When successful professionals have children together, they often hope to send their children to college and set them up for competitively-compensated careers. There are also many parents who commit to helping their children be the first in their family to go to college.
If their parents have always had the intention of helping children pursue their educational aspirations, a child may expect financial support if they commit to their education during high school. Unfortunately, the divorce of their parents will likely consume some of the resources that could have helped fund their education and may impact the relationships that they have with both parents.
Parents who are contemplating divorce may put off making a change because they worry about the financial consequences and what it might mean for their children’s education. Will child support in Massachusetts last for long enough to help a young adult cover the cost of college tuition?
Massachusetts does allow for extended support orders
In many states, child support ends when teenagers reach an adult age or graduates from high school, regardless of whether or not they attend college. Thankfully, Massachusetts has a broader understanding of how long an adult’s responsibility to a child lasts.
Most 18-year-olds are not yet ready to live on their own, and those enrolled in school full-time typically cannot work simultaneously. Parents often continue to support their children for years after high school. Massachusetts will extend child support through a child’s 23rd year if they enroll in college full-time. Of course, the amount of support ordered by the courts will typically fall far short of half of a year’s tuition. Parents may need to negotiate with one another to establish a support amount that reflects what college will cost for their child.
Voluntary cooperation is the ideal
When parents will still need to cover major expenses for their children after divorce, such as college tuition, the best outcomes often result from cooperating for the sake of the children. Even in scenarios where parents can’t work with each other, the Massachusetts family courts can help by extending support for multiple years after high school if a child remains enrolled in college.
Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the rules that govern child support matters in Massachusetts can help parents negotiate arrangements that actually work for their families.