Federal and provincial laws establish criteria for when an adult child is eligible for child support. Specifically, the Divorce Act states that if a child who is 18 or older is unable to obtain the necessaries of life, then he or she may be entitled to child support. The Family Law Act also establishes child support criteria for adult children.
In many cases, children with mental or physical disabilities are entitled to support after they turn 18. Another common reason an adult child may need ongoing financial support is that the child is attending college, university or another post-secondary institution such as a trade school.
However, the fact that an adult child is enrolled in a post-secondary institution does not automatically mean the child is entitled to support. A variety of factors -- commonly called the "Farden factors" -- may have to be considered.
In determining whether an adult child is eligible for child support, the court will consider the individual circumstances of the case.
For example, the court may ask whether the child is eligible for other forms of financial assistance, such as student loans. Generally, if either of the parents is in a position to fund the child's education, then the court is not likely to place the obligation to borrow money on the child.
The court may also inquire as to whether the child is able to self-support by working part-time, and whether the child is enrolled in school full- or part-time. Full-time enrollment is more likely to necessitate ongoing financial support from one or both parents.
For a longer list of considerations regarding child support for an adult child, please see our previous post, "When Does Child Support End in Alberta?"