support. Usually the onus of proving that the Child is entitled to support lies with the person claiming support for the child.
If a child voluntarily withdraws from parental control, and establishes his/her own lifestyle, independent of the parent, will likely not be entitled to child support. If the child continues to be dependent on one parent, the child will likely still be entitled to support. If the child is under the age of 16 yrs, the Ontario Family Law Act provides that there is an absolute obligation to support the child.
Support for adult children is sometimes difficult. There is no absolute age where a child is no longer entitled to support. The Divorce Act provides that an adult child continues to be entitled to support if he/she is unable to withdraw from parental control and provide the necessities of life for a valid reason. The Ontario Family Law Act provides that a child is entitled to support as long as they are enrolled in a full time program of education.
When a child attends university away from their home, the support obligation will still continue. Although a court may reduce the amount of base support when the child is away at university, the payor will likely pay the full amount of support when the child returns home after the school year. If the child does not return home very often during the school year, there is a stronger argument that the payor should pay no support or a reduced amount of support to the recipient. This is especially the case if the payor is also paying for a share of the child’s residence at university.
It is likely that once a child is no longer in school and cannot explain why he/she cannot withdraw from parental control his/her claim for support will terminate. Courts expect an adult child to apply him/her self to her studies and make a meaningful contribution to the expenses associated with his/her education. It used to be that a court would be reluctant to extend a child support obligation past one post-secondary degree. This no longer seems to be the case. If the family had approved of the career that the child is pursuing, it is unlikely that support would terminate.
The Lawyers of Fine & Associates Professional Corporation practice only Divorce and Family Law in Ontario. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of Divorce law, including, but not limited to, child support, child custody, and property division. They pride themselves on their knowledge of the various courts in Ontario and, have litigated many different cases. In every case, their focus is on their clients and they are dedicated to aggressively protecting their rights so that all matters are resolved quickly and fairly.