Family Law / Divorce Library

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Child Support:
Adult Children

Adult Children

There may still be support payable in relation to an adult child who is still dependent because of illness, disability, education, or other cause.

Courts have sometimes allowed support to continue for children upgrading high school, although potentially at a reduced rate (LS v DS, 2017 ABQB 584 at paras 29, 37, 42, 43, 49; Carmichael v Kiggins, 2010 ABQB 78 at paras 4, 30; Greenberg v Greenberg, 1990 CarswellAlta 269 at paras 25-27). Although perhaps not if over several years in an uncommitted manner (Grodecki v Korzienowski, 2007 ABQB 565 at paras 29-33).

Courts have sometimes allowed a short transition period after completion of schooling, although usually only a couple of months, not indefinite (KMR v IMR, 2020 ABQB 77 at para 40).

Courts have sometimes allowed support to continue for advanced sports training if it fulfils a similar function to formal education (Olson v Olson, 2003 ABCA 56 at paras 26-28).

Support won't continue if a child has simply chosen not to seek full-time employment because of personal or lifestyle reasons (Kohan v. Kohan, 2016 ABCA 125 at paras 18-19).

The parent seeking child support is who must prove that the child still qualifies (JMB v ACB, 2006 ABCA 150 at para 26).


Disability or illness

Disability benefits for adult children can reduce child support, although not necessarily the entire cost (FJN v JK, 2019 ABCA 305 at para 97-98; Krangle v Brisco, 2002 SCC 9).

Post-Secondary Education

In determining whether to continue support for adult children enrolled in post-secondary education, courts will often consider the Farden factors (see Olson v Olson, 2003 ABCA 56 at para 18, citing Farden v Farden, 1993 CanLII 2570 (BC SC):

  1. 1. Whether the child is in fact enrolled in a course of studies and whether it is a full-time or part-time course of studies;
  2. Whether or not the child has applied for, or is eligible for, student loans or other financial assistance;
  3. The career plans of the child, i.e., whether the child has some reasonable and appropriate plan or is simply going to college because there is nothing better to do;
  4. The ability of the child to contribute to his own support through part-time employment;
  5. The age of the child;
  6. The child’s past academic performance, whether the child is demonstrating success in the chosen course of studies;
  7. What plans the parents made for the education of their children, particularly where those plans were made during cohabitation;
  8. At least in the case of a mature child who has reached the age of majority, whether or not the child has unilaterally terminated a relationship from the parent from whom support is sought.

Courts can still consider other factors, and not all of the Farden factors need to be met in order for support to continue.

In appropriate circumstances, courts don't need to follow the ordinary child support rules. For example, courts have sometimes split student loan debt one third to each of the parents and child (Stephan v Cunningham, 2016 ABCA 177 at paras 6, 7), or have reduced support during the summer months (Bates v Bates (1995), 165 AR 71 (ABCA); PT v RB, 2004 ABCA 244; LS v DS, 2017 ABQB 584 at para 39; Pollard v Pollard, 1999 ABQB 976 at para 49).

The parent paying support is entitled to all reasonable information relating to the child's education and their progress (Kohan v Kohan, 2016 ABCA 125 at para 15).

Support probably won't continue during a gap year (Taggart v Taggart, 2019 ABCA 78), unless perhaps the educational program or an equivalent program was not offered during that year and it was reasonable to wait (Fraser v Jacobsen-Fraser, 2021 ABQB 955 at para 16).

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Child Support:
Adult Children


Content by Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Edmonton)

Last complete review of all content on this page on November 12, 2022

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