Child support in Massachusetts is calculated by use of the Child Support Guidelines. New guidelines were issued on August 1, 2013. The guidelines are used whether the parents are married or unmarried. The new formula looks at the first $250,000 in combined income but the Judge has discretion to calculate additional support by using the income above $250,000. Income earned from a second job or overtime may be considered at the Judgeâ€™s discretion. Income may be attributed when the Judge finds that either party is capable of working and is unemployed or underemployed.
Each partyâ€™s gross income is put into the formula and then the cost of health insurance, dental/vision insurance, childcare costs, and other support orders that are currently being paid, are deducted from the partyâ€™s income. There is an adjustment for the number of children that are being supported.
In certain circumstances a Judge can order child support either higher or lower than the Child Support Guidelines. The factors that will support a deviation from the Guidelines include extraordinary health insurance expenses, excessive child care costs; and where the non-custodial parent is spending less than one-third of the time with the child.
There is a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order involving children entitled to support from ages 0-18 and children over 18 who are still attending high school. Child support does not end until the youngest child is emancipated. Emancipation can occur as late as age 23 if the child is in college or 21 if the child is principally dependent on the custodial parent. The payment of college expenses can affect the amount of child support ordered.
Although there is a formula used to calculate child support, there are varying factors that can affect the amount ordered. The experienced law office of Valerie A. Ross can advocate for you so that the right amount of child support is ordered for your specific situation. Call (781)942-0002 to schedule a free initial consultation.