How is child support decided?

Upon filing for divorce, spouses will have to think about important marital issues. No matter what the cause or reason for divorce, there are more issues that need to be addressed. After a divorce, some couples can decide on these issues themselves by going through mediation. Through this process, they do not have to go through court proceedings. However, other couples are not able to cooperate as much. They may have to enter into litigation so that a judge can decide on issues for them. These issues can include child support.

The structure of child support is decided after the consideration of many factors. A judge will have to contemplate what is in the best interests of the child to ensure their well-being. The factors can include the parents’ sources of income and earning capacity. It is important that the judge contemplates how much each parent can provide for the child in order to maintain their living standard. They can also consider the child’s cost of care, health insurance and other child-related expenses. With these decisions, there are many factors that can affect them. The custody arrangement can also play a role. If the child spends more time with one parent and resides with them due to their custodial parental role, this can affect child support payments. The number of children in child support arrangements also plays a role since more children can require more compensation.

When do the payments end?

In the state of Massachusetts, child support payments are intended to end on the child’s 18th birthday. However, this is not set in stone. There are many instances where child support is still required to be paid. For example, if a child is enrolled in college, they may still require child support payments. Factors such as these can lead the court to extend the payments until the child’s 23rd birthday. If you believe that your child no longer requires child support payments, you can file a motion with the court. They can then assess the situation and declare if the child is emancipated. This can then end child support payments.

Child support can also be modified over the years. As the lives of the parents and child change, there may be situations that require a change to the arrangement. There are many factors that can affect this. By speaking to a professional attorney, you can see if your situation requires a change.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.