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Case Briefs

Martell v Height

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FactsEdit

The father of an adult child appealed from an order requiring him to continue to support the child who had recently completed a bachelor's degree in political science and was now studying cartography at the College of Geographical Sciences.

IssueEdit

  1. When do child support obligations for adult children end?

DecisionEdit

Appeal dismissed.

ReasonsEdit

In an oral decision, Justice Freeman dismisses the appeal, stating there is no fixed cutoff for age or educational attainment. That being said, as the child gets older, the onus to demonstrate that support is needed increases.

As a general rule, parents of a bona fide student will remain responsible until the child has reached a level of education, commensurate with the abilities he or she has demonstrated, which fit the child for entry-level employment in an appropriate field. In making this determination the trial judge cannot be blind to prevailing social and economic conditions: a bachelor’s degree no longer assures self-sufficiency.

RatioEdit

  • No fixed point exists for the cutoff of support for adult children.
  • The older the child, the more difficult the onus to demonstrate the need for support.
  • Generally support continues up to the point of education commensurate with their abilities which enables them to obtain an entry-level position in that field.

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