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Joint Custody and Kinship Service

Joint Custody Review

Single independent students can be assessed as sole-support parents for the entire study period if they have joint custody of their child(ren) with their former spouse and the children reside with the applicant for a minimum of 50% of the study period.

If the formal custody agreement indicates that the student has custody, but the child(ren) do not reside with the applicant for a minimum of 50% of the study period, the review cannot be considered.  A student with visitation rights only will be considered a single independent student during the study period.

If the children are not living with the student during the pre-study or study period, he or she can initiate an exceptional expense review based on the amount of any child support payments he/she has made. 

Documentation required:

  • A copy of the separation/divorce agreement, custody agreement or court order which specifies that the student will have custody for 50% or more of the study period. An update from the student's lawyer is required if the agreement differs from the current living arrangements. If the student and former spouse did not legally update the custody/living arrangements, then a signed statement from the former spouse is required. If the student and spouse do not have a formal custody agreement, the student must provide a description of their informal agreement, signed by the student, and an affidavit signed by both the student and the spouse confirming the custody arrangement.
  • A letter from the applicant detailing the joint residence agreement during the pre-study period and the study period.  The amount of support received from the former spouse during the time the child (ren) reside with the applicant must also be listed in the statement.
Kinship Service Review

Under Kinship Service arrangements, a Children’s Aid Society may place a child who is in need of protection with a relative, such as a sibling, aunt or uncle, or a community member. The Kinship Service may be based upon an Agreement with the child’s parent(s) or a Court Order. 

Single independent students may be assessed as sole support parents if one or more child(ren) under the age of eighteen, who is not their own child, has been placed in their care through a Kinship Service arrangement. Similarly, a sole support parent or married student may be considered to have one or more additional dependents, if one or more child, who is not their own child, has been placed in their care through a Kinship Service arrangement.

Single dependent students may not be assessed as sole support parents through a Kinship Service arrangement unless they also meet the requirements for a family breakdown review.

Documentation Required:

  • Proof of the kinship service arrangement from the Children’s Aid Society that includes:
  • The start date and expected length of the arrangement;
  • The number and age of child(ren) placed with the student (and spouse, if applicable); 
  • Whether or not the student (and spouse, if applicable) will receive any financial support to assist with the care of the child(ren);
  • Proof of the amount of financial support received to assist with the child’s care (e.g., temporary care allowance). Any support received must be considered income;
  • If no financial support is received, a letter from the student explaining how the costs of caring for the child(ren) are being met;  
  • If the Kinship Service arrangement is shared between the student and one or more siblings, such as may occur when younger siblings are placed in the care of older siblings, the student would be required to provide documentation to show:
    • how the costs of care for the children have been divided between the older siblings;
    • that he or she is incurring at least 50% of the costs in relation to the child(ren); and
    • that the children are living with the student, and separate from the other older siblings, for at least 50% of the time. 
    • If the child(ren) is sixteen years of age or older, proof would be required that they meet the OSAP definition of a dependent child.

If the Kinship Service arrangement begins part way through the study period, the student’s status or number of dependents, as applicable, is changed effective the date of the Kinship Service agreement or Court Order.