Courts agreed that children were no longer 'children of the marriage' after high school
The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to grant child support to two children after each child reached the age of 18.
In Nobert v. Nobert, 2022 ABCA 317, Terri and Conway Norbert had two children born in 1999 and 2001. Following the parties’ divorce in 2010, they had joint custody of the children. The father received a credit of $92,211 towards child support, from which his support payments were to be deducted but no formal support payments were made.
The mother claimed that the father was in default of his child support obligations set out in the minutes of settlement and divorce judgment. She applied for retroactive child support of $117,460.17 up to June 2021 and ongoing support for after they turned 18 years old. At the time the mother’s application was filed in 2021, the children were 20 and 22 years of age.
Not ‘children of the marriage’ beyond 18 years old
The father argued that the children were no longer “children of the marriage” once they completed high school and that neither party owed retroactive child support. The chambers judge agreed and said child support should end when each child reached the age of 18. She further concluded that retroactive support should go back no further than three years before the date of effective notice of the mother’s application for retroactive child support, which was August 25, 2017. The judge then proceeded to calculate the support payable for the child who was under 18 at that time.
The judge subsequently reduced the resulting sum for in-kind support that the father had provided at the mother’s request.
The mother disagreed with the chambers judge’s decision, so she appealed. However, the appeal court was of the view that the chambers judge’s decision depended on the facts that were properly before her. The appeal court did not find any palpable and overriding error of fact, so it concluded that the judge’s decision was not susceptible to appellate review and it dismissed the mother’s application.