Child Support in Massachusetts
Everyone wants their child to have the resources they need to live a healthy and happy life. A child support case can arise out of a number of different legal actions, including divorce, separate support, custody, and paternity. Some instances of child support are fairly uncomplicated, as with a no-fault uncontested divorce. Others can get very complicated very quickly, especially if one spouse is underreporting their income. Regardless of whether you’re seeking child support or have been served with a child support request notice, you need a skilled Boston child support attorney at your side. A Massachusetts child support lawyer understands the nuances of the law and can ensure that your interests are well served.
Child Support Guidelines
Massachusetts has relatively strict standards in determining the amount of child support that should be awarded. The principles underlying the court’s guidelines note that parents have financial responsibility toward their children and that a child’s standard of living should not be negatively impacted because the parents aren’t together. The Commonwealth’s principles also acknowledge the non-monetary and in-kind contributions that parents make when determining child support.
There are more than two dozen types of income that the court takes into consideration when ordering child support in Massachusetts. They include wages, overtime, and tips; self-employment and business income; commissions and bonuses; military and veterans’ income; pensions, unemployment, and workers’ compensation; and investment income.
The court relies on a published worksheet to determine child support amounts. Typically, any child support ordered by the court is collected via wage garnishment. If you are required to pay child support, your employer withholds an amount from each paycheck and sends that money to the Commonwealth’s Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue then forwards the money to the custodial parent.
Once child support has been ordered in Massachusetts, it doesn’t mean that the amount is set in stone. Financial circumstances change, and when they do, child support can be modified. If the support was ordered in another state, then changing or collecting child support can be like threading a needle and requires the knowledge of a skilled Boston child support attorney.
There are additional issues that can crop up in obtaining child support or defending against child support claims. In paternity cases, for example, a court can order retroactive child support to the day the child was born. Past due child support can be collected through bringing a court action against the other parent. The bottom line is that, in order to protect your rights, it’s in your best interest to retain a seasoned Massachusetts child support lawyer.
At PiltserCowan Law, we have child support expertise. PiltserCowan lawyer, Rachel B. Biscardi, participated on the Child Support Task Force responsible for drafting the current Massachusetts child support guidelines–you can read more about Rachel B. Biscardi’s Child Support Task Force work here. Our child support attorneys have the experience to navigate even the most complex child support actions, and will achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. Call us to schedule a free consultation.