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When does child support end in Massachusetts?

It is important for readers of this Springfield family law blog to understand that child support determinations are made based on the specific needs of children. As such, the factual situations of a reader’s case will play a huge role in the outcome of their support matter. This post only provides a general overview of Massachusetts law and how it relates to the termination of child support.

In some cases child support may end when a child attains 18 years of age. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. If the child is still principally dependent on their parents the support may continue. If a child has moved out of their parent’s home, is supporting themselves with earnings, has gotten married or joined the military then they may be found to be no longer dependent on their parents.

If a child is found to need support beyond the age of 18 then it may terminate when they turn 21. However, if the child turns 21 and is enrolled in a full-time undergraduate education program then their support may continue past their 21st birthday.

Individuals whose support extends past the age of 21 may see their child support terminate when they turn 23. It is only when a child suffers from a disability and has a guardian appointed for their maintenance and care that a child support order will extend beyond their 23rd birthday.

Parents can choose to provide for their children independent of child support orders and agreements. However, Massachusetts recognizes several ages wherein it is permissible for child support paying parents to terminate their obligations.