Child support payments don't stop automatically when a child turns 18. The parent who pays child support must ask a court for permission to stop or decrease the payments.
However, if the other parent agrees that child support can stop or decrease, the parents can make an agreement between themselves. Next, it is important to have a special court clerk confirm the agreement. This confirmation is called "homologation". To get help with these steps, parents can use the Homologation Assistance Service offered in legal aid offices.
In all cases, the child must have a chance to argue against any decrease in or stop to support payments.
Consequences of Not Making Support Payments
A parent who stops paying child support without getting a court judgment or without an agreement approved by a court officer an get into trouble. In other words, this parent can be held responsible for all child support payments not made.
Alexia makes child support payments of $500 each month for her son Steven. Revenu Québec collects the child support payments. Alexia stopped paying when Steven turned 18. Three months later, Revenu Québec is still keeping track of how much Alexia owes.
Alexia now owes Revenu Québec $1,500.
Property belonging to the parent who has stopped paying can be seized and sold by Revenu Québec or by the parent who has custody of the children.
Also, the parent no longer receiving support payments can bring the other parent to court and ask that the parent not paying be found in contempt of court (not respecting a court order).
Independent at 18?
The purpose of child support for an adult child is different from child support for a child under 18.
When a child is about to turn 18, the parent who makes child support payments can consult a lawyer to help determine
- whether the child turning 18 still needs support payments, and
- whether the parent should take steps to decrease or cancel the support.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.