What To Know About Child Support in Massachusetts

What To Know About Child Support in Massachusetts

Child support in Massachusetts is based upon the child support guidelines. It’s a formula that has been amended over the years but the current formulation of the formula is that it’s broken down into 3 categories. One is if a parent spends less than 30% of their time with the child, the number is the highest number that the payer spouse would pay for child support. The second category is if the parent spends 30%-50% of their time with the child and that’s a ‘middle of the road’ so to speak child support. The 50-50 arrangement is the third category of child support and that is generally a lower number than the other numbers.

The way the guidelines are computed in a shared custody arrangement is they do child support as though one parent were paying child support and then they do the guidelines as though the other parent paying child support and they subtract the lower number from a higher number so that the parent earning the lesser amount of money gets child support. The theory there is that you want the child to be living in appropriate and similar accommodations. They don’t want one parent to be the poor parent and the other parent to be the richer parent.

In terms of other things that get paid for such as extra-curricular activities or private schooling. Those generally are decided on case-by-case basis by the parents. So if for instance, your child was participating in an expensive sport yet you believe that that sport was beneficial to the child, my general advice to get the consent of the other parent in writing preferably by email prior to incurring the expense we often write that in the agreement and then that expense will be shared in whatever proportion was acceptable although generally that’s 50-50.

Private schooling does come into the issue at times and the judge would look at whether or not the child had been in that private school and was adjusted to that private school. They are reluctant however; things change with the divorce to order one parent to continue the pay for private school if they’re also paying child support guidelines, but that can also be negotiated and adjusted.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Cynthia L. Hanley, an experienced Mansfield, Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer.