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Massachusetts child support guidelines

Rather than a set percentage, the amount of child support paid by a non-custodial parent in Massachusetts is determined on a case-by-case basis. Courts use a set of guidelines in determining this amount, many of which relate to the income of each parent. The purpose of the guidelines is to provide for the best interests of the child while recognizing the parents' financial situations as well as monetary and non-monetary contributions to the child's welfare.

Other factors in determining child support include whether or not alimony or separate maintenance payments are being made, childcare costs, the age of the children being supported, health insurance and other medical expenses and educational expenses. There are minimum and maximum levels at which a person is required to pay child support as well as differing percentages dependent upon the amount of time each parent spends with the child. As far as age is concerned, special consideration is given for child support of children over the age of 18.

Modifications may be made to Massachusetts child support orders if situations regarding the above circumstances change, such as if one parent loses a job, health insurance is no longer available at a reasonable cost or medical expenses increase substantially. If a request for modification is made following a deviation from previously established guidelines, determination will be made by a judge on a case-by-case basis with the best interests of the child being the key factor.

A family lawyer may provide key insights into getting through the Massachusetts divorce process, especially where child support is concerned. He or she may be able to achieve a desired outcome through the family court and legal system.

Source: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Child Support Guidelines ", November 19, 2014

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