Termination of child support

Parents in Massachusetts paying child support or owed child support may have some questions when their child nears the age of 18. While it is important for children to receive support while they're still under the care of their parents, there comes a time when children reach adulthood and mandatory support payments will stop. But, when exactly does child support stop? Do parents have to go to court to end the child support payments? Can a child continue to receive support after age 18? These are all important questions to ask, and the answers may not always be as obvious as they seem.

Massachusetts law governing the end of child support

Generally, child support ends when the child turns 18. If there is more than one child owed support, the child support will stop for the child that turns 18, but will continue for the children under 18. The law also covers children over the age of 18 who are still in high school. The child support order that resulted from the court proceedings may include specific information on how and when child support payments will end.

There are also other factors that may affect the amount by which child support payments are decreased when child support ends for only one child. When one child that is covered under the order turns 18 or graduates from high school, the paying parent may have to seek a child support modification in court. In cases involving multiple children,, the court will look at the number of children that receive child support under the order and consider how much support is still needed to care for the children who remain under 18. This is particularly true when parents are paying a lump sum for child support instead of a specific amount for each child. The court may also look at whether the parents' incomes have changed and whether the needs of any other children covered under the support order have changed.

Paying child support after age 18

It is possible that children over the age of 18 in Massachusetts will continue to receive child support; however, the court will use its discretion to make this determination. The court may consider several factors including: whether the child continues to reside with the custodial parent; whether the child is still dependent on the custodial parent; the living situation of the child; the academic circumstances of the child; the costs of the child's education and how these costs will be allocated between the parents; the parent's resources and any financial aid available to the child.

Parents in Massachusetts who are struggling with child support issues, such as when child support payments terminate, should contact an experienced family law attorney.