Legally Speaking: My child turned 18 – do I still have to pay support for him/her?

Legally Speaking: My child turned 18 – do I still have to pay support for him/her?

LiQ_Mag_Mar_2015_coverThis legal column first appeared in the March 2015 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

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Here is the fifth in a series of legal columns by Quebec law firm  Joli-Cœur Lacasse Avocats.

By Me Albina Mulaomerovic and Me Sophia Claude

If the popular belief is that the maintenance of the child ceases as soon as he is 18 years old, the reality is quite different. Indeed, child support being based on the means of the debtor parent and the needs of a child, however, it is not because the child is of full age that the obligation ceases. The courts will consider many factors when determining child support in order to allow children of full age to complete their projects and for parents not to be required to bear a child who would rather live off them rather than trying to provide for his needs.

Child support granted to a child of full age may differ from that paid to a minor child, the latter being fixed following a standard format. The courts may take into account for example the age of a child of full age, his health situation, level of his education or the nature of his studies, his place of residence, marital status, level of autonomy and the time required to acquire his autonomy. Thus, youngsters attending school full-time or with a disability and not being able to support themselves will likely receive child support.

It will usually be required that a child of full age helps with his livelihood by working part-time during the school year and full time during the summer. To the extent that a child of full age does not work, the court may impute a fictitious income. The decisions indicate that an annual income of between $4,000 and $8,000 is what is usually expected for a young adult. The courts will usually subtract about a third of the real or fictitious revenue as the adult child’s financial contribution to his spending. A young adult’s eligibility to loans and bursaries could also influence the amount parents have to pay as child support.

Both parents and children of full age have a duty to keep abreast of any changes in their financial situation so that a pension is adjusted accordingly. After the child turns 18, child support may be payable directly to him unlike the pension of a minor child which is paid to the receiving parent. Specific situations were investigated by the courts. Indeed, the debtor may, in certain circumstances, be relieved of his obligation to pay child support when he offers to his child of full age to live at home. A child of full age who is significantly ungrateful towards his parents could be denied child support. Also, a child of full age not serious in his studies could have his claim for child support dismissed.

Ultimately, many factors influence support payments for a child of full age. It is important to keep in mind that the calculation of the amount that could be payable for a child of full age depends primarily on a parent’s means and child’s needs.

The masculine form is used merely to simplify the text. No discrimination is intended.

Me Sophia Claude and Me Albina Mulaomerovic Joli-Cœur Lacasse Avocats

Me Sophia Claude and Me Albina Mulaomerovic
Joli-Cœur Lacasse Avocats

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Jolicoeur Lacasse Avocats

Notre cabinet qui regroupe une centaine d'avocats présents à Québec, Trois-Rivières et Montréal, est reconnu pour offrir, à des coûts avantageux, des services juridiques efficaces et efficients. Nos professionnels sont compétents, imaginatifs et désireux de vous permettre d’atteindre vos objectifs dans un environnement de partenariat et de convivialité. Ils sont en mesure d’identifier et d’anticiper vos besoins et, le moment venu, ils sauront agir de manière proactive et entamer des démarches novatrices et sécurisantes, afin de vous offrir un service adapté à votre réalité.

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