You may already be familiar with the Child Support Guidelines. But did you know that child support can still be payable when your child is no longer a minor? As long as the child is considered a “child of the marriage,” support may still be payable for post-secondary expenses. This concept has more to do with dependency than age, and the determination is fact-driven. Courts will consider the following factors in making this determination:

1. Whether the child is in fact enrolled in a course of studies and whether it is full-time or part-time course of studies;

2. Whether or not the child has applied for or is eligible for student loans or other financial assistance;

  • An adult child is expected to contribute toward his or her education to the fullest extent possible through bursaries, scholarships, student loans, or summer employment.

3. The career plans of the child (i.e. whether the child has some reasonable and appropriate plan);

4. The ability of the child to contribute to his or her own support through part-time employment;

  • Courts will almost always require a student to contribute, through their own earnings, to the cost of their maintenance.

5. The age of the child;

  • In one case, a 23 year-old student pursuing his doctorate was considered a child of the marriage.
  • In another case, a 19 year-old student who had chosen to live on her own was found not to be under the charge of either of her parents and not a child of the marriage.

6. The child’s past academic performance and whether the child is demonstrating success in the chosen course of studies;

7. What plans the parents made for the education of their children, particularly where those plans were made during cohabitation; and

8. At least in the case of a mature child who has reached the age of majority, whether or not the child has unilaterally terminated a relationship from the parent from whom support is sought.

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