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Massachusetts Analysis

Not surprisingly, Massachusetts state law provides little guidance on this same issue. However, cases dealing with support issues in matters of divorce may provide potentially useful information. Frequently, Massachusetts divorce settlements provide for child support until all children are emancipated. This is not statutorily required but is ordered by a judge based upon set guidelines (unless the parents settle out of court). One interesting rule that appears in Massachusetts divorce cases is that minors are not automatically emancipated at any particular age. Even when Massachusetts reduced its age of majority from 21 to 18, this did not mean that all people between the ages of 18 and 21 were thus emancipated. Divorce settlements that predicated child support on non-emancipation were still binding even after age 18 if the child was not emancipated. Given that legislators are willing to hold parents financially responsible past the age of majority, a good foundation for the argument exists that support should be continued to a statutorily emancipated minor.

Although Massachusetts law provides little guidance on the issue of continued support for emancipated minors, decisions in neighboring jurisdictions suggest that such a system could be implemented in the Commonwealth. In New York, for example, 101(1) of the Social Services Law provides that the parent of a child under 21 who is a recipient of public welfare is responsible for the child's support. Courts have interpreted this provision to mean that parental support is required even when the minor is emancipated.71 Further research by future law offices in neighboring jurisdictions, such as New York, is recommended since it is not within the scope of this years' project.



Footnotes

...71
Henry v. Boyd, 99 A.D.2d 382 (1984); Bickford v. Bickford, 389 N.Y.S.2d 430 (1976).

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Next: Emancipation State Chart Up: Massachusetts Analysis Previous: Child Support and the   Contents   Index
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