On December 11, 2018, Bill 28 – the Family Statutes Amendment Act – received Royal Assent by the Justice and Solicitor General.
Bill 28 involves a number of significant changes to family law that will include: new property division rules for unmarried partners upon relationship breakdown, repealing of the Married Women’s Act, and clarifications to adult child support eligibility.
In terms of adult child support, Bill 28 changes the existing eligibility factors in the Family Law Act so that they align with the existing legislation in all other Canadian jurisdictions as well as the federal Divorce Act. As the Divorce Act governs child support for children of married parents divorcing, while Alberta’s Family Law Act governs for the children of unmarried parents and married parents in non-divorce matters, the changes make clear that all parents can apply for child support for adult children, regardless of their marital status.
The amendment includes two major components making clear that:
- Adult children who are 18 years or older and who are unable to withdraw from their parents’ care due to illness, disability, being a full time student or “other cause” are eligible for a child support application; and
- The age limit for adult child support is removed.
While the new property division rules for unmarried partners do not come into effect until January 1, 2020, the changes to adult child support eligibility in the Family Law Act are already in full force and effect.