In Massachusetts, family law requires both parents to provide for their children. This typically means the noncustodial parent will make regular child support payments to the custodial parent, but a variety of factors determine the amount. The Law Offices of Robert E. Badger in Boston has vast experience in family law matters, including support determinations, and we would like to explain the elements that affect these calculations.
Financial Factors That Impact Child Support
The Massachusetts courts have a calculation worksheet you can fill out to estimate your payment. This worksheet uses the available weekly income of both parents to determine an accurate baseline of support. You must include your children’s health insurance and education costs as well as expenses for extracurricular activities like sports, music lessons, and camp.
To determine