There are times when the law fails to accommodate certain groups of people. When this happens, there are those who will challenge the exclusion, and others who seek to fix the problem. The story of an Ontario mom fighting for child support and the politician who wants to change the Family Law Act perfectly illustrates such an occasion.
A single mother from Brampton has been trying to gain the right to child support for her son. He is now 22 years old, and is developmentally disabled. The federal Divorce Act allows for ongoing support for adult children with disabilities. However, the young man's parents were never married, meaning his situation falls under the provincial Family Law Act. At present, the Act makes no provision for older disabled children of unmarried parents.
An Ontario Court justice heard the case on March 24, and it is currently under review. Two other charter challenges are pending in the province. In response to the apparent shortfall in the Act, an NDP MPP has introduced a private member's bill with the objective of addressing the problem. Under the terms of the proposed amendment to the Act, unmarried parents would gain the right to apply for child support for adult special needs children. Ontario is one of only two provinces lacking this legislation.
While the outcome of a single case will not change the law, it can set a precedent. In time, the Act may be altered to include this special group of parents. For any parent who has questions or issues with a family law matter, it may be helpful to ask a lawyer for clarification and assistance.
Source: ourwindsor.ca, "NDP bill would allow unmarried parents to seek support for disabled adult children", Laurie Monsebraaten, March 30, 2017