Understanding Child Support in Massachusetts
Our attorneys regularly represent clients in various types of child support cases. No child support case is too small or too complex.
Divorce cases involving children often require a court decision regarding which parent should have physical and/or legal responsibility. Whether child custody is granted joint or sole custody, physical custody designates where the child will actually live. The parent who the child resides with most of the time is considered the custodial parent.
The non-custodial parent may be required to provide for a child or children in the form of child support, which is paid to the custodial parent. Strict guidelines are used by the court to determine the amount of child support to be paid.
How Child Support is Determined
Both parents’ income and expenses are used to establish how child support is determined and paid. Child Support Guidelines are applied to all child support orders and judgments to be used by the justices of the Trial Court.
Many considerations were taken into account when establishing Child Support Guidelines, including parental financial responsibility, the child’s survival needs, minimizing negative changes to the child’s standard of living, and protecting each parent’s basic level of income. The guidelines also recognize parents face additional expenses of maintaining two separate households. As a result, non-monetary contributions and involvement of both parents, as well as monetary contributions, are considered. Finally, the importance, availability, and cost of health care coverage for the child is also a significant contributor to the Child Support Guidelines.
How to Get a Child Support Order
To begin the process of receiving child support, the custodial parent files a written request through the local Probate and Family Court.
When filing for divorce, if you or your spouse reside in the county where you last lived together, the written request for support is filed there. If neither party resides in the county where you last lived together, you can file in either location where you or your spouse currently reside.
Before filing a Complaint for Support, paternity must be legally established for parents who were never married. This can be done through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, or the court can be petitioned for a Complaint to Establish Paternity in the county where the child lives.
Get Top Rated Child Support Lawyers on Your Side
If you have a child support issue, it is important to seek legal advice early to learn your rights and understand your options. We encourage you to call our office first. We take the time to speak with you to understand your child support situation and discuss how we will be able to assist you.
Understanding the child support process and guidelines for Massachusetts can be a daunting task. Our lawyers can help if you need assistance in establishing, enforcing, or changing a child support order.
We represent clients from Needham, Newton, Wellesley, Weston, and throughout Boston metrowest. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.