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In Ontario, if an 18 year old moves away from home to go to college, is the child support paid directly to the child or still to the ex spouse?

July 13, 2021

941 viewsChild Support
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First of all – and absent a court order – the parents can agree between themselves that the child support will be paid directly to the child.  But failing that, a court can certainly order a college-age child to receive support directly in the right circumstances, though they may be uncommon. It may depend on the reason for the support:  For example, if the funds are mainly intended to cover the Ex spouse’s costs to provide a home for the child when he or she is visiting from college or on summer breaks, then it should still be paid to the Ex spouse – since that is who is incurring the costs to benefit the child.  Or, a court may make this kind of order if there is contention around whether child support money paid to an Ex spouse is actually reaching and benefitting the child.

On the other hand, in a few Ontario rulings the court has ordered that a part of the child support is to be paid directly to a third party, like a college or university.  This might arise in connection with post-secondary costs that qualify as extraordinary expenses under s. 7 of the Child Support Guidelines, and that relate to a child’s education (but are unrelated to the home, food, clothing or recreation).

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