Support for an Adult Child

Neil Young has found his marriage to be too "rocky" for his liking, and, according to TMZ, filed for divorce from his wife, Pegi Young. The parties were married back in 1978 and were married for over 35 years.

The parties have agreed to mutually support their dependent adult son, Ben, who has cerebral palsy. In Ontario, the framework for determining child support is provided for in the Child Support Guidelines. The amount of child support payable is determined by three factors:

  1. the payor's income;
  2. the number of children; and
  3. he parenting arrangements with respect to said children (i.e. split time, etc.).

Furthermore, there are special rules applicable to payors whose income exceeds $150,000 (section 4 of the Child Support Guidelines). The amount determined by the above is often referred to as the Table amount of child support.

This fixed formula for the determination of child support promotes

  1. fairness,
  2. objectivity and consistency,
  3. improving efficiency by giving parties and the courts guidelines,
  4. ensuring consistency of amounts between comparable family situations.

In addition to the Table amount, the parents of a child will split special or extraordinary expenses (often referred to as Section 7 expenses) in proportion to their incomes.

Child support is said to be payable until a child turns eighteen or, if the child attends a post-secondary institution, until the completion of their first post-secondary degree. There is, however, one exception to this rule - dependent adult children. The Divorce Act imposes an obligation on both parents to support a "child of the marriage", which includes an adult child who is the age of majority and under the parents charge but unable by reason of disability or illness to withdraw from their charge.

It follows from the above, that an Ontario Court would order Neil Young to pay child support, even though Ben is over the age of the majority and does not attend a post-secondary educational institution. This is because he would be considered a child of the marriage who was unable by reason of illness to withdraw from his parents' charge.

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