The short answer to this question is when your child or children are no longer dependant on their parents. Often that means when they turn 18. In most provinces 18 is the age of majority which means the law presumes someone who is 18 is able to gain employment and support himself or herself. However, if the 18 year old is pursuing full time education, then your child support obligations will usually continue until they graduate.
There are other exceptions to the rule as well. Perhaps this fictional example will shed some light on things.
Let’s take Angela who is 19. Her father is Rudolph, a full time employee of a car manufacturer for over 20 years. Angela is attending university on a full time basis and lives with two room mates. She has a part time job and uses part of her earnings for her tuition. Is Angela eligible for child support?
The answer is yes. Angela is incapable of supporting herself because she is attending school. She is doing the best she can with her part time job. The manner in which Rudolph will pay support for Angela will be suited to her particular academic circumstances and living arrangements. For instance he will contribute to her school expenses and her living expenses rather than pay the table amount of child support. But there is no doubt that Angela is entitled to receive support from her father. The fact that she is over 18 is irrelevant because she is attending school full time.
Hopefully this example has helped to give some context to how child support payments work in Ontario. The manner in which child support will be paid for a child, and the amount of that support , will depend on a range of circumstances. These include the following:
1. what is this young adult doing – working, attending school?
2. where is he/she residing?
3. is he/she working and able to contribute to some of his/her own schooling costs?
4. is he/she enrolled in a reasonable program of study, with a reasonable prospect of graduating with a marketable skill?
This area of family law raises some important questions and many of the answers will depend on the particular circumstances of each case. I recommend anyone with questions make an appointment to see me or another family law lawyer to obtain legal advice on how these principles will apply to your case.