Children over the age of majority

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Family Law - Child support
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General

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Children over the age of majority

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").

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.

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.

If the judge finds that a child over the age of majority should receive child support, they can order the table amount or something different. The issue for children over the age of majority is whether the table amount should be reduced, and if so, by how much.

The court looks at things like:

  • How much can the child contribute to their expenses?
  • If the child is studying away from home, how many months are they not living with a parent?
  • Is the child in school full-time or part-time?
  • If the child is going for a second degree or diploma, will it help them get a job after graduation?

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Department of Justice Canada
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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