In Canada, child support obligations do not immediately end when a child reaches the age of majority. The age of majority is the age at which a person is considered by law to be an adult. In Ontario, the age of majority is 18. Children younger than 18 are considered a “minor child”. There are two situations in which child support can continue for a child after his or her 18th birthday:
If the child is disabled. A disabled child must remain a dependent of the parents and be unable to obtain employment that is adequate to meet his or her needs; or
When a child is enrolled full-time in a program of education.
The program of education must be career-oriented and not simply a reason for the child to remain dependant. There is some disagreement among judges whether a ‘victory lap’ or additional year of high school entitles a child to continued support.
For children enrolled in full-time educational programs, their parents may be required to contribute to their educational expenses in proportion to their incomes. Judges are required to consider the particulars of the family arrangements including what arrangements would have been made for the child’s education if the parents were still together, and what contribution the child should make to his or her own education. Depending on the parents’ financial situation, a judge may require a child to apply for scholarships, to get a part-time or summer job or to incur reasonable student debt to help pay for their education.
As with any calculation for child support, the amount that a parent will be required to pay will depend on the particular circumstances their family situation. Each is case is different, and there are many factors that could impact on the requirement to pay child support.
If you have additional questions about child support or about any other family law matter, please contact family lawyer Jason P. Howie, online or at 519.973.1500.