What Constitutes a Child of The Marriage in Alberta?

University student in library

Post-secondary education can impact child support

Clients going through a separation with children are typically aware that in certain circumstances child support can continue after a child turns 18. The most common scenario is when a child attends post-secondary education. In that scenario child support payments can continue until the child completes the degree, is of a certain age, until the parents agree that support should end, or until the courts determine that support should end.

What Being A Child Of The Marriage Means For Post-Secondary Education

There are other situations in which a child can qualify for continued child support after the age of 18. For some young adults, the road to post-secondary may require upgrading courses or taking longer to complete high school. In other cases, an adult child enrolled in post-secondary education may take longer to complete his or her degree because of illness or disability. Unfortunately, some children experience other roadblocks – mental health, mental and/or physical disabilities that prevent them from being able to become self-sufficient as young adults. For parents who have children at or nearing the age of majority who are struggling, it is important to be aware that these circumstances may extend the time for which the child qualifies for support.

Legal Definition Of Child Of The Marriage In Alberta

The definition of a “child of the marriage” includes children over 18 who are “by reason of illness, disability or other cause” unable to withdraw from the parent’s charge or to “obtain the necessaries of life”. In short, if an adult child is not attending post-secondary schooling yet is unable to work and support him or herself, this may apply.
Absent an agreement by the parents, courts will need evidence of a child’s illness or disability to determine whether child support should continue. Determination of this issue is made on a case-by-case basis with the courts looking at all the circumstances of the child and the evidence in support of a claim. If child support does continue, the parents can expect either that support will continue for a specific period with a set expiration date, or for support to be reviewed again at a later date.

The topic of adult children and child support can be more complicated than simply a child attending university. Our lawyers can assist in assessing whether an adult child may still qualify for child support and what the considerations may be. Book a consultation with one of our lawyers today.

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