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Child Support

divorce hands

When two partners split and children are involved, child support is a very important part of the separation process that is going to have to be taken into account. Both parents are obligated to support their children to meet their needs. When calculating child support, Massachusetts follows the “Child Support Guidelines” which takes into account the income of the custodial and non-custodial parent. There are several additional factors that are taken into account when adjusting the amount of child support required by one parent like health insurance, child care costs and other child support orders for other minor children. Every situation and family is unique and has differing circumstances, and that is what makes these types of arrangements impossible to give a set answer to as far as “how much” however, the Court will almost always follow the calculated guidelines unless there is a reason to deviate from it.  The child support guidelines can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/index.htm

On January 1, 2009, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts changed the guidelines that judges use to determine child support. While the old guidelines relied mostly on the mathematical formula to arrive at a support number, the new guidelines give judges more flexibility and discretion. This change should help judges minimize the tax impact on families and create fairer results in application of the guidelines.There are some cases however, when child support is not necessary.  For example, if parents have joint physical custody or have virtually equally parenting time, there may be no need for one parent to pay child support to the other depending upon the comparative incomes of the parties. Many parents have concerns about help paying for private school tuition, after school programs or other expenses that may not be taken into account in basic child support calculation.  In circumstances like the amount may be adjusted up or down to account for the extra costs. Our firm can help you understand the factors to present to the court in order to obtain a child support order in Massachusetts that protects your rights. In addition, we can help you with other aspects of family law that will affect your children’s safety and financial stability.

Checklist and Things to Consider

Work of collecting your past months worth of pay stubs.

• If self employed, you will need 3 years worth of bank statements and your tax returns .Collect information regarding your health insurance premiums, child care and dental coverage as these items figure into the child support bottom line

• If you are the custodial parent, consider whether you want to utilize the services of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to collect and enforce your child support order.

• If you are the non-custodial parent, make sure you make any payments to the other parent in check or money order.  Do not give cash as you will be without a paper trail to prove that you made payments.

• If you have a joint physical custody arrangement, there still may be support depending upon the disparity in incomes between the parties.  Contact us to schedule an appointment for a full analysis of your situation.