How is Child Support in Massachusetts Calculated?
All parents in Massachusetts are responsible for the support of their children, regardless of how much they earn. Support is calculated by Child Support Guidelines which is a formula that is populated with each parent’s gross (before-tax) income. The Child Support Guidelines also take into account the cost of health/dental/vision insurance paid by one or the other parent; the amount of support paid for any other children not part of the current order; and the child care expense.
The formula varies further based upon the parenting schedule, and whether the child resides principally with one parent or shares time about equally with both parents. Further, there is an adjustment for the support of children who are over the age of 18.
When Can Child Support Orders Be Changed?
Child support orders are modifiable when there is a change that justifies a new order; it must be supported by any evidence demonstrating that the move is warranted. In Massachusetts, for example, where one parent’s revenue has increased by at least 25%, this is deemed a sufficient change to justify a modification in the support order.
What Circumstances Might Require a Change in Support?
Various situations can result in altered conditions. For example, if the contributing parent’s income has increased substantially, the court may order an increase in child support. The sum of support will also be required to be increased if the child’s needs change, such as if the child becomes sick or injured. The passing of time will often result in changed situations. Clothing, and other needs, for example, get more expensive as a child grows older. These rising costs could be sufficient to warrant a raise in the support order.
If you can prove that this will be fair, you will be able to get your payments. If the custodial parent inherits income, earns a major salary, or otherwise has improved capacity to support the children, support payments can be diminished. Alternatively, if the contributing parent leaves his or her employment, the judge might be asked to limit payments at this period.
When Can Child Support End?
Child support is typically received until the child turns 18 years old. If a child lives with a parent and is entirely dependent on them, the court may request that expenses be made before the child reaches 21. The court has jurisdiction to expand the child support obligation until the child hits the age of 23 whether the child is enrolled full-time in a college, university, or post-secondary education program. Furthermore, whether a child under the age of 23 has a mental or physical condition that leaves them dependent on their parents, the non-custodial parent may be expected to provide child support indefinitely.
Higher Education Expenses and Child Support
In Massachusetts, a child between the ages of 18-21 is entitled to the financial support of his parents so long as the child lives with a parent and is principally dependent upon the parents for support.
When a child is enrolled full-time in college, the Court can assess if child support ought to be paid to a parent above the contribution of college expenses. This depends on multiple factors including whether the child lives at home or on campus.
Contact Us for a free child support case evaluation by our Child Support Lawyer
Child support in Massachusetts is determined by many different factors in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines in Massachusetts. If you live in Southeastern Massachusetts and need help to determine how much child support you are owed – or how much you will be paying – the skilled child support lawyer at Nasios & Associates, LLC is here to help. We have extensive experience handling child support cases and can help you with all family law issues related to divorce.
Contact our skilled family law attorney to schedule a free child support case evaluation at our offices in Brockton today. We service clients in Plymouth County and Southeastern Massachusetts.