Children need to be supported in many ways, financial support is the responsibility of both parents, no matter if they are together or not. When a family is together under one roof, there is a shared responsibility to support their children. For parents that do not live together, there is still a shared responsibility to support their children financially. The separation agreement or court ordered custody will normally dictate which parent is to pay child support.
The parent that spends the least amount of time with the child will end up paying child support to the parent with primary custody, in most cases. This is because the parent with primary custody has the daily responsibilities of caring for the child, which includes most of the typical expenses. It is expected that the other parent assists with these expenses.
Anyone that had a parent-like relationship with a child may be responsible for paying child support, even if they are not the biological parent. The facts of your individual scenario will determine if you fall into this situation. If you were living with the child and engaging in daily activities and routines or demonstrated an intention to treat the child as your own, you may be obligated to pay child support, no matter if you were married to the biological parent or in a common law relationship.
All dependent children are legally entitled to financial support from their parents, and parents are obligated to support their child even if they do not currently live with the child or ever have, do not have access to or see their child, did not have a continuing relationship with the other parent or have other children from another relationship.
Generally, the parent paying child support must continue to do so for all children that are under the age of 18. However, there are circumstances that can conclude the child support early or extend it. If the child is 16+ and has made the decision to leave the support of their parents or if the child has married, child support can be terminated. Alternatively, if a child that is older than 18 is attending school full time, or has an illness or disability and is still dependant on parental support, you may be required to continue paying child support. In the scenario where a child is in school fulltime, it usually extends until the child receives their first post-secondary degree/diploma. There may be additional circumstances that can end or extend child support, but these are the most common.
If the paying parent is not meeting their financial obligations of child support, you can have the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) step in, as they have the ability to take certain actions such as seize bank accounts, garnish wages, and suspend passports and drives licenses. You should not try and restrict access to a parent, even if they are not living up to their financial obligations. Access to both parents is the child’s right and can be enforced by the courts if one of the parents breaks a court order or the separation agreement.
Family law can be very complicated, understanding, and fulfilling your obligations as a parent can be confusing and difficult at times. Having a lawyer that is experienced in family law on your side supporting you, and offering effective and professional legal representation is always suggested.
We make it our business to assist you and obtain the best results for you and your family. Contact us for a thorough consultation on this and any other issue you may have pertaining to family law.
The material provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice.