The federal child support guidelines, which came into force on May 1, 1997, states that amount of child support should be based on the income of non-custodial parents and it should be paid as long as the child is dependent (up to 18 years of age). In some instances child support may continue past the age of 18 years if the child has not become financially independent because of illness or disability or because the child is pursuing his higher education.
According to the child support guidelines, child support automatically terminates when the child becomes financially independent, on the death of the payee or on the death of the child. Early retirement is obvious change in circumstances, but that does not mean that the father could get rid of child support obligation. Early retirement other than health reasons may not be a sufficient ground to constitute “change in circumstances” to reduce or terminate child support.
The court may find out whether early retirement was taken in good faith or not and may still direct the father to pay child support if the disadvantage to the custodial parent outweighs the advantage to the non-custodial parent. In case of Dilger vs Dilger, the court laid down various factors to consider in determining whether the advantage of retirement to the non-custodial parent outweighs the disadvantage to the custodial parent.
These factors include age, health of the retiring party, health of the other party (i.e. child), motive behind the early retirement, timing of the retirement, ability to pay maintenance after retirement, ability of the oblige to provide for herself or himself, whether the retiring spouse was planning early retirement in order to get away of child support obligations etc.
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