Guest Post – Do I Have to Pay Child Support For My Adult Children?

Are you still wondering about how long you will have to pay child support? You might think that you don’t have to pay support after a child’s 18th birthday. However, the truth may not be so cut and dry.

There is a lot of misinformation out there on this topic, and a lot of people assuming the wrong thing. So today, the team at Fine & Associates are here to shed some light on paying child support for adult children in Ontario.

When Your Child Is Still in School

The Ontario Family Law Act states that “every parent has an obligation to provide support for his or her unmarried child who is a minor or is enrolled in a full time program of education, to the extent that the parent is capable of doing so.”

This piece of legislation stipulates that an unmarried child who is a minor or who is enrolled in a full time program of education is eligible for support only if he or she hasn’t voluntarily withdrawn from parental control, meaning that he or she has moved out and is living on his or her own.

When Your Child Is Ill or Disabled

The federal Divorce Act stipulates that a parent must provide support for their child who “is the age of majority or over and under their charge but unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessities of life.”

That illness or disability might not be physical. In the case of Greenberg v. Greenberg, the judge found that the couple’s 19 year old daughter did not have the maturity or emotional stability to be able to withdraw from parental control. She was not going to be able to finish high school without financial support. The judge ordered support payments to continue as the young woman finished high school and worked part-time.

Other Situations

The federal Divorce Act is broader than Ontario’s Family Law Act. Therefore, there is a wider range of situations under which a parent would be ordered to pay an adult child’s support.

In the case of Willock v. Willock, a judge ordered a young woman’s parents to continue paying support as she trained to become a competitive cyclist. The judge reasoned that even if this young woman didn’t succeed as a competitive cyclist, her training would enable her to pursue “economic independence” as a cycling instructor.

Not a Straightforward Answer

As you can see, there are too many factors involved to give you a finite yes or no answer.

If you feel like you shouldn’t be paying child support any more, it’s always best to speak to a divorce lawyer. We recommend talking to lawyer before you speak to your ex spouse about any new child support arrangements.

This can take a lot of emotion out of the conversation, while arming you with legal facts- not just your opinion.


Author Bio:

Fine & Associates Professional Corporation is a well-respected Toronto law firm that prides itself on providing quality, personal service at reasonable rates. The firm’s lawyers practice divorce and family law exclusively, and are experienced in all types of cases, including but not limited to child support, child custody, and divorce mediation.


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