Child support in Massachusetts is the payment that one parent gives to the other parent, intended to be used for a child’s necessities, including housing, food, and clothes, and to cover medical expenses.
According to Massachusetts child support laws, both parents are required to provide for their children financially. There are two main options when it comes to Child custody, when the child lives with the custodial parent it is that parent’s duty to take care of the child’s requirements. The parent who doesn’t live in the child’s primary residence is the noncustodial parent.
In Massachusetts, the noncustodial parent is often responsible for paying support. Although both parents are responsible for supporting the child, it is assumed that the parent with whom the child lives with the most spends their share of the support directly on the child by paying for their living expenses. If you have any specific questions, be sure to contact a Boston divorce lawyer.
The Massachusetts child support guidelines are made up of various criteria that determine how much support a parent will need to pay. Parents can almost never agree to pay less than the sum specified by the rules, but they can always decide to pay more. If the court believes the figure generated by the child support formula is not in the child’s best interest, the judge may additionally rule on the appropriate child support levels.
Determination of child support payment in massachusetts
The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court updates its support guidelines every four years. These standards determine how much financial support a non-custodial parent should be providing. The Massachusetts child support guidelines are revised to reflect the cost-of-living increases, and to make child support amounts more transparent.
The court will consider the combined parental income, the child’s standard of living, costs of child care, health insurance costs, and the parties’ financial capacity when determining support.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has developed a formula to calculate how much support must be paid. The following are the main criteria the Massachusetts child support calculation estimator considers when calculating child support guidelines amounts:
- Gross income of the parents
- Amount, if any, of support paid for a child from a previous relationship
- Child care costs
- Health care costs
- Age of the child or children
- Any other support obligations
Although the formula establishes a guideline amount, the court has the authority to alter it if they believe doing so is in the child’s best interests.
Calculating child support payments
You’ll determine both parents’ gross salaries to calculate support. Gross income is defined as all money earned to calculate child support, including earnings, bonuses, salaries, profits, royalties, annuities, military pay, disability benefits, and social security income.
The amount of owed support is estimated by summing up the Combined Income of the parents and dividing it equally between them. In other words, if the parents make $6,000 and $4,000 per month, their proportionate support obligations will be 60% and 40%. In addition, parents are responsible for paying for a child’s education and health insurance.
If it is in the best interest of the child and the parents can afford it, the court may order that the parents share the child-related expenses of extracurricular activities, such as summer camp or private educational costs.
A parent’s gross income may be reduced by the amount of assistance paid if they are cohabitating with additional children whether biological or adopted. Although this figure is rather speculative, the other parent’s income will probably be considered because it is the paying parent’s responsibility to demonstrate that they are legally required to pay support for subsequent children.
It is possible to argue against a request for more assistance by citing responsibilities to support a future child, but this argument cannot be used to argue for less support.
MA child support duration
In Massachusetts, a support order does not automatically end when a child turns 18. For several reasons, Massachusetts law permits payments for support, maintenance, and education for a child older than 18.
If the child is still enrolled in high school, for instance, the duty to provide financial support may last until the age of 18. According to Massachusetts law, a child who has reached 18 but is still registered in high school is considered a minor for child support purposes.
If a child is still “principally dependent” on one parent after graduating from high school, support may continue even after that point. It has been concluded that being mostly reliant means the child still lives with only one parent. Even if a child attends college and stays at a parent’s house occasionally, they are still considered “principally dependent.” Children between the ages of 18 and 20 often fall under the “principally reliant” criteria.
Child support normally ceases when the child reaches the age of 18. However, the court may continue adult child support obligations for a child up to the age of 23. If the child is principally dependent upon the parent that receives support, and the child is enrolled in an education program, the other parent may still have to pay support even though the child is over the age of 18.
In other words, if your child is over 18 and is still enrolled in high school your support obligations may continue. Furthermore, if your child is over 18 and enrolled in an undergraduate program (i.e. college) your child support obligations may continue until the child reaches the age of 23 years old.
Aspects for the complaint of modification
The court will examine several aspects if a parent seeks to make a Complaint for Modification requesting to cease support because a child has turned 18 or older. The judge will primarily consider whether the child is “principally reliant” on a parent. The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines incorporate a variety of other reasons that the judge may consider when deciding whether to terminate support:
- The living circumstances of the kid
- The expense of the child’s education and the share paid by each parent
- The accessibility of financial help for the student
- The academic standing of the child
- The reasons the child is still mostly dependent
- The financial state of the custodial parent.
A support judgment of support cannot be extended past the age of 23 if it is decided that the child is still primarily dependent after it is entered.
Massachusetts child support deviations
If both parties agree in writing, they may pay more than the guideline order amount. A court will seldom permit the parties to settle on a sum that is less than the guideline. Before allowing a departure from the rules, the court must make precisely written findings that detail the following:
- The presumed amount that complies with the guidelines
- A determination that the amount specified by the guidelines would be unfair or inappropriate in the given situation
- Specific facts that support the deviation
- Evidence that the variance is in the child’s best interests
Child support termination
Even if your child might have attained a milestone that qualifies for canceling your support order, you cannot just stop making payments. The child support payor requires a court order before stopping payments unless the child is over the age of 23.
You must get a court order before stopping your payments unless your particular court order specifies that child support obligations automatically end when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. If you believe you may be eligible for termination of support when the child turns 18, it is crucial to speak with a child support lawyer since doing so unilaterally might result in you paying money.
If you have questions regarding a child support situation such as a child support modification, adjustment for child care costs, undue hardship, or child support enforcement laws, call child support attorney Michael S Parousis!
His experience handling as a Needham Heights divorce lawyer with cases such as divorce, child custody, and child support is unparallel. For the legal advice you need contact the Family Law Firm of Parousis Law today.Acm