Is child support payable for the time during which a payor parent has a block of access time with the child?
In Nicholson v. Nicholson, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently explored the issue of whether a payor parent was responsible for child support during a defined block of access time, finding in the affirmative.
The parties were separated in 2012 after 24.5 years of marriage. They have three children, Amber (27), Aryn (25) and Dale (21).
The two older children are financially independent. At the time of hearing, Dale was still a dependant.
Issues in dispute between the parties included:
- Whether the father was responsible for paying child support for Aryn while she was in his care during the summer visitation
- When the child support for Dale should commence and end?
Is the Father Responsible for Child Support During Summer Visitation?
Both parents agreed that Aryn was residing with the mother between May and September 2015. During these four months, the father had summer parenting time with Aryn.
The father argued that while he had Aryn for the summer he was not obligated to pay child support to the mother.
Justice Sutherland disagreed, and determined that the father was responsible for paying child support for Aryn between May and August 2015:
The support being paid by [the father] is for the benefit of the Aryn. The [father’s] time with Aryn during the summer was the agreed upon summer parenting time schedule. This on its own, in my opinion, does not vitiate the obligation to pay child support for Aryn during the time [the father] had Aryn.
Duration of Child Support for Dependent Child
Dale was expected to graduate from a Paramedic program in August 2016.
The father requested that child support not end until the end of 2016 to permit Dale to obtain employment and because he paid child support for Aryn for four months after she graduated from nursing school.
Justice Sutherland agreed with the father’s argument. The mother had not disputed that he had paid support for Aryn until she got on her feet after graduation, and Justice Sutherland saw “no reason why that agreement should not apply to Dale”. The mother was ordered to pay support for Dale until December 31, 2016.
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