How Long Must Parents Pay Child Support

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Children Don’t Become Miraculously Self Sufficient at the Age of Majority

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand children don’t miraculously become adults just because they reach the age of majority. In fact, in Canada, there isn’t even universal agreement as to what the age of majority is. Six provinces consider 18 the age of majority. These provinces are:

  • Alberta;
  • Manitoba;
  • Ontario;
  • Prince Edward Island;
  • Quebec; and
  • Saskatchewan.

In four provinces and the three territories, 19 is the age of majority. These provinces and territories are:

  • British Columbia;
  • New Brunswick;
  • Newfoundland;
  • Northwest Territories;
  • Nova Scotia;
  • Nunavut; and
  • Yukon.

While Canada has federal child support guidelines, some jurisdictions, like British Columbia, also have their own rules governing child support.

mother and son

The Road to Maturity

Everyone agrees young children need child support. But what about older children? In Canada, the question is not whether children at or over the age of majority may still receive child support, but rather under what circumstances is child support appropriate? Canada’s divorce laws impose an obligation on parents to support their children even beyond the age of majority where the child is “unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life.”

Divorce and Post-Secondary Education

Research shows children of separated and divorced parents face greater difficulty in paying for post-secondary education. Because of the value that Canada places on post-secondary education, child support past the age of majority is not uncommon. Courts take into consideration all information available when deciding whether child support should continue past the age of majority, including a child’s enrollment in post-secondary education.

Child Support Pros and Cons

Children at or just above the age of majority may benefit from ongoing child support as they ease into adulthood. In some families, the child support is paid directly to the child. This way, the paying parent is assured the money indeed goes directly to the child. However, this can create concerns. Many children just at the age of majority are not equipped to handle large amounts of money. Additionally, if the child support is paid directly to the child, they may not qualify for the same student loans they would qualify for if the child support was still being paid to the other parent.

Each Child is Different

When determining child support for children at or above the age of majority, courts can consider a family’s unique circumstances. Some children are far more capable than others to obtain the necessaries of life at the age of majority than others. Some children may wish to pursue post- secondary education, while others may be ready to launch into the work force.

If You are Seeking Guidance with Child Support

If you are seeking guidance with child support, contact Fine & Associates to discuss your case. We have extensive experience handling child support cases. Let our experience and knowledge work for you and your family. We know the law and we are committed to helping you apply the law in a manner that best suits your family’s needs.