If your support agreement includes a specific date for when child support will end – such as when the child reaches the age of majority or for as long as the child is going to school full-time – the answer to that question is straight forward: you must continue to pay child support until the date specified in your order or agreement.
If your maintenance order or agreement does not include a specific end date, however, the answer is more complicated.
You can assume that you must pay child support at least until the child reaches the age of majority, but you may have to continue paying child support for some time longer. How much longer depends on your child’s particular living situation and circumstances.
Under the Family Law Act in Ontario, child support is limited to someone under the age of 18 or over the age of 18 and in a full time program of education. Child support must be paid as long as the child remains dependent. A dependent child is any child under the age of 18 unless:
- the child has married, or
- the child is at least 16 years old and has “voluntarily withdrawn from parental control”.
A child who is 18 or older may also be considered dependent if they cannot support themselves because:
- they have a disability or illness, or
- they are going to school full-time. (This usually continues until the child turns 22 years old or gets one post-secondary degree or diploma, but a judge may order support to continue even longer.)
When the judge decides how much support should be paid for a child who is 18 or older, they take into account any earnings or income the child receives from other sources.
Child support continues even if the parent receiving it gets married or starts to live with someone else.
If you need to get or change a child support order under the Child Support Guidelines, the court will require income information.
Child Support Guidelines are determined by a support table based on the support paying parent’s annual income and number of children entitled to support.
Departing from the support table amount is allowed in certain circumstances, shared custody costs, or in some cases of undue hardship.
Documents must be provided by the parent receiving support, only in cases where the amount of child support requested is different from the amount on the support table or in addition to the table amount.
If the request for the amount of child support is the same as the amount on the applicable Child Support Guidelines support table, without variation or any claim for contribution to special or extra-ordinary expenses, then only the parent paying child support is required to supply this information.
- A copy of your personal income tax returns filed with the Canada Revenue Agency for each of the three most recent taxation years together with all material that was filed with the returns.
- A copy of every notice of assessment and re-assessment that you have received from the Canada Revenue Agency for the three most recent taxation years.
- (For those who are an employee) The most recent statement of earnings indicating the total earnings paid in the year to date, including overtime or, where such a statement is not available, a letter from your employer setting out that information, including your rate of annual salary or remuneration.
- (For those who are self-employed) The following documents for the three most recent taxation years:
- the financial statements of your business or professional practice, other than a partnership; and
- a statement showing a breakdown of all salaries, wages, management fees or other payments or benefits paid to, or on behalf of, persons or corporations with whom you do not deal at arm’s length.
- (For those who are partners in a partnership) Confirmation of your income and draw from, and capital in, the partnership for its three most recent taxation years.
- (For those who control a corporation) The following documents for its three most recent taxation years:
- the financial statements of the corporation and its subsidiaries; and
- a statement showing a breakdown of all salaries, wages, management fees or other payments or benefits paid to, or on behalf of, persons or corporations with whom the corporation, and every related corporation, does not deal at arm’s length.
- (For those who are a beneficiary under a trust) A copy of the trust settlement agreement and copies of the trust’s three most recent financial statements.
- (For those who receive income from employment insurance, social assistance, a pension, workers compensation, disability payments or any other source) The most recent statement of income indicating the total amount of income from the applicable source during the current year or, if such a statement is not provided, a letter from the appropriate authority stating the required information.
Source: Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General