According to TMZ, Dakota Fanning's mom and dad have called it quits after being married for 27 years. Steven Fanning, Dakota's dad, filed for divorce from his wife, Heather, citing irreconcilable differences. Apparently child support is not an issue because Dakota is 22 years old and her sister, Elle, is 18 years old. However, in Ontario, the courts have recognized that financial dependency does not automatically end when a child turns 18.
Under both the Divorce Act and the Ontario Family Law Act, there is no age limit under which support automatically terminates. Therefore, child support may extend beyond the age of 18. In fact, the definition of "child" under the Family Law Act includes adult children who have not voluntarily withdrawn from parental control and who are enrolled in post-secondary studies. Typically, this means that child support is payable to a child over the age of 18 as long as the child is enrolled in full time studies at school.
Nevertheless, entitlement to child support for children over the age of 18 is not automatic. The court must be satisfied that the child's educational pursuits are reasonable with respect to the child's abilities; that the child's education meets the plans and expectations of the parents; and the educational pursuit is within the needs and means of both the child and the child's parents.
The court will also consider where the child attends post-secondary education. When a child attends university out-of-town and lives at home only during the summer months, the court may vary the amount of support that is awarded. For instance, the court may order full table amount support for the months that the child is home and a lesser amount when the child is away. Awarding child support in this kind of situation recognizes that one or both parents are required to maintain a home that will be used by the child during vacation and summer months.
In Dakota's case, it is unlikely that child support is an issue; however, if Dakota or her sister decided to pursue post-secondary studies, their parent's may have an obligation to pay support.