Even when a Springfield, Massachusetts resident turns 18, they will likely still need a lot of assistance from their parents. After all, financial security rarely comes automatically to a person the minute they walk out of their parents' front door, particularly if they are planning on attending college. After all, college is expensive and continues to get pricier as the years go on.
Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines treat child support questions regarding children in college differently than younger children still within the age of minority. The big difference is that judges have a lot more discretion to order parents to support their children after the child reaches the age of majority and may elect not to order parents to pay for college at all.
When deciding whether to require unmarried parents to contribute to their child's college education, among other things, the court will consider how much income and assets each parent has available to chip in. The court will also consider whether the child could receive financial aid and will also assess the child's likelihood to succeed in college. Finally, the court will take in to account where the child is living while attending school.
The Guidelines cap the amount of college expenses a court can order to half the cost of attending a public university in Massachusetts at rates provided to state residents. The court can only override the cap if it appears a parent could clearly afford to do more.
While college is often an important or even necessary stop along a young adult's overall road to success, it is also a very significant investment for a parent. A parent who believes the other parent should contribute to college, or, for that matter, a parent who cannot afford all or even part of the costs of a college education, may need to review their options with a Massachusetts family law attorney.