Child support is a very serious matter for Massachusetts families. While the Courts attempt to approach each case with fairness and families want a timely and amicable agreement, there are times when child support matters become clouded with emotion. Whether you are going through a divorce, separating after co-parenting, or have received information that you have a child to support, you need legal guidance and advice as a child support claim moves forward.
The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are followed in most cases in the Probate and Family Court. The amount of an individual’s child support obligation is determined based on the following factors:
- Gross income of the parties
- Time child spends with each party
- Number of children supported from a previous relationship
- Childcare costs
- Medical insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance
Child Support Formula
The Child Support Guidelines take a formulaic approach in setting a level of support. In certain circumstances the Court may elect to deviate from these Guidelines, including those involving a child’s special medical needs, combined incomes of the Parties greater than $250,000.00 per year, and when one party incurs significant travel costs in order to have parenting time with the child.
Once an amount is agreed upon or otherwise ordered, failure to pay child support can mean serious legal consequences. This may include loss of a driver’s license and potential incarceration until such time as a party becomes current on their child support obligations. A modification to a child support order can be sought under certain circumstances. These can be varied, but typically involve material and substantial circumstances including a parent losing a job, relocating, a reduction in parenting time or income, or other factors that may be enumerated in a Separation Agreement, Parenting Agreement or other Judgment of the Court. The changing needs of a child or illness may also warrant a modification of a child support order. Any of these circumstances can involve added expenses to one parent or both.
The Child Support Process
The child support process can be complicated as relationships change and children grow. It can also grow more complicated if parents have a difficult time communicating with respect to the children or negotiating themselves. Child support issues need immediate and clear-headed attention. Attorney Rosemary Purtell has the sensitivity needed to navigate child support issues and the dedication to fight for the rights of both the child and the parent she represents. Each family is unique and deserves an advocate who focuses on fairness now and in the long-term. Attorney Purtell will give your child support case the time and resources needed to pursue the best solution, even under the most contentious circumstances. She will also be there for any on-going support and representation as families and needs evolve. During a potentially emotional and difficult time, rely on the trusted support of Attorney Purtell for your child support case needs.