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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-09-2015, 12:49 AM
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Default Child Support Forever?

Is one required to pay child support for life in the case where the child is technically "disabled" as far as receiving the disability tax credit is concerned?

My child is considered "disabled" due to aspergers syndrome, high functioning for the purposes of CRA. While I get that, I find it difficult to even refer to my child as disabled due to his extremely high functioning. He is quite capable of going on to seek post secondary education and eventually gain employment. I also might add that due to his diagnosis he will, when the time comes, be eligible for social programs that facilitate employment for him.

Ex wife is in receipe of the disability tax credit for our child, as well as a tidy sum in child support from me monthly. I'm quite ok with that at present as our child is still in high school.

My ex wife believes that due to his "disability" she will continue to receive child support for the rest of our sons life, and as long as he is living with her.

My dilemma is that I fully expect that when the time comes and our son graduates high school, she will have very little expectation from him to go on with post secondary, find employment and eventually move out. I firmly believe she is going to use his disability to manipulate situations so that he remains as dependent on her as possible, with the goal of receiving life long child support from me.

It was my understanding that my son would be eligible for child support from me as long as he is in school, high school and post secondary. I am quite ok with this and will happily pay CS for that duration. However I believe very strongly that when the time comes, my son should take advantage of the social programs that support asperger adults in finding and maintaining employment and that offer support for independent living. Again, I have good reason to believe that my ex wife will not be proactive in this and I am confident that she will manipulate circumstances so as to keep our son as dependent.

How is this situation handled? Would it be any different than an adult child who is not disabled but whom chooses to live at home with Mom and not seek employment, post secondary education and independent living? In this case I don't think a parent should financially support an adult child who simply chooses not to be proactive and become independent.

Input, personal experience and knowledge is very much welcome. Thank you all very kindly.

Last edited by RunningMan; 09-09-2015 at 12:51 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:30 AM
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I know that many post secondary institutions have accommodation staff to assist kids with disabilities attend school. They help with career planning etc. there are also many organizations that support individuals with disabilities integrate into the work force. What does your kid want is the biggest question. Mom cant make them do what she wants if they dont want to.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:38 AM
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No, CS does not last forever. He is capable of going to post secondary and getting a job. Should he, as a capable legal adult, choose not to, he can try to apply for social assistance disability benefits.
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:47 PM
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IMHO, unless you are the parent, sibling or spouse of an adult person with Asperger's (or high functioning autism) you can't possibly understand this situation and its ramifications.

My 28 year old brother has Asperger's Syndrome, very high
functioning and extremely intelligent. When my parents split, there was a special provision in their agreement that child support was to be continued for him until age 25 rather than the usual 18 + 4 years of post-secondary education.

How old is your son now? Please don't be so sure of how he will handle post-secondary education and or gainful employment.

Is your son completely integrated at school or does he have special education supports?

An Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis is no guarantee that your son will qualify for a government disability income like ODSP even if he has a disability tax status now.

Mental health issues like anxiety and depression often become these kids limiting factors as they enter young adulthood, making living independently or attending a university with thousands of other students difficult if not impossible. A university degree is no indicator of employability, especially for persons on the austism spectrum.

My brother only qualified for ODSP at age 20 because of his Asperger's Syndrome PLUS mental health issues and a neurological sleep disorder.

Once my brother was receiving ODSP and working part time, my mother agreed to my father stopping CS payments for him at age 21. The equivalent amount was deducted from his ODSP payments as room and board to cover the loss of the child support.

Be prepared that your son may accomplish the normal milestones of employment and independent living but it will probably take longer than most of his peers by several years and he is very likely to end up underemployed based on his intelligence and his education.

My brother is considered to be a success story in that he has been competitively employed fulltime for 3 years, manages his finances, has a healthy savings account and bought his own car that he maintains and insures.

