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Typically, the parent who is granted primary custody is the one to receive child support payments. Child support is money paid by one parent to meet the financial needs of the child or children when parents no longer live together.
How Massachusetts Family Law Courts Determine Child Support
Massachusetts family court judges consider a variety of factors when calculating child support payments.
The most common factors include the following:
- Parenting time
- Each parent’s income
- Estimated cost of childcare
- Extraordinary medical expenses
- Extracurricular activities
- Relationship to alimony
- Additional revenue (commissions, bonuses, etc.)
- Health insurance coverage
- Number of children
- And more.
Child Support for Parents with Equal Custody
When two parents are given equal parenting responsibility, the courts will use the same child support formula twice—once based on one parent as primary custodian and once based on the other as primary custodian. The courts will take the difference between the two and determine the amount to be paid to the parent with fewer financial resources. A different formula will be used for disproportionately-shared custody situations or situations where there is more than one child, but the factors used to calculate support will be the same.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
Child support is a court order. It is not optional. If your spouse has refused to pay child support, there are a variety of different means the court can take to enforce the order, including wage garnishment.
Modifying Child Support
If you are unhappy with your current arrangement, there are ways for you to seek a change to the existing court order.
You may be able to request a modification of child support if:
- The amount would be different if it was recalculated using current standards
- Health insurance costs have changed, or was previously not available and is now
- Any other substantial change in your circumstances
When circumstances change, you have a right to request to modify your agreement, including lowering your payments. A change in circumstances might include a pay cut or temporary job loss, or perhaps your spouse got a better job with an increase in salary. If you are in your mid-40s and can lower support by $90 to $100 per week, that’s savings of $50,000 over 10 years!
Miller Law Group, P.C. is a top-notch legal team focused on finding the best solutions for a client's situation. Call us today at (508) 502-7002 to find out how we will work to find a solution for you.
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