1. Check what your agreement or court order says

When does child support end? How do I end it?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
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1. Check what your agreement or court order says

Check to see if your separation agreement or court order says when child support ends.

For example, your separation agreement or court order may say that child support ends when your child turns 18 years old. Or, it may say that child support ends when your child finishes high school.

But, the responsibility to pay child support generally continues for as long as your child remains a dependent.

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.

For example, if your child is "kicked out" or if the living conditions at your home is so bad that your child is forced to leave, the withdrawal is not voluntary. You will continue to be responsible for supporting your child.

A child who is over the age of majority, which means 18 years old 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.

In the case of disability or chronic illness, a child over the age of majority can remain dependent for their entire life.

In the case of post-secondary students, a child who is diligently pursuing (not just enrolled in) their first undergraduate degree or diploma is generally in need of support until they finish school. This usually lasts until the child turns 22 or gets a degree or diploma. Sometimes support can be ordered to allow the child to get more than one degree.

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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario)
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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