HOWEVER, he didn't learn to drive until he was 24 and still lives at home with our mother in a basement apartment in her home. He often forgets or chooses not to shower, would wear wrinkled or dirty clothes to work if she didn't catch him and either eats junk food or completely forgets to eat.

He could definitely live on his own and may do that in the future but his health and his quality of life would definitely suffer.

Last edited by YoungDad23; 09-09-2015 at 03:49 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:59 PM
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I got the impression that the other poster was worried their ex would limit the kids activities and abilities in order to continue to collect support. If their child wants the freedom to pursue education, employment or a life away from their parents they should be able to do so without their parent preventing them for their own financial gain. By letting the ex know they will not receive cs in perpetuity it might encourage the child to seek educational opportunities or employment opportunities but definitely supports in these areas for the future. It wouldnt be fair for the ex to force kid to stay home just to collect cs any more than its fair to demand full custody to keep full cs to live on.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
I got the impression that the other poster was worried their ex would limit the kids activities and abilities in order to continue to collect support. If their child wants the freedom to pursue education, employment or a life away from their parents they should be able to do so without their parent preventing them for their own financial gain. By letting the ex know they will not receive cs in perpetuity it might encourage the child to seek educational opportunities or employment opportunities but definitely supports in these areas for the future. It wouldnt be fair for the ex to force kid to stay home just to collect cs any more than its fair to demand full custody to keep full cs to live on.
Completely agree rockscan. Kid should not be kept at home by mom as a source of income from dad and government because he has a disability. Kid should be expected to become as functional and self-sufficient as possible.

My response was more about OP's discounting Asperger's as a "technical" disability for tax purposes only and focusing on kid's intelligence and likelihood of being able to attend post secondary.

High functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome are defined by the person having a normal or above average intelligence. Because kids is smart and appears fine, doesn't make his disability any less real is my main point.

The reality of government funded programs to support these individuals after high school is that they usually don't qualify or if they do qualify, the support providers know very little about how to help them because they are so intelligent and don't have physical limitations.

Since I am the younger brother, I have spent my whole life living sided by side with a person with Asperger's Syndrome and watched his struggles and his successes.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:34 PM
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Here is some caselaw I found on CanLii:
CanLII - 2010 ONSC 6889 (CanLII)

It's probably not very good, but it's one I could find where the parties were arguing over child support, and it involved a child with some form of disability.

I don't see where the judge deviated much from the "child of marriage" definition, or the child support guidelines. There is nothing that states "pay more or longer, for disabled child".

The only consideration I can see, is they commented on the one child, eventually going to post-secondary school, and it may take longer for that to be completed, due to disabilities?

I don't see how "child of the marriage" definition would change here, simply because your child has some form of Asperger's.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:55 PM
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Here is another more complex related case, from CanLii (Court of Appeals of Ontario):

CanLII - 2014 ONCA 459 (CanLII)

I could not find the "trial" case yet, but this appeal case, judge mentioned that father discharged the onus of showing the Table approach was inappropriate, it is necessary to determine an appropriate amount of child support under s. 3(2)(b).

Quote:
Child the age of majority or over

(2) Unless otherwise provided under these guidelines, where a child to whom an order for the support of a child relates is the age of majority or over, the amount of an order for the support of a child is,
(a) the amount determined by applying these guidelines as if the child were under the age of majority; or
(b) if the court considers that approach to be inappropriate, the amount that it considers appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the child and the financial ability of each parent or spouse to contribute to the support of the child. O. Reg. 391/97, s. 3 (2).
It sounds like the child in that case, had more serious, complex mental disability/issues.

Last edited by dad2bandm; 09-09-2015 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Added finishing thought.
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Old 09-09-2015, 05:51 PM
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This link is an analysis of the above case:

CHILD SUPPORT: Prescribed Table Amounts Are Not Always Appropriate -
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:13 PM
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There are also many programs available for young adults with aspergers specifically geared towards helping them transition to adults that you could introduce him to, which may help build his confidence and start taking control if his own life.
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