At Ryan Faenza Carey, we support clients with very different factors that must be taken into consideration during family law matters, including divorce. In this post of a multi-part series, Attorney Kara Carey offers a quick download on the Massachusetts rules on child support, and how long parents are expected to provide it for their child(ren).

How long do I have to pay child support? Even if my child lives at college?

Until your child is emancipated. In Massachusetts, child support does not automatically terminate at age 18. In fact, it can continue until age 23. However, child support for children ages 18 or older and graduated high school is not guaranteed. Judges have discretion in deciding to order support or not after determining the child’s living situation, dependence on one parent, child’s academic circumstances, available resources of the parents, and each parent’s contribution towards college costs.

If a child joins the military or gets married, it is clear that the child support ends. If a child is under 21, but lives with a parent and is dependent on that parent, you will most likely still have to pay child support, but maybe at a reduced level depending the child’s needs.

For you to be responsible for paying child support your child’s age of 21, he/she must be living with a parent at some point during the year, be dependent on that parent and be enrolled in an educational program. If a child is enrolled in an educational program, it is clear that child support does not end, but the amount paid towards tuition may offset the amount of the support payment. Divorced parents should anticipate that the court will require some contribution from both parents towards college costs; the amount depends on the financial circumstances of the parties.

The Court does not necessarily terminate support upon a child attending college for four years; if the child continues to be enrolled in an educational program (but not beyond an undergraduate degree), the support can continue until the child is 23.

If child support is ordered, the Child Support Guidelines factors in the ages of the children and reduces the amount of child support for children ages 18 or older.


Child support can vary based on age of children, financial status and ability for the parent to pay. If this could be a consideration in your divorce, contact us to see how we can help.

At Ryan Faenza Carey, we support clients with very different factors that must be taken into consideration during family law matters, including divorce. In this post of a multi-part series, Attorney Kara Carey gives a download on how the MA Courts rule on alimony — and what factors play into the decision of when, how much, and to who alimony is paid out.

Do I have to pay alimony? Will I receive alimony?

…That depends. Since 2012, there have been significant changes in the Courts relative to alimony. Alimony Reform was enacted, but there was some ambiguity from the courts as to what the new laws meant. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has already ruled on several cases regarding alimony, mainly related to alimony modifications and the differences between agreements before 2012 and agreement made after 2012. However, despite the new law, the basic premise of alimony remains: the recipient must show a need, and the payor must have an ability to pay.

In cases with no children (or no unemancipated children), if there is a discrepancy in the incomes of the parties, it is likely there will be an alimony order. How much will the order be? Generally, the high earner will pay between 30 – 35% of the difference in the incomes of the parties to the recipient.

However, that payment is tax deductible to the payor and taxable to the recipient. The amount can also vary from the above range in some circumstances. How long the payments last depends on the age of the parties, length of the marriage, and also, the Judge (see Chapter 208 Section34). If there are unemancipated children, child support may also factor into the equation. In these cases, there is no simple formula as the circumstances of the parties and the facts of each case largely impact how the Judge will view the overall support picture.

Financial matters in a divorce are very complex and fact dependent; consult with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation to make sure you understand your rights and exposure.


Alimony, of course, is determined based on the circumstances of every divorcing couple. Other questions? We’re happy to answer them. Contact us for a consultation.

Yes, we think he would.  At the time of his great voyages to the new world, Christopher Columbus was a widower with two children; a 12 year old son, Diego as a result of his marriage to Filipa Moniz y Perestrello; (Filipa died in the time following the birth of Diego) and a 6 year old son Fernando as a result of his relationship with Beatriz Enriques de Trasierra – either a peasant or a noblewoman, depending on which history you read.

When he set sail, presumably Columbus would have made provisions for Diego. It is likely that Beatriz and her son would not have received support from Columbus as Fernando would be considered a child born out of wedlock and not favored in the eyes of the law at that time.  It is likely that Beatriz would have contacted an abogados(solicitor or lawyer) for help getting support for Fernando.  At the time he was due to set sail, Columbus was likely to have assets in the financing for his trip, as well as three ships, of which he was the Captain, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He was also a favorite of the King and Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella.  Surely, if Christopher was as bright as the famous poem portrays him to be, it is likely that he would have contacted an abogados and hopefully Ryan Faenza Carey would been available to assist him.

  • Did you know . . . A divorcing parent may not move a minor out of Massachusetts to live without permission of the child’s or children’s other parent, or order of a Court.  This means moving the child or children over the border to Rhode Island or New Hampshire as well as to a distant state or country.
  • Did you know . . . Tape recording a spouse (or other person) without his or her knowledge is a criminal offense.
  •  Did you know . . . A prenuptial agreement can override the existing laws governing divorce, and estate rights, as long as certain protections have been provided for.
  •  Did you Know . . . Massachusetts is one of two states that include inherited property as part of property division in divorce.
  •  Did you know . . . There is an automatic restraining order which enters upon the filing and/or service of a divorce summons.  What this means is that once divorce is filed and the other party is notified (by the summons) that a divorce has been filed, neither party can transfer or withdraw assets (money, stocks, bonds or other items of value) or change insurance.  There are some limited restrictions on this general rule.
  •  Did you know . . . That after a divorce is filed, both parties must provide a Financial Statement.
  • Did you know. . . The failure to list an asset (money, stocks, bonds or other items of value) on your Financial Statement in a divorce proceeding could expose you to a later division of that asset after the divorce.

Minor children and guardianship issues have been in the news lately.  Guardianship is a legal process for a child who is

  • under eighteen and not under a parents’ care,
  • or has been removed from the care of a parent or parents.

The guardian takes on the role of a parent in providing a stable home and making everyday decisions about a child’s health, education, and safety.  This process is accomplished through the Family and Probate Court in your county.

Petition for Appointment of Guardian

Paperwork or the “Petition for Appointment of Guardian” must be filed and the parent or parents made aware of the Petition, even if the parents consent to the appointment.  This must be completed in order for a guardian to be selected and appointed.  (There is no filing fee for this process.)  Monetary support may be received by the Guardian as determined by the Court.

A child age 14 or older is given special consideration in Guardianship cases, as the child will be involved in the process and may select the Guardian.  A 14 year old child or older, must receive copies (be “served”) of the Petition and other filings sent to the Court.

Parents may receive a ruling from the court that the guardianship is “permanent.”  This determination can be changed.  A parent must demonstrate to the Court that a “change in circumstances” has occurred and the Parent is now fit to care for the child.

There is no doubt that this process is stressful for anyone involved.  The attorneys at Ryan Faenza Carey can help guide you through the procedure and help you reach final resolution.  508-668-9112.