During the period of time that a child is considered a dependent of their parents they are, under the law, entitled to receive financial support for their maintenance and upbringing. Child support is derived from both parents with the noncustodial parent making payments to the custodial parent based upon an agreement or juridical order that dictates the amount and schedule that payments are to follow. Child support from one's parents may end at different points in a child's life and this post will examine some of those common events.
First, child support can end at the age of eighteen if the child is no longer dependent upon their parent. Getting married, securing a full-time job and joining the military are signs that a child is self-sufficient and no longer in need of child support. Enrolling in college is not necessarily considered an event that will terminate a child support obligation.
If a child is over 18 years of age but is enrolled in a full-time undergraduate education program then their child support obligation may endure into their adulthood. That obligation would continue for both of their parents and may eventually end when the child graduates or leaves school for full-time employment.
Finally, child support may continue until the age of twenty-three even if the child is still enrolled in an undergraduate program. Individuals who may receive child support beyond the age of 23 are those who suffer from disabilities and may lack the capacity to become self-supporting.
Parents must support their children but through child support agreements they have some flexibility regarding how long those payments will last. Terminal events may end a parent's requirement to provide child support but readers should speak with their family law attorneys to better understand how the laws of Massachusetts may impact their child support obligations.