Many parents wrongly assume that their duty to child support payments would halt after the child transitions as an adult whereas, the law conditionally contradicts this perspective.
While Section 31(1) of the Family Law Act holds every parent responsible to provide child support for an unmarried child who is either a minor, or challenged by a disability or illness or if they are enrolled in a full-time education program, as far as the parent is capable of doing so.
Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines states that any claim made to contribute to the child’s post-secondary education expenses if is in line with the child’s best interest and financial capability of the parents it would be deemed to be supported.
Eligibility To Child Support
The courts in W.P.N v. B.J.N,  B.C.J. No. 12 (C.A.), supported the pursuance of post-secondary education for equipping a child with a career proves as one of the major grounds for a continued dependency of a child of, or over, the age of majority. Some other common factors which may be taken into account whether a course of study is entitled to contribution include;
- The child must be enrolled in a course of studies (either full or part-time course of studies);
- The child must have some appropriate and plausible career plans;
- The capability of the child to support during his course of studies through part-time employment;
- The past academic performance of the child is also considered to analyze whether there are chances of the child’s success in his or her chosen course of studies or the child has selected the course for the reason that there is nothing better to do;
- The educational plans made by parents, if any, are mainly those plans which were made during cohabitation.
Calculation Of Post-Secondary Expenses Contribution
The amount of child support that has to be paid differs on the circumstances of the child and the parents. Typically, when a child is below the age of eighteen, the table amount of child support is paid as per the Child Support Guidelines. Additionally, an amount of contribution to the child’s post-secondary education is paid.
Child Support For An Adult Child
If the court thinks that the standard approach of table child support is not appropriate, then the court has the discretion to select between two streams of approaches. The court may order a suitable expense approach by examining the child’s living arrangements and needs during the education program.
Methods For Post-Secondary Child Support
Primarily, the question of the calculation of the child support contribution is circumscribed by the residence of the child.
If the child resides at home during his or her post-secondary education, then the section 7 table expense formula is followed.
In case the child resides away from home while attending university, the table amount of support is suspended or reduced. In the latter situation, the expenses are not just limited to tuition fees and costs of books but transportation costs and living expenses are included as well.
The Ontario court in a case has ruled that where a child is in residence for most of the year, it is not suitable to apply tables that were not designed with this arrangement in mind. This implies that the table amount approach to child support is inappropriate for the period during which the child is away at university.
However, the court does recognize the expense the recipient parent has to suffer on behalf of the children while they were away at school as well as costs to maintain the home. The payor parent is usually given credit by the court if the payor parent’s contribution to the education expenses exceeds his or her proportion of income.
Given the area of post-secondary child support is extraordinarily discretionary, it is recommended to engage a lawyer to discuss your needs and situation before embarking on this lengthy and emotionally draining legal battle.
Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation has skilled Family Lawyers who help clients regarding their Family Law matters. Get in touch with our office today to discuss your case confidentially.
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