HOW LONG IS CHILD SUPPORT PAYABLE?

As discussed in a previous post, child support is an ongoing periodic payment made by you or received by you for the financial benefit of your child.

To answer the question for how long child support is payable in your particular case – you must first determine if the child support is payable under the Divorce Act or the Family Law Act.  If you and the other parent of the child were never married, then the child support is payable under the Family Law Act.  In a situation where you and the other parent were legally married, then in all likelihood the child support is payable under the Divorce Act but it is always a good idea to have an experienced family lawyer review your court order or separation agreement. 

Divorce Act

Under the Divorce Act, child support orders may be made with respect to a child or children of two spouses or former spouses who, at the material time, is under the age of majority and who has not withdrawn from their charge, or is the age of majority and under their charge but unable by reason of illness, disability or other cause to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life. 

What this means in non-legalese language is that in British Columbia, child support is payable with respect to children of married or divorced couples until the age of 19 and child support can continue to be payable after a child’s 19th birthday in the case of physical or mental health issues.  The words “other cause” do include those situations where a child attends post secondary schooling or training. 

Family Law Act

Under the Family Law Act, child support orders may be made with respect to a child of parents who is under 19 or a child who is 19 or older and unable because of illness, disability or another reason to obtain the necessaries of life or withdraw from the charge of his or her parents.

What this again means in non-legalese language is that in British Columbia, child support is payable with respect to children of common law couples or even those where the parents did not ever live together until the age of 19 and child support can continue to be payable after a child’s 19th birthday in the case of physical or mental health issues.  The words “another reason” do include those situations where a child attends post secondary schooling or training. 

The definitions as set out in both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act have been interpreted by the Courts of British Columbia and the issue of whether child support continues to be payable in the case of a child who is over 19 is very fact specific and it is recommended that you review your situation with a qualified family lawyer to determine your rights and obligations with respect to child support.  

If you are being asked to pay or are seeking to claim child support for a child of yours whom is over 19 years of age, consult Vancouver & Burnaby Family Law and Child Support lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107