When Does Child Support End?
Determining the Length of Child Support Payments
In Massachusetts, child support generally ends when a child is 18.
In some scenarios, child support can continue for children over the age of 18. Usually, child support is only granted for children over 18 in cases in which the child is a full-time student and the court can use its discretion in ordering support and/or college contribution. Child support lasts for as long as is designated in the child support agreement, unless the agreement is later modified to increase, lower or even terminate.
Everyone wants to know when child support ends. There’s basically a three-tiered answer. Child support ends when:
- The child reaches 18 or graduates high school; or
- It can go up to the age of 21 if the child is principally dependent on that parent financially; or
- It can go to 23 if the student is in college.
You should also understand, in Massachusetts, there’s a recent change to the support guidelines. Any requirement to pay child support after the age of 18 is really looked at under a microscope. For example, college contributions count and whether or not a child is financially dependent on a parent after 18 is looked at carefully. So, we gave you the three tiers, but understand, there has been a change in the Massachusetts guidelines and, furthermore, if parenting time is any more than two-thirds to one-third, you can get a deviation and have support adjusted.
Deviations where you can argue against the guidelines are certainly arguments you can make before the court. Check with your attorney, find the ones that have worked best, and use those to help your case.