Family Law... University Costs

Kay Rhodenizer – August 2015

Often separation agreements or court orders only contain general terms for child support to be reviewed when a child completes high school and moves on to post-secondary education, be it university, community college or trade school.

Unfortunately, these general provisions do little to get parents talking about upcoming costs in a timely fashion, fail to provide for some level of support to be paid during the time support is being reviewed, address who will pay school application fees (which can be both numerous and expensive), or address the student’s transferable education credits.

Some agreements and Court orders name the parent who will claim transferable credits but forget that under the Income Tax Act a student may carry forward unused credits to apply to taxable income in future years and must consent to a parent claiming the credits.

By the time a child is ready for university they are also likely to have car costs. They may also have earnings from part-time work, and opportunities for scholarships that are not known until shortly before university begins.

It is often difficult to anticipate all the factors that are taken into account in support for university students, but we encourage parents to think about a more detailed agreement (or if applicable to ask the Court to make a more detailed order), along the following lines using “Susan” as the child for an example:

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