Withdrawal from Parental Control and Dependant’s Relief

March 2, 2016 Suzana Popovic-Montag Support After Death Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

In Ontario, F181E30B40 (1)minors who are 16 years or older may choose to withdraw from parental control under section 65 of the Children’s Law Reform Act. This means that these minors have the ability to leave home prior to reaching the age of majority without obtaining the permission of their parents or the courts. However, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly as it can be accompanied by serious consequences.

Aside from practical concerns such as living arrangements and limited employment prospects for minors, withdrawing from parental control carries potential repercussions regarding entitlement to financial support. In short, a minor who has voluntarily withdrawn from parental control may inadvertently disentitle him or herself from receiving financial support.

This is an issue that is commonly raised within the context of child support. Section 31(2) of the Family Law Act provides that the obligation of a parent to support his or her child does not extend to a child who is sixteen years of age or older and has withdrawn from parental control. The question that the courts have struggled with is whether the minor’s withdrawal is voluntary or not. In many cases, the minor did indeed make the decision; however, if the minor was driven to this decision as a result of difficult circumstances in the home, it is likely that the decision will be viewed as a necessity.

Withdrawal from parental control can similarly impact a minor’s ability to claim dependant’s support after the death of a parent. According to section 62(1)(q) of the Succession Law Reform Act,

62(1) In determining the amount and duration, if any, of support, the court shall consider all the circumstances of the application, including,

[…]

(q) if the dependant is a child of the age of sixteen years or more, whether the child has withdrawn from parental control

Accordingly, withdrawal from parental control is one of a variety of factors that the court will look at in determining dependant’s relief claims (including the importance of moral claims which is discussed in more detail on our podcast here).

Thank you for reading.

Suzana Popovic-Montag

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