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Parent’s Obligation to Pay Support for Children over the Age of 18

Date: 03 Mar, 2015

The Child Support Guidelines stops being an automatic formula for calculating child support once a child exceeds the age of 18.

The obligation to pay support for an adult child can be found in both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act, but generally requires a child to be attending school on a full time basis or in the case of the Divorce Act, a child who is a dependent due to disability or an attendance at a post-secondary educational institution.

Unfortunately in family law, children at times chose sides, sometimes unfairly. The estranged parent has the right to not only demand proof that their child is enrolled in a full time post-secondary educational institution, but are actually attending. There are a number of important cases on this point, including the recent decision in the Alberta Queens Bench by Justice Deit, Lewis v Correia. There is also the Ontario Superior Court of Appeal case in Lewi and also the Ontario case of Durso v. Maseherin.

An adult child has an obligation to make some contribution towards their post-secondary educational expenses. It is the remainder that fulfills definition of a Section 7 extraordinary expenses, which is to be paid for by the parents in proportion to of their respective incomes.

Of course, at the other end of the spectrum we have wholesome parent/child relationships, which rise above the separation of the parents in which both parents put the needs of their children first and are able to set aside their differences. It is this author’s observation that custodial arguments over the University expenses of their children more often than not are a reflection of an emotional difficulty on the part of one of the parents rather than a reflection of a real financial contest.

Simply put, this is not a simple area of law and often an experienced Family Law Lawyer such as those at Dale Streiman Law LLP are needed to guide you.