Archive for October, 2013

Massachusetts Child Support Revisions

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Effective August 1, 2013, Massachusetts will follow revised child support guidelines.   The Child Support Guidelines are used by Trial Court judges in setting temporary, permanent or final orders for current child support, in deciding whether to approve agreements for child support, and in deciding cases that are before the court to modify existing orders.

As always, you should seek advice of a qualified Family Law attorney to help you determine how the law affects you in your specific situation.  In general, the new Guidelines call for a slight reduction in support across the board but here is a list of noteworthy changes.:

 

  • New child support formula:  The new formula still only looks at the first $250,000 of combined income, however the formula now utilizes a new Child Support Obligation Schedule.
  • Income above $250,000:  It is now clear that income above $250,000 should be considered, however, it remains unclear how exactly to calculate the additional support amount above the standard calculation when income is above $250,000.
  • Income from SSI, TAFDC, and SNAP should be excluded from any child support calculation.  Also, income earned from a second job or overtime, may either be considered or disregarded (at each judge’s discretion) when determining child support.
  • Potential reduction in support when the child is between the ages of 18 – 23: The court will now consider the child’s living arrangements and post-secondary education.
  • New formula based on percentage of time (between 1/3 – 1/2): The new child support formula is presumptively based on the payor having approximately 1/3 of the parenting time.
  • Judges may now consider deviating from the standard calculation when the payor parent has less than 1/3 parenting time and also when there are extra-ordinary health insurance expenses or child care costs that are disproportionate to income.
  • The new Guidelines are a sufficient change in circumstance to warrant a modification of a previously ordered child support obligation.

 

These are significant changes to the methods used by the court for the last 3 years to determine child support.  The changes should in theory affect a majority of people currently paying or receiving child support.

Please call us at 978.250.4646 with any questions about the new law or your child support litigation.

 

Resources:

http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/2013-child-support-guidelines.pdf

http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/cjd304-worksheet-child-support-guidelines.pdf