Child support in Massachusetts is based on the idea that both parents share in the responsibility of financially supporting their children, regardless of how or why it came about that the parents do not live together with the children. So long as the combined gross annual income of the parents falls below $250,000.00, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines will dictate the child support order, with room for judicial discretion (which means the judge has some leeway to order a different amount of child support if the facts support such a diversion). As simple as that sounds for those families who fall under the Guidelines, the legal and social issues surrounding child support are a combination of moral issues, ever changing legal practices, high emotion, and tax consequences. In addition, if you are a family that earns above $250,000.00 annually, a child support order is completely up to the judge. If you find yourself in a situation where you need child support, or are being asked for child support, we can help you sort through your finances, determine what your rights are, and advocate passionately for your rights.
Parents can come to an agreement outside of court as to what each parent should contribute to child support through the use of a mediator, or on their own. However, a judge will still have to approve the agreement. The judge’s role in this instance is to ensure that each parent contributes fairly based on his or her income and that the child’s needs will be met.
Financial disagreements can arise very easily when it comes to child support. For example, one parent may be understating his or her income in order to pay less child support, or one parent may have a non-traditional or inconsistent income that is not easily quantified. Whatever your circumstances, you have a right to pursue an equitable arrangement.
Notably, child support is not related to parenting time in the sense that you may not be seeing your child, but you will still be financially responsible for your child. If you have an outdated child support order in place, it is important to return to court for a modification, as failure to pay child support is a felony and carries with it very serious consequences. You need to be careful even if you and the other parent have an agreement that you made outside of court.
If you would like to discuss your present circumstances, learn what your rights are in relation to child support, or if you are seeking representation to defend yourself in a contested child support case, please call or email us and arrange for a free consultation with one of our domestic relations attorneys.
BULLWINKEL & BROOKS, L.L.C.
Child Support Resources