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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Massachusetts Child Support

Laws current as of
October 24, 2018

Child Support

Who can get child support?
How long does child support last?
How much child support might I get?

Who can get child support?

You can seek a child support order if you are raising your child and living separately from the other parent. It does not matter whether you are married or unmarried.1

If you are unmarried, before the court can issue a child support order, the father’s paternity (legal fatherhood) has to be established.2 The father and mother can voluntarily acknowledge paternity together by signing and filing an acknowledgment of parentage, or either parent can file a paternity petition in court and paternity can be established by a court order.3

Child support can be filed for as part of a divorce action, a separation action, a custody action, a paternity action, or it can be filed as its own separate action. You can also receive a temporary child support order as part of a 209A abuse prevention order.4

1 M.G.L. 209C § 9; M.G.L. 208 § 28; M.G.L. 209 § 37
2 M.G.L. 209C § 11
3 M.G.L. 209C § 2
4 M.G.L. 209A § 3(e)

How long does child support last?

A parent is generally obligated to support his/her child until the age of 18. However, child support can last until the age of 21 if:

  • the child is still living with a parent; and
  • the child is primarily dependent upon that parent.1

1 M.G.L. 209C § 1; M.G.L. 208 § 28

How much child support might I get?

Child support payments are calculated according to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, available on the Massachusetts government website. For more information on how to get your child support order enforced once you have an order in place, visit the Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement website.