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Can Massachusetts child support help to pay for college costs?

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2023 | High Asset Divorce |

Parenting is incredibly expensive. There are numerous direct expenses that adults have to absorb when they have children, from additional shelter and grocery costs to healthcare expenses. They also have to provide a child with the support and guidance they need to reach adulthood and integrate into society, which typically involves helping facilitate their education.

A basic education is theoretically free, provided that children in a family attend public school. However, if they want to pursue a college degree, their family will need to invest heavily in that post-secondary education. Students often pay a premium for credit hours at institutions of higher learning, and the costs are so high in many cases that it requires many years of savings to cover tuition.

Young adults usually cannot balance working full-time with attending college full-time and rely on their parents for support. They may live with their parents during school breaks and rely on them to cover financial burdens. Massachusetts child support may or may not be available to help a student cover college costs.

Judges can order ongoing support

In many states, child support obligations and when a young adult turns 18 or finishes high school. In Massachusetts, state law does allow for child support to continue during college if a judge determines that it is necessary. The student must primarily depend on their parents for support and will need to remain actively enrolled in most cases.

The courts can order ongoing child support until the college student turns 23. They can also order parents to divide the cost of college expenses in some cases. Support itself will likely fall far short of the actual cost to provide for a college student and cover their tuition. If parents are able to reach an amicable agreement regarding the division of college costs, they can potentially set whatever terms they believe would be appropriate given their family circumstances.

Even when one parent does not want to help cover college costs, child support orders could help to ensure that they make at least a minimal contribution to a student’s finances during those college years. Understanding how Massachusetts handles more complicated child support matters may benefit those who are worried about the financial implications of their divorce.