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When does child support end? How do I end it?

Question
When does child support end? How do I end it?

Glossary

Clear language definitions to common legal terms. 

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Reviewed: 
August, 2017
Answer

The law says that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer.

A child is not a dependant if they:

  • marry, or
  • are at least 16 years old and leave home ("voluntarily withdraw from parental control").

Withdrawal from parental control means your child decides not to live with you anymore and not to follow your rules. The withdrawal from parental control must be voluntary. This means your child cannot be forced to leave.

A child who is over the age of majority, that is, 18 or older, may still be dependent if they cannot support themselves because they:

  • have a disability or illness, or
  • are going to school full-time.

Even if your separation agreement or court order says when child support ends, the responsibility to pay child support usually continues for as long as your child is a dependant.

When your child is no longer a dependant, you have to take steps to make sure the separation agreement or court order is no longer being enforced. You may have to contact the Family Responsibility Office if they are enforcing child support payments. Or, you may have to go to court and bring a motion to change.

Child support is separate from access

The right to child support and access are two different issues.  They are both rights of the child. A parent cannot be denied access to their child because they do not pay child support. And a parent who does not have access may still have to pay child support.

Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Legal Aid Ontario - Aide juridique Ontario

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