Massachusetts Child Support Lawyer

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Massachusetts Child Support Attorney

Child support law requires the non-custodial parent to contribute financially to child-rearing. It usually consists of fixed regular payments from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. The amount can be determined between the parties. However, if there’s no agreement, it’s determined by application of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, which is a calculation involving a number of factors. In addition to the support they pay, non-custodial parents are expected to contribute to the child gifts, transportation, and clothing, which doesn’t count toward child support. Additional expenses for the child may, however, be considered in setting the support amount. On August 1, 2013, new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are in effect.

Determining the Amount of Child Support in Massachusetts

Under G.L. c. 208 sec. 28, absent an agreement between the parties or a court order, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are used to determine the payment amount. The guidelines generally apply when one parent has sole physical custody. Child support is based largely on the paying parent’s gross income and the number of children that are part of the support order. There are a number of other considerations (factors), but they don’t carry nearly as much weight.

Factors

Incomes:

Defined very broadly, and includes salaries and wages, trusts, social security, prizes to name only a small few.

Number of Children:

The greater the number the greater the support amount

Child Care Costs:

Applies to both parents

Health Insurance and Extraordinary Medical Expenses:

Also, applies to both parents

Children’s Ages:

Older children are more expensive

Other Support Orders:

The paying parent gets a deduction if he has prior support orders

Attribution of Income:

If the paying parent is not making a reasonable effort at obtaining income, the judge may consider his earnings potential instead of his salary.

Subsequent Families:

Can be a defense to a request for an increase in support, but the paying parent cannot get a lower payment for this reason.

How Payments Are Made

Payments can either be exchanged privately between the parents or through income assignment. Parents have the option of handling payments between themselves. However, the receiving parent always has the option to utilize income assignment, which involves either the paying-parent or his employer (through pay deduction) sending payments to the Department of Revenue (DOR), who then sends it to the custodial parent. A parent that initially agreed to private payments and is not receiving regular payments can always request a change to income assignment. One advantage to having the DOR involved is that they can assist with collection and enforcement.

Modifying Child Support

In general, if the amount recommended by the Guidelines differs from the current payment, the parties are entitled to a modification. Some events that may trigger a different payment amount are a major illness, job loss, a significant pay raise etc.

Failure to Make Payments

If there is an issue with payments, the receiving parent can file a complaint about contempt with the court. After the complaint is filed, a hearing date is set, at which the paying parent must answer to the court for the missing payments. As mentioned above under “How Payments Are Made,” one benefit of using income assignment is that the DOR can assist with collection and enforcement. Despite payment issues between the parents, visitation should not be affected by child support payments (or lack thereof). A major mistake that some parents make is using visitation for leverage on child support issues. The court frowns upon this, and you should never do it.

Termination of Child Support

Payments usually stop when the child reaches age 18 but may continue to age 21 if the child lives with and is dependent on the receiving parent, and may be extended to age 23 if the child is enrolled in an undergraduate education program.
Child support is an important determination in a divorce proceeding because of its significant financial ramifications. Make sure you have a skilled, aggressive attorney that will get you the best result.

Child Support: support for the children, college expenses, tax credits, etc.

When going through a divorce or separation, child support is one of the most important and frequently contested issues. This section contains resources to help you understand your rights and obligations when it comes to child support. This includes information on how child support is calculated, what expenses it covers, what factors can affect the amount of support, college expenses and child tax credits.

FAQs

What percentage of your income do you have to pay in child support?

Child support is not calculated according to an exact percentage of income. Rather, it’s determined by the MA Child Support Guidelines and its Calculation. Generally, the court considers the parties’ parenting times, which can fall anywhere on a spectrum of no time at all for one parent to approximately shared parenting time.

Once the parenting time is determined, the following numbers are entered into the calculation: the gross incomes of the parties and any allowed deductions, including health, dental and vision insurance, child care costs, and other support obligations (e.g. support for other children, previous alimony obligation). The resulting number is the presumed child support amount.

How does MA calculate child support?

How much can you get for child support for 2 kids?

What is the average child support payment for one child?

Can child support take your whole paycheck?

Is child support based on gross or net income?

Can your child support be reduced if you have another child?

How can I get out of child support?

Does 50/50 custody result in child support?

Can child support be stopped?

Is child support tax deductible?

What is considered income in child support?

Can I get child support if the father is unemployed?

Do child support payments automatically stop?

Can child support debt be forgiven?

Do mothers have to pay child support?

What is 60/40 child custody?

Can you sign your rights away and not pay child support?

Can a non-custodial parent claim a child on a tax return?

Do gifts count as income for child support?

Can you go to jail for not paying child support?

Do I have to pay child support if I have joint custody?

Does a father have rights if he pays child support?

How Does Getting Married Again Affect Child Support?

What is 70/30 child custody?

Can a mother keep her child from the father?

How do you prove a parent unfit?

Can I get more child support if my ex-remarries?

How does child support work?

Can I take a new job that pays less and reduce my child support payment?

How to decrease child support payments?

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