Recently, in Edwards v. Edwards the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that an adult child cannot indefinitely postpone the commencement of post-secondary education and still remain a dependent, who is still entitled to parental financial support. The couple in that case had two sons. After separation, the sons started living with the father and the mother agreed to pay interim child support. The sons graduated high school at 17 years of age. The mother moved to vary the child support because the sons were no longer in school.
The court found that the fact that both sons were now over 18 years of age and no longer in school qualified as a material change of circumstances under section 17 of the Divorce Act, which meant that the interim child support order should be varied since the order was premised on the idea that both children would be pursuing post-secondary education.
The court accepted that children are allowed to take a “gap year” in order to figure out what they wanted to do, and thus the children do not necessarily lose their dependent status as soon as they turn 18 years of age. However, postponing education indefinitely does not make a child entitled to financial support absent “illness or disability” or some other cause that makes him “unable” to attend school.
The court ruled that the mother’s child support obligation should be reduced and that the mother overpaid child support. That overpayment should be set off any against any other financial obligation she may have in the proceeding.
To know more on matters of child support and divorce, contact the best spousal support lawyer in Toronto.