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Can you count on child support if your teen is college-bound?

For many parents in Massachusetts, there is no better affirmation that they have succeeded in their parental endeavors than their child receiving admission letters to top colleges. For some families, that college education could potentially cost more than all of a child’s cost-of-living expenses until they reach the age of 18.

If you expect that you will have more time with your children and more parental responsibilities after your divorce, you can ask your ex for child support to help you cover those costs and ensure an appropriate standard of living for your children. Can you also ask for child support to continue when your child enrolls in college?

Ongoing support may be an option

Massachusetts is one of many states that recognize the importance of parental contributions to a child’s post-secondary education. The custodial parent helping a new college student cover their cost-of-living expenses and tuition can ask for ongoing child support to help cover college costs.

The state can order the parent paying support to continue doing so to help support a child enrolled in college until they reach the age of 23. While the courts can’t necessarily force your ex to absorb the full cost of tuition or any secondary expenses, they can at least order support to help cover a portion of your child’s cost as they pursue their college degree.

You can always agree on college child support, too

If you and your ex are in agreement about the importance of a college education for your child’s future, you may be able to negotiate your own support arrangements outside of court. You can present the court with the terms that the two of you agree would work best for your family in an uncontested filing or modification request after your initial family court proceedings.

Especially for higher-earning couples or for a family attempting to support a child headed for a prestigious and very expensive school, self-created support agreements may be more effective at fully covering those costs than court-ordered child support.

Learning more about the Massachusetts laws relating to child support after a child turns 18 and finishes high school will help parents give their child the best opportunity in life.