When Does Child Support End in Massachusetts?

During divorce proceedings, spouses have to make many decisions. One of these decisions includes child support if the couple has children. Child support is compensation paid from a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to support their child’s life financially. Divorce can be a hard thing for children to handle, but spousal support exists in the effort to help maintain the standard of living that the child is used to.

Child support can be decided on by a judge once they consider several different factors. These factors relate to the child’s health and happiness. The judge also takes the lives of each parent into consideration when determining an amount for child support to make sure they can provide for the child. They may assess the financial status of each parent, each parent’s work history, and their earning capacity. In addition to this, any debts and assets of each parent are considered. This allows them to make an estimate of what a parent can provide for the child.  The judge is obligated to act in the best interest of the child to ensure their well-being and stability.

The Age of Emancipation

Child support is paid to the custodial parent from the non-custodial parent. This is because the custodial parent has physical custody of the child, meaning they will reside with them in their home and spend more time with this parent. Because of this, the custodial parent typically spends more money caring for the child. This may entitle them to receive child support from the other parent to balance out the cost of living for the child and help assist them as they grow up. Child support payments may end when a child reaches the age of emancipation. In the state of Massachusetts, the age of emancipation is 18 years old.

Because all children and families are different, each child support case is handled on a case by case basis. Because of this, support payments do not always end at the emancipation age. If a child wishes to attend a higher education system, the non-custodial parent may still be required to make payments after the child reaches 18 years old. When this happens, the payments may continue until the age of 23, or when the child graduates. This helps provide for the child while they are continuing their education and cannot support themselves yet. However, if a parent believes that a child is independent and can provide for themselves, they can file a motion to emancipate the child. When a child is deemed emancipated, it may end child support payments.

Contact our Firm

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.