When people talk about child support, they often mention not getting enough or worrying that they won’t receive it. What isn’t discussed as much is how much child support is actually too much.
This is something that varies by the situation, but most people would agree that child support should be fair based on the circumstances. In Massachusetts, some people who have to pay support say that it seems extremely high. Others may see them as being set too low.
What’s the reality? The goal is generally to have children live in two homes of similar circumstances. For example, if one parent lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion, sending them to a one-bedroom apartment would be an extreme shock. To put it in basic terms, both parents should have similar standards of living. Both homes should provide the essentials and comfort to children.
The state court is looking into making guidelines fairer to everyone involved. Is it fair to ask a parent who earns only $16,000 a year to pay $4,000 in child support? Is it fair to ask someone who makes millions to pay only a few hundred a month? That’s something that the state needs to determine.
For now, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re trying to negotiate for child support of a certain amount, it may be a good idea to do so outside court. If you and your spouse can agree on a fair amount, it will make it easier for you both to move forward without further concerns about the payments. If you can agree outside court, you may be able to submit the agreement for approval, bypassing the guidelines (so long as your suggestion is fair).