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High Net Worth family Appeal lawyers

Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers deal with cases where children are over the age of majority and are no longer dependent on their parents for support. In BC the age of majority is 19 years. New wording in our Family Law Act deals with children under 19 who may have withdrawn from a parent’s care and control. In today’s blog, Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers, Fraser MacLean and Lorne MacLean, QC explain in simple terms what courts look at to decide child support for an older child. Our award winning Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers also have offices across BC and in downtown Calgary.

Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers 604-602-9000

Our top rated* Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers often need to dispel the idea that once a child turns 19, child support automatically ends. In many cases it continues on for a number of years. Courts look at your child’s specific circumstances to decide when the child support obligation ends. Sometimes a child whose child support has ended will even re-qualify for child support. As a child past the age of majority finds their way to adulthood it makes sense that they start to take steps to help to support themselves. This only makes Canada stronger as children develop skills to be self reliant and productive members of society.

2 Approaches To Vancouver Child Support Over 19

The Child Support Guidelines allows for two approaches to support for a child over the age of majority as follows:

Child the age of majority or over

(2) Unless otherwise provided under these Guidelines, where a child to whom a child support order relates is the age of majority or over, the amount of the child support order is

  • (a) the amount determined by applying these Guidelines as if the child were under the age of majority; or

  • (b) if the court considers that approach to be inappropriate, the amount that it considers appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the child and the financial ability of each spouse to contribute to the support of the child.

You can see the second approach in 3 (2) (b) will focus on a budget for the child and what if any contribution the child can make to supporting themselves through part-time work, summer jobs, scholarships, loans and bursaries. Lorne MacLean, QC regularly handles child support cases involving incomes over $ 1-10 million per year and recently obtained a near record combined support award of over $83,000 a month. These cases have additional rules.

New Case Explains The Rules

The new 2018 decision of JV v. CH provides the law for those who are seeking or facing a child support claim:

Law Relating to Child Support

[48]         It is not in issue that the onus is on the respondent to prove entitlement to child support: Classen v. Anima,2011 BCSC 868 at para. 6. Child support in this case is claimed under s. 2(1) the Act in which the definition of a “child of the marriage” is as follows:

child of the marriage means a child of two spouses or former spouses who, at the material time,

a)     is under the age of majority and who has not withdrawn from their charge, or

b)     is the age of majority or over and under their charge but unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessities of life;

[49]         Being unable to withdraw from a parent’s charge due to illness or disability usually requires some form of medical evidence, either physical or psychiatric, to support a finding that a child is unable to withdraw. The definition of “child of the marriage” in the Act allows for any “other cause”, i.e. other than illness or disability, impeding the ability of a child from being able to withdraw. In Dumont v. Dumont, 2017 BCSC 668, Punnett J. considered the term “other cause” and referred to Bragg v. Bragg,188 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 202 (U.F.C.) (CanLII):

8.         The case law is clear that “other cause” is not limited to illness or disability. If a child 19 years or older is still dependent on his or her parents, that child can still be a child of the marriage and entitled to support. See, for example, Barber v. Barber, (1995), 137 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 36 (S.C. Nfld. T.D.) where Dunn, J. said at p. 42:

“I do not think the legislation is intended to mean the “bare” necessities of life such as food and shelter. Other pieces of legislation recognize the importance to society of individuals being adequately equipped and obtaining the necessary skills to be productive and contributing members. One expects that parents in our sophisticated and fast developing technological and academic oriented world community will aid their children in achieving this common societal goal.”

. . .

Post Secondary Education

10.       In O’Keefe v. Clarke, (1994), 122 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 178 at pp. 179-180, I accepted the approach of Freeman, J.A. who said in Martell v. Height (supra):

I believe Canadian courts now are much more flexible in confirming child support for longer periods while children pursue their education. The governing principle, I believe, is reasonableness.

. . . .

12.       In a recent case, Gamache v. Gamache (1999), A.J. No. 474, 49 R.F.L. (4th) 258 at p. 261, Madam Justice M. Trussler concluded that the case law suggests:

 ... that a parent does not have an indefinite obligation to support a child who is attending school or is unemployed or underemployed. Instead, a parent has an obligation to assist the parent on whom the child is dependent through a reasonable transition period. What is a reasonable transition period is a question to be determined on the facts of each case. In all the cases, the emphasis is placed on the inability of the child to support him or herself.

Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers Help Guide You To A Fair Result

Vancouver Child Support Entitlement Lawyers can help guide you in this area so the case can be fairly settled and if not properly decided by the BC family court or Supreme Court Judge. Call Fraser MacLean or Lorne MacLean, QC now at 1-877-602-9900 toll free or at 604-602-9000 at our flagship Vancouver office.

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