Can you sue your parents for support?

You can't go to court to ask for child support if:

  • your parents are still together, and
  • you're living with them.

If your parents are separated and you're living with one of them, the parent you're living with is the person who must apply for child support for you from your other parent.

If you're under 19, you're a minor. A minor can start legal legal proceedings (a court case) to claim child support from a parent if:

  • they're 16 years or older, or
  • the court allows them to.

Minors under 16 can start a court case with the help of a litigation guardian. A litigation guardian is someone who'll represent you in court. But the court probably wouldn't get you a litigation guardian,if you're living with one of your parents because they should apply for support.

You can apply for child support if one of your parents doesn't and you're over 19 or if you aren't living with any parents, as long as the law says you're still a "child" because:

  • you have a disability and can't work to support yourself, or
  • you're doing a full-time post-secondary educational program.

You'll need to prove you need financial help. It may be hard to win a case for support from your parents if:

  • you have a job, or
  • you're married or living with someone as if you're married (you might call it being in a common-law relationship).

The law usually says your parents should still support you if:

  • you're younger than 19, and
  • you don't live with them.

If they don't pay support to you, you have to start a court action (court case) to claim child support.

You may need the help of a litigation guardian (see above). But even if the court gets you a litigation guardian, you might not get a child support order.

For example, the court will probably decide you don't need child support from your parents if you're a minor and you:

  • have run away from home (unless there was family violence or the circumstances were intolerable),
  • have found a job, and
  • are living independently of your parents.

They're especially likely to decide this if you also don't want a relationship with your parents.

Making a claim for child support can be quite complicated. If you're thinking about doing this, speak to a lawyer first. See Tips about getting legal help for how to find a lawyer or get legal aid.

To find out more about children's rights, parental responsibilities, and what help you can get, see:

Updated on 24 September 2019