Are grandparents now responsible to make child support payments?

This question is becoming increasingly complicated as the traditional notion of “family” continues to evolve. Child support is typically thought of as an obligation owing from a parent to his or her child (both biological and adopted). However, liability for child support can also extend to a person who “stands in the place of a parent.” In other words, anyone who assumes the role of a parent can potentially become liable to pay child support, and this includes grandparents. However, this line can easily become blurred. There are many grandparents out there who, with the intent of helping their children, start parenting their grandchildren, without realizing the potential implications.


There is a case currently making its way through the court system in Ontario which may have implications for grandparents. The paternal grandparents in this case are being asked to pay $760.00 per month in child support for their 10-year old granddaughter. However, this case has many complicating factors and will most certainly require careful analysis when the decision comes in. For example, the father of the 10-year old grandchild and the son of the grandparents who are being asked to pay child support, died in an accident in 2013. Apparently, the grandparents were unknowingly awarded joint custody of the child in 2012, which will likely have an impact on the decision. This is definitely a case to keep an eye on in 2018.

For more information on how grandparents can end up being liable for child support, please contact a Radley Family Law lawyer.