In Hamoline v. Hamoline, Justice Wilson of the Saskatchewan Queens Bench required that a father maintain child support payments despite the fact his child was beneficiary to a trust fund.
The trust fund was in the amount of around $76,000. The executors of the trust were not the child’s parents, but rather a trust company. The company had complete discretion to distribute the trust funds to the child as it saw fit for the purposes of education and general welfare.
Relying on the existence of the trust fund, the father attempted to forgo his support obligations – his position being that the child had the means to provide for herself. Additionally, the father made a modest income.
In this case the adult child was attending university. Interestingly enough, the trust company filed a letter with the court that it had no intention to contribute to the child’s education. The reason was that the child’s needs were being met by the parents.
In the decision, Justice Wilson discussed the factors for child support for a post-secondary education. Essentially, children are expected to make reasonable contributions to the cost of their own post-secondary education. Of course, as is often the case, this general rule can change with circumstance.
Justice Wilson ultimately denies the father’s request to end his child support obligations. In the decision Justice Wilson explains the child remains a child of the marriage and thus support obligations continue. That said, the court found that the trust ought to contribute to the child’s education. Because the law expects that a child contribute to his or her education, the court suggested the trust company could make contributions to help fulfill that expectation. However, the court did acknowledge that the child herself could not require such a contribution from the trust company – it has full discretion. In this case, hoping the trust company would do the right thing, the court suggested the trust company pay something as a mechanism to help the child contribute to her education.
So, the availability of trust monies will not vitiate support obligations. If a child remains a child of the marriage, support obligations will remain.
“Hamoline v. Hamoline” https://www.canlii.org/en/sk/skqb/doc/2009/2009skqb31/2009skqb31.html