Child support reduction

I currently pay child support and section 7's for my two children. My oldest (21) dropped out of his post secondary program in November. Can I make application to have the amount i pay reduced as he is no longer in school? Would it be retro active to the date he dropped out?


Asked 12 months ago in Owen sound, Ontario
Categories: Family Law

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John  P. Schuman, C.S.

Answer by John P. Schuman, C.S.

VerifiedOntario lawyer

Yes.  Once your child is out of school full time, you no longer have to pay child support for him (unless he is dependent because of an illness or disability).  If he goes back to school full time again, then you will probably have to pay child support for him again.  Although, at 21 years old, he should be paying a portion of his post-secondary education expenses himself and his parents should only be paying what he cannot afford (unless you and your spouse make enough money that he would not be paying for his post-secondary if you were still together.)

For more on child support and post secondary education, see this webpage:http://www.devrylaw.ca/dsf/back-to-paying-for-school-child-support-and-postsecondary-education/ and this one:  http://www.schumanlaw.ca/blog/child-support-does-not-end.html and listen to this podcast: http://www.schumanlaw.ca/ontario-family-law-podcast/11--child-supports-special.html.  This video goes over a lot of Ontario Child Support Law: http://www.schumanlaw.ca/john-schuman-ontario-family/child-support-in-ontario.html.

You may be able to get the child support ended retroactively, but that depends on a number of things.  If your child and ex did not tell you that he had dropped out of school, then you should get a retroactive reduction because they hid the truth from you.  If you knew he had dropped out of school, then your adjustment should go back to the time when you first raised the issue that child support should stop.  You have to prove when you "gave notice" that child support should stop, so the date of a letter or email to that effect may be the date to which a judge gives you a retroactive credit. However, if you have to go to court to stop a child support order when it is clear that your child is no longer entitled to child support, many judges will be very angry with your ex.  If she is no longer entitled to child support, then she should agree to stop the child support order.  Many judges will make her pay for your lawyer's fees for going to court - in addition to making the child support reduction retroactive.

The law of child support in Ontario, as well as the process to change an existing child support order, is described in much more detail in this $20 easy-to-understand book on Ontario Family Law: http://www.amazon.com/Devry-Basics-Ontario-Family-Edition/dp/1105271420/.  (Amazon may even be having a sale right now - so find out if you did and are doing the right thing and help others in separation and divorce.)

Posted 12 months ago

John Schuman is a Certified Specialist in Family Law.  He is the partner managing the Family Law Group at Devry Smith Frank LLP, a full service law firm located near Eglinton and the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto. Learn more about John! Call him at 416-446-5080 or 416-446-5847 or email john.schuman@devrylaw.ca Listen to the Ontario Family Law Podcast!

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact John P. Schuman, C.S., or search the Lawyer Directory.

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