“I just want the money” – Child Support for Estranged Adult Children

Nafar-Ross v. Raahemi, 2018 CarswellOnt 7831 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Background:

The parties were married for 15 years and had two children. This motion concerned the younger child, an 18 year old university student. At the age of 13, she made it known that she did not want to have contact with her father. In spite of this, the father made efforts throughout the years to rekindle their relationship with no success. As a result, the father brought motion to change seeking to end child support for youngest child on basis that she had rejected any relationship with him. The motion was dismissed.

Analysis:

The judge indicated that the situation was complex and blame for the breakdown of this parent-child relationship ought to be shouldered by both parents to varying degrees over the years.

Justice Roger spent ample time addressing Farden v. Farden, 48 R.F.L. (3d) 60 (B.C. S.C.). The Farden factors are as follows:

  • Whether the child is enrolled in a course of studies and whether it is a full or part time course of studies
  • Whether or not the child has applied for or is eligible for student loans or other financial assistance
  • The career plans of the child
  • The ability of the child to contribute to his/her support through part time employment
  • The age of the child
  • The child’s past and present academic performance
  • What plans the parents made while they were still together for the education of their children
  • Whether or not the child for whom support is sought has unilaterally terminated a relationship with the parent from whom support is sought
  • The ability of the parent to support a child beyond a first degree

Any one factor is not in itself determinative, however taken together these are weighed by a judge to determine whether child support ought to be terminated.

The jurisprudence on the subject indicates that support for an adult child who refuses a relationship with a parent will not be terminated unless the court can find that it is a unilateral and egregious rejection. Justice Roger found that in this instance, the rejection did not warrant such a label. The complexity of their history indicated to Justice Roger that there is fault on both sides, therefore he was not prepared to find that there is a unilateral rejection of the relationship by the child. In time, it was thought that she may reconsider the dynamic between them. The father's claim to terminate child support is dismissed.

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