How long is child support payable in Ontario?

(First published in Conflict Conversations Blog)

As I understand it as a layperson, child support in Ontario is payable until the child reaches the age of 18 or until the child is awarded their first diploma from a postsecondary educational institution.

In Delmar Miller v. Rosemarie Messam Mitchell and Milton Miller, 2013 ONSC 7021, the court granted child support to the applicant, a son aged 23, who began undergraduate studies at McMaster University in 2009, taking a hiatus of about nine months from university in 2010. In 2013, he was in his fourth and final year of a joint program in communications and political science with the hope of proceeding to graduate studies.

Among other things, the court ruled:

The support payments shall continue for so long as the applicant is attending university on a full-time basis.  The old rule of thumb that only a first degree should be contributed to by the parents has been eclipsed by the present reality, in respect of which I take judicial notice, that such a degree no longer provides an automatic entrée to remunerative employment. (emphasis added)

It remains to be seen to what extent this reasoning will be adopted in the future.


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