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Child support for children over age 18

It is somewhat of a myth that when a person has a child, the obligation to raise that child only lasts until he or she is 18 years old. Most parents in Massachusetts would agree this is entirely false. Many parents take care of their children, financially, long after they turn 18. With that in mind, the state has set guidelines for child support beyond this age. 

According to Mass.gov, a court can order child support up to the age of 23. This varies greatly from case to case and it is completely up to the court. A court may order continuing child support if the child is still in high school after turning 18 or if the child remains at home after reaching this age. Support may also be ordered to help pay for college costs. There is a cap on secondary education costs, though. No parent will be required to pay more than half the costs. 

MassLegalHelp notes that such child support orders typically occur when the child is dependent upon the parents for support. Judges typically look at the living situation, the reason the child is dependent, the resources of the parents and the academic situation. 

Some orders will not state what happens when a child reaches the age of 18. In a case like this, parents need to contact the court to find out what will happen. Parents who wish to extend support orders may need to request a modification through the system. However, support past the age of 18 is never guaranteed. 

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Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

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