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Does child support stop when a child reaches 18?

From my experience, one of the questions that is frequently asked of divorce lawyers in Calgary is: Do child support payments stop when a child reaches the age of 18?

The simple answer to that question is: Not necessarily.

This is because the Divorce Act, and the Family Law Act, provide for payment of child support to continue after a child reaches the age of 18. The usual reason why child support continues after a child reaches the age of 18 is that the child remains in full time education. However, the child's disability, illness or any other cause, as to why the child is unable to withdraw from their parents' charge or obtain the necessaries of life may be used.

In my experience, if the Child Support Order has been registered with MEP, MEP will write to the parties shortly before the child's 18th birthday to determine whether child support should continue to be paid. If the Order is silent as to when child support should stop, ordinarily, MEP will continue to enforce child support until either:

The child stops being a full time student;

The child marries;

The child completes their first degree; or

The child turns 22.

MEP explains its reasoning for this in this document.

If, after reading this, you have any questions regarding the above, or you have any questions regarding divorce, separation, custody and access, guardianship and parenting, child support, spousal support and division of property, please contact me on 403-538-2105, or email me using this link.

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