The law provides that the obligation to pay child support shall terminate without order on the date a child marries, dies or enters into military service.
Child support shall also terminate when a child reaches 19 years of age unless:
1. another age for such termination is specified in a court order;
2. the parties consent and the court approves the continuation of support until after a predetermined date; or
3. child support is extended by the court based on an application filed by a parent or the child prior to reaching age 19.
A parent or child may also seek the continuation of child support beyond 19 years of age under the following circumstances:
1. the child is still enrolled in high school or other secondary program;
2. the child is participating full-time in a post-secondary education program;
3. the child has a physical or mental disability that existed prior to the child reaching the age of 19 and requires continued child support; or
4. other exceptional circumstances as may be approved by the court.
If a court orders the continuation of child support, it must also provide in the order “a future date upon which the child support obligation will terminate or a date upon which the court will review the circumstances of the parties and children.”
Unallocated Child Support for Two or More Children
The new law reads that if an unallocated (not specifying the amount for each child) child support order exists for two or more children and the obligation to pay for one child terminates, the existing support obligation goes on until modified by court order or agreement.
If the support for such children was allocated and support for one terminates, the amount of child support for the remaining children shall be adjusted to reflect only the amount for the remaining child/children.
Arrears Existing at Termination
Arrears will remain due and enforceable. The new law provides how payment for such arrears will be made, as the “sum of the recurring child support obligation in effect immediately prior to the effective date of termination plus any arrears repayment obligation in effect immediately prior to the effective date of termination” unless otherwise ordered.
Impact on Support While Child in College/Post-Secondary Educational Institution
The law does not require or relieve a parent from paying “support or other costs while a child is enrolled full-time in a post-secondary education program.”