Reading Time: 2 minutes

Canadian statistics have shown that more and more young adults (eighteen years and older) are still living at home, and therefore still relying on their parents for financial aid.

At the same time, parents are living longer and may rely on their children for support as they lose independence and capacity.

So what are the responsibilities of parents to their children, and vice-versa?

This is a very broad question, and one that can be answered from a variety of perspectives – legal, moral, etc. However, from a family law perspective, when a child reaches the age of majority, the bulk of the parental rights and obligations concerning their children no longer apply.

There is no automatic entitlement to child support, although it can continue where the child is enrolled in a full-time course of education or where the child is otherwise unable to withdraw from their parents’ care. A parent no longer has custody of a child past 18 years of age, and likewise a parent cannot exercise “access” to a person over 18, as courts lose their jurisdiction to make custody and access orders for a person over this age. At this point, the child is free to spend their time with whichever parent they choose.

With respect to the rights and obligations of children concerning their parents, there are a few. Under section 32 of the Family Law Act, children who are over the age of majority (and who have withdrawn from parental care) have an obligation to support their parents where necessary. However, there are two conditions attached – the parent must have “cared or provided support” to the child, and the support is limited to the extent to which the child can provide. This is a rarely litigated section of the Family Law Act, but there have been historical cases where impecunious parents have received orders for support from their grown children.

While they are not technically “rights and responsibilities”, the common law has developed rules governing the relationship between parents and adult children in some situations. One of the most common is the transfer of property.

When an adult transfers property to a minor child, the transfer is presumed to be a gift, unless contrary evidence can be proven. When an adult transfers property to an adult child, it is presumed to be a loan and that the child will pay the parent back.

These issues commonly arise in the context of property division, where an adult spouse owns property jointly with their parent or the parent has transferred property to their child, which may form part of that spouse’s net family property. Many people enter into these transfers with their aging parents as an estate-planning measure and do not realize the family law implications.

If you or your spouse owns property with their parent (or adult child), it is important to speak to a family law lawyer about how to best protect your rights.

For any further questions about your rights or responsibilities in the family law context, contact one of the experienced lawyers in our Family Law Group.

Author(s)

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Have Questions?

Enjoy this article?
Don’t forget to share.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Related Posts

Family Law
Blog
Reading time: 2 mins
What is the difference between being separated and being divorced?
Spouses are 'separated' when one person in the relationship has withdrawn from the relationship without any reasonable prospect of reconciliation or resumption of cohabitation. This means that you can be married and separated at the same time. In fact, in almost all cases, you have to have been separated from your spouse for at least one year before you can divorce. A divorce legally ends the marriage and allows former spouses to remarry.
Family Law
Blog
Reading time: 3 mins
So, you got engaged over the holidays. Here's what to think of next.
If you are one of the many people who got engaged over the holidays, a new year brings with it new beginnings - but are you prepared for the financial responsibility to your partner? Family Law lawyer Marta Siemiarczuk explains some of the things you should think about when preparing a marriage contract.
Family Law
Nelligan News
Reading time: < 1 mins
Chris Deeble appointed to OAFM Executive
On December 3, 2021, the provincial-level Board of Directors of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation (OAFM) elected Chris Deeble,[...]