Does Child Support Stop When My Child Turns 18?
All parents have a duty to provide financial support for their child until their child turns 18. Under law, children become adults at age 18. In some cases, this transition from childhood to adulthood also ends the parents’ duty of financial support. Child support typically extends until a child turns 18, but it can last longer in certain cases. Massachusetts’s child-support guidelines provide that child support can be ordered in cases where the child has turned 18 but is still attending high school. Child support beyond that point is ordered at the court’s discretion. In Massachusetts, a court may order child support for a child over the age of 18 but younger than 23. At 23, support can no longer be ordered. Typically, child support for children between the ages of 18 and 22 is intended for the costs of college. This support is also sometimes called post-secondary support, as it is used for post-secondary education expenses.
The court will take into consideration several factors when deciding on a child support order for a child over the age of 18 and no longer in high school. The court will consider the child’s need for support, for example whether or not they will be pursuing a post-secondary education, the available resources each parent has to support the child, the financial resources the child him or herself has access to, the costs of their education, and the financial aid that may be available to them. The amount and duration of the support will be based on these factors.
If you are receiving child support and plan to request support for your child after they turn 18, you may need to modify your court order. Your existing child support order may be set to terminate once your child turns 18 and graduates high school. Obtaining a child support modification can be tricky, even more so if you are attempting to get child support for a child over the age of 18. You may wish to speak with a Massachusetts family law mediator regarding your case. Support of this nature is not always granted, so you may need the assistance of a mediator to work out an agreement with the other parent. Mediating your child support case with the assistance of a highly skilled Divorce Mediator is always better than hiring two separate lawyers and going to court.
Do you have questions about child support mediation? If so, Mediation Advantage Services can help. Experienced in divorce and child support mediation, Polly A. Tatum can assist you with efficiently mediating your child support issues, helping keep your out of pocket expenses down. Our firm serves those across Worcester County as well as across Massachusetts. Call our Worcester office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free guide for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.