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Family law says child support may be owed after age 18

Child support is a topic that comes up in many divorces across the country. Many British Columbia parents who pay child support may think that their payments will end once children turn 18. However, federal and provincial family law may require some parents to continue their support after the child is a legal adult, especially if post-secondary education is involved.

The definition of "child of the marriage" under the Divorce Act defines the obligations separated parents have with regards to their adult children. This means that a British Columbia judge can step in to resolve issues such as the length of time a child should receive support. If a child is still in school or otherwise unable to care for him or herself, the judge can find that support is still warranted.

As with many family law issues, the ultimate decision is often left to the discretion of the court. In order to be eligible, the parent who owes child support must be provided information on the child's educational program and associated costs. The child is also responsible for justifying the merits of his or her educational plan. The division of costs and the ultimate recipient of the child support payments depends on whether the child or children live on campus or with one a custodial parent.

Under British Columbia family law, the Court has the final word on the child's best interests. For this reason, it is critical for any parent entering family court to have background knowledge of a judge's expectations, the current laws in place, and the evidence that may be needed. In these cases, a British Columbia lawyer is a good resource.

Source: Financial Post, "Child support doesn't necessarily end at 18, especially when education is involved", Laurie H. Pawlitza, Oct. 5, 2017

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