Court clarifies child support calculations for disabled adult children – Child Support

Sindaco v. Sindaco, 2016 BCSC 389

This case involved the determination of the appropriate amount of child support for an adult who remained a child of the marriage due to psychological disability. The adult child was estranged from his father, who was the payor, and lived with his mother, who was the recipient.

The father earned approximately $53,000 per year, and the mother $10,890. Their proportionate split of their incomes were 83% and 17% respectively. If the Federal Child Support Table were applied the father would pay table child support of $488 per month.

The adult child received $906 per month in disability benefits.

Justice Steeves applied the approach from Kohlmuss v. Kohlmuss, 2015 BCSC 1101 in determining appropriate child support, which requires the

-calculation of reasonable costs of the child;

-deduction of the amount of the disability benefit; and

-division between the parents proportionate to income of any shortfall.

One topic of discussion was to what extent the adult child should be afforded discretionary spending money. Justice Steeves determined that inclusion of some spending money was an appropriate expense, despite the child’s history of using such money wastefully, or in some case for purposes harmful to himself.

Ultimately, Justice Steeves found that the current situation where the child was allowed to spend much of his disability benefit as discretionary funds was not appropriate; however, determined that an amount of $50 per week for discretionary spending was appropriate.

The child’s expenses were calculate as $1,140 per month leaving a shortfall of $234 after the disability benefit was applied. The father’s proportionate share based on income was therefore $194.