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  • Writer's pictureSummers Family Law

Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support After Your Child Turns 18?

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

As a family law attorney in Massachusetts, I often encounter questions from clients about child support for children over the age of 18. Many people are surprised to learn that child support obligations don't automatically end when a child turns 18. In fact, the Court may order child support for children between the ages of 18 and 21, and even up to age 23 in some cases. In this blog post, I will discuss the factors that determine whether child support continues for adult children and share my experiences in handling these cases.

When Does Child Support Continue for Adult Children?

According to Massachusetts law, the court may order child support for a child who has reached the age of 18 but has not yet turned 21 if the child is domiciled in the home of a parent and is principally dependent on that parent for maintenance. Additionally, child support may continue for children between the ages of 21 and 23 if they are still dependent on a parent and enrolled in college.

Factors Considered by the Court

When determining whether to order child support for adult children, the court considers several factors, including the child's needs, the parents' financial resources, and the child's educational and employment status. The court has discretion in deciding whether to order child support for adult children and may consider factors such as the child's ability to contribute to their own support and the parents' ability to pay.

Recent Changes to Child Support Guidelines

The most recent iteration of Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines provide more guidance on the issue of child support for young adults. One key change is the presumptive reduction of child support for children over 18, which takes into account that these children may be living away at college or defraying some of their own expenses through employment.

My Experience as a Family Law Attorney

In my practice, I have seen a wide range of situations involving child support for adult children. Some parents are able to reach an agreement on child support without court intervention, while others require a court order to determine the appropriate amount of support. In either case, it is crucial to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to ensure that your interests are protected and that the child support order is fair and appropriate given the circumstances.


Navigating child support for adult children in Massachusetts can be a complex and emotionally charged process. As a family law attorney, I am dedicated to helping my clients understand their rights and obligations and to advocate for the best possible outcome for their families. If you have questions about child support for adult children or any other family law matter, please do not hesitate to reach out for a consultation.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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