Massachusetts Child Support

You’re splitting up. You tried to make it work but it’s impossible. You’re moving on with your life. There are so many concerns, especially about your children. You want to provide for them, but don’t know if you can. You need an experienced child support attorney, but how much are child support lawyers? Can you afford one? That’s where we come in. At Afford Law, we have experienced, affordable child custody and child support attorneys ready to help you. We’ll help protect your rights so you can give your kids a bright future. 

How much child support will I get?/How much child support do I have to pay in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, once child custody is determined, the next step is to decide how much child support will be paid. A judge will ultimately make or approve these decisions. The amount of child support depends on many factors. Each case is different. We need to get financial information from you and your ex. Once we have that information, we’ll enter it into the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. That will produce a number which is the amount of child support owed. 

How is child support calculated in MA?

Once we have your financial information, we’ll use the child support guidelines worksheet to arrive at an amount for child support. The factors to be considered are:

  • Number of children;
  • Income of both parents;
  • Health insurance costs for the children;
  • Dental/vision care costs for the children;
  • Amount of time the children spend at each home; and,
  • Alimony/child support paid to others.

Do We Need to Agree on Child Support for an Uncontested Divorce?

If you have children together, you and your spouse must agree on how much child support will be owed in order to get an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts. The process for determining the amount of child support is the same as in a contested divorce. You must complete the child support guidelines worksheet and include income information for both of you. If you want an uncontested divorce, the child support must be decided before filing your paperwork with the court.

Is child support based on gross or net income in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, child support is based on the parents’ gross weekly income. It also includes all sources of income including social security; investments; and rent to name just a few. It does not take into account any deductions such as taxes, retirement payments, or union dues. There are, however, certain deductions that factor into the formula such as medical costs and support paid to others.

What is the minimum child support in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts child support minimum payments are established under the guidelines. As with all child support decisions, the amount of support depends largely on the parents’ income. Currently, the minimum child support payment is $12 per week. For parents with very low income, the court can set this minimum child support payment. 

How much can child support take from unemployment in Massachusetts?

If you become unemployed, you’re still obligated to pay child support in the same amount. How much child support to pay does not change until the judge orders it changed. In Massachusetts, up to 50% of your unemployment benefits may be taken to pay child support. If you lose your job, you should file a Motion to Modify Child Support immediately.

How much child support owed before going to jail in Massachusetts?

Not paying your pay child support can have significant consequences. There are a number of penalties you could face if you fall behind in your payments. The court could:

  • Impose penalties and fines;
  • Suspend your driver’s license;
  • Attach your bank accounts; and,
  • Send you to jail.

There is no specific amount of child support that must be due in order to be sent to jail. If you continually refuse to pay child support when you have the ability to do so, the judge may take you into custody.

What if father wants custody to avoid child support in Massachusetts?

When someone sees their money going out to their ex every month for child support, they may think it’s a good strategy to try to get custody. Judges understand this, too. They are on the lookout for such schemes. They’re not easily fooled. Any custody decision must be based on the child’s best interest. The judge will look closely at each parent and their interaction with the children before making a custody decision. 

How does alimony effect child support in Massachusetts?

Alimony and child support are two separate issues. They can both be awarded in a divorce depending on the couple’s unique financial situation. In Massachusetts if child support is calculated first, alimony is not available if the couple earns less than $400,000 combined annually.

Is child support income?

Child support is not income. Money received from child support is not considered income by the Internal Revenue Service. So that money is tax free. When filing taxes, don’t include money you’ve received through child support payments. Also, the child support payments are not deductions for the paying party. 

Can a judge deny child support in Massachusetts?

Both parents are financially obligated to support their children. There is a minimum amount of child support that can be ordered if the non-custodial parent has very little income. It is possible for a judge to lower that payment or deny child support all together. These are extremely rare cases. 

Massachusetts child support percentage of income

Massachusetts child support law does not use percentages of income when setting a child support amount. Rather, several factors are entered into the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. That worksheet determines the amount of child support. That amount needs to be paid unless the judge has reason to deviate from the formula.

Can a judge deviate from the child support guidelines in Massachusetts?

Judges are allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines. They may increase or decrease the amount of support. Such deviations are rare, however. There must be compelling reasons for doing so. 

Can child support be retroactive in Massachusetts?

What is retroactive child support? That’s where the custodial parent is seeking child support from a previous date. In Massachusetts, a married custodial parent cannot seek child support for any period prior to when the Divorce Complaint was filed. If the couple was not married, however, the custodial parent may seek child support dating back to the birth of the child. 

What is imputed income for child support purposes?

Sometimes one parent isn’t earning as much as they could. In such cases, a judge may attribute income to them. That means that when calculating child support, the amount of their income will be shown as higher than what they’re actually earning. The court recognizes that their earning capacity is greater than what they are making. Therefore, the child support calculation should be based on this higher amount.

Can I get more child support if my ex remarries?

The remarriage of either parent could effect the amount of child support. But it is not automatic. Technically, the income from the new spouse is not considered when setting the child support amount. However, a judge does have discretion to consider the overall household financial situation. For example, if the noncustodial parent marries a wealthy spouse, his or her individual contribution to their living expenses has decreased. Therefore, he or she has more money available to support the children. Conversely, if the receiving spouse remarries, their household income has increased and that can be the basis for a child support modification.

Conclusion

Child support is one of the most important issues in a divorce involving children. The amount of child support will have a significant impact on both spouses and the children. Although a formula is used to reach the child support amount, there are many additional factors that can be considered. If you’re facing a child support issue, you need to have an experienced attorney on your side. Give us a call or book an appointment today, we’d be happy to help. At Afford Law, we’re making justice affordable. 

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.