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When a couple’s relationship breaks down, parents still have an obligation to support their minor children. Children over the age of 18 may also be entitled to child support, provided that they meet certain criteria, as described in this article.

What is child support?

As explained in an earlier post, child support refers to payments made by one parent or guardian to another. These payments provide financial support for the benefit of the child or children. Payments are usually made monthly, and the same rules apply to both married and unmarried couples.

Parents’ obligation to financially support their children still exists

  • even if the children no longer live with that parent
  • the parent isn’t married to the other parent
  • the parent doesn’t have a relationship at all with the children
  • the parent lives in another place (see the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act for more information)

Children under 18

Child support must be paid for children who are under 18, as long as the children have not voluntarily withdrawn from their parents’ charge.

Children over 18

Under Alberta’s Family Law Act, child support must also be paid to children between 18 and 22 who are enrolled in school full-time.

Similarly, the federal Divorce Act states that parents must pay child support to any child over 18 who

  • is enrolled in post-secondary education
  • has a disability or illness that prevents that child from living without the aid of his or her parents

To learn more, see Support for parents confused about child support, which explains

  • who must pay child support
  • who can apply for child support
  • how much child support must be paid
  • factors a judge considers when making a child support order
  • retroactive child support
  • what to do if child support is not being paid
  • payments in arrears

Child support and family law can be complicated. Understanding the law, as well as your options, is an important first step. Consult with the Lift Legal team of family lawyers.



The information on this blog and website is provided by Lift Legal for educational purposes only. It is intended to give readers a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Information contained in these pages should not be used in place of competent legal advice from a licensed, practising lawyer in Alberta. Furthermore, by using this blog and website, you understand that no lawyer-client relationship exists between you and Lift Legal.

Mel Garbe

Mel founded Lift Legal with the goal of delivering cost effective legal services without sacrificing capability by effectively using modern tools to access the types of resources that larger law firms have access to. The result being that Lift Legal provides high level professional services at a greater value.

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