23rd November 2020
university students divorce family law alberta

Everything You Need to Know About Child Support During University Years

When most people consider child support, they think of young, elementary-aged children. Parents are more readily prepared for the child support of young children, not necessarily thinking of the issues that can arise when children are enrolled in university.

Even the most amicable divorces and separations can face contention – and, often, those contentious moments come up during discussions of child support. The best way to handle contention during a divorce or separation is to understand the rights of everyone involved.

Do I Have to Pay Child Support After the Child Turns 18?

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Like all things, the answer depends on the situation. Child support ends when the child is no longer considered a child – at least, legally. However, an adult-aged child might still be eligible for child support in certain situations, specifically when they are enrolled in university.

Conditions around the child’s schooling also determine whether or not child support will have to be paid. Different rules apply depending on what schooling the child is in, the availability of other financial support, and more.

What determines if a child will continue to receive child support during university?

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Legally speaking, the Farden factors determine whether a child is still considered “a child of the marriage.” A child of the marriage will continue to receive child support.

The Farden factors are as followed:

      • Is the child enrolled in courses full-time or part-time?
      • Is the child eligible for student loans or other forms of financial assistance? Have they applied for any forms of financial assistance?
      • What are the career plans of the child? Is university part of a larger plan, or is the child attending university to simply pass the time?
      • Can the child work part-time? Are they able to support themselves this way?
      • How old is the child?
      • Have they previously demonstrated success in the chosen course of study? Overall, how well have they previously performed in academia?
      • What plans have the parents made for the education of the child? Were these plans made during cohabitation?
      • Has the child completely terminated a relationship with the parent who is being asked to pay support?

What About A Child in An Apprenticeship Program

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The above rules apply to apprenticeship programs. If all other conditions are met, then a child in an apprenticeship program is still eligible to receive child support.

However, if they are making money as a part of their apprenticeship, that income will also be considered when determining child support. This can reduce or altogether eliminate child support payments.

Does the Child Get the Child Support Payments?

This is also dependent on a few factors. If the child is no longer living at home, then it’s more likely that the payments would be made to the child directly. If the child is still living with their parent, it’s more likely that the payments will go directly to that parent.

Are there other factors to consider?

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Again, it depends. Just because a child is pursuing post-secondary education – even full-time – doesn’t mean the payor will necessarily have to continue paying child support.

Child-support requirements are considered with the following conditions:

      1. Is there a reasonable likelihood that the child will reach academic success?
      2. Is the child going to pursue their academics with diligence?
      3. Is there a reasonable likelihood that the child will successfully complete their course of studies?

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Let’s say it again: it depends. What you need to know directly relates to your situation. If you have a child or children about to enter into their post-secondary education, and you’re currently paying child support, make sure you know all your rights.

Questions? Please contact our Stringam team so we can answer your family law questions.

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Written by Michael Jones