The parties were married and subsequently divorced. There are three children between the parties – a 20 year old and 18 year old twins. At the time of the divorce proceeding, all issues were resolved and a Final Order was reached on consent of both parties. The children resided with the father full-time since before the Final Order, and as such the Final Order stated that the mother is to pay child support to the father.
Two years later, the mother commenced a Motion to Change the Final Order. Among several issues, one was whether or not the current child support regime be terminated.
The court outlined the law with respect to termination of child support: on a Motion to Change a Final Order the moving party has the onus of proving both that there are changes in circumstances that warrant the termination and that the relief they are seeking is appropriate.
While the parties agreed that the oldest child was no longer a child of the marriage with respect to entitlement of child support, they disagreed as to when he ceased to be a child of the marriage. The parties also disagreed as to whether the younger twins were still children of the marriage.
Given that the older child is over 18 years of age, the court noted that it has discretion to order no child support and find that the table child support is no longer appropriate. The court did find that it was no longer appropriate given the following: the child moved out of the father’s home after completing high school, and while at college, the mother contributed to his expenses such as rent, meals, and tuition. As such, the court terminated child support for the older child.
With respect to the younger twins, both were 18 and one graduated high school while the other was only one credit shy of graduating. Given this, the mother requested that the child support be terminated. The father opposed this by claiming that they will both be returning to full-time high school. The court noted, however, that the father failed to provide any proof of their full-time enrollment. It’s important to note that the court was clearly frustrated with the father’s attitude and behaviour throughout the proceeding: the court said that the father “refused to concede even the most basic points”, “frequently made bald (sic) statements while providing no evidentiary support”, and that “his evidence was often self-serving but absent of any independent support for his assertions.”
The court reiterated that the onus was on the father to establish that the adult children continue to be entitled to support past their eighteenth birthday, which the father failed to satisfy. The court held that the only way the father would be entitled to table child support is if the children attend full-time educational institution and continue to reside full-time with the father.
This case reminds us of the importance of evidence and conduct in a court proceeding. Lack of evidence will discredit much of party’s claims, and unreasonable conduct will further taint the party’s image to their detriment.
For more information, please call us at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. or contact our firm online.