There are a lot of factors that need to be considered before a child support order can be finalized. The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines cover a lot of ground, and give parents quite a bit to mull over when trying to decide issues of financial responsibility. One of the biggest issues that can cause significant tension between parents is the age factor.
Most tend to think that when a child turns 18, or graduates from high school, child support stops. This is usually true. However, there are certain situations in which continued child support may be granted. The need to continue to pay for adult children is only ordered at the discretion of the Court.
So, what situations may qualify for continued support payments? One major expense for parents and/or their children is a college education. Contributing to a college fund is not necessarily required by law; however, the child’s living situation, ability to obtain financial aid and a parent’s ability to help fund an education — among many other considerations — may give cause for granting continued child support. Another situation numerous parents face is caring for an adult child who may not be physically or mentally able to be self sufficient. Again, very specific stipulations apply before granting support in these circumstances, and the many other situations in which a child may need further parental backing.
There will always be parents who are willing to provide support to their children, without the need to seek an order from the Court. There are others, though, who may feel, they should no longer be held financially responsible after the child is 18. According to the current Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, if desired, it is possible to seek a formal order for continued support — under the right circumstances. Should this become an issue, parents may seek legal guidance to discuss available options and decide how to proceed.
Source: mass.gov, “Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines: Age of Children“, Accessed on May 26, 2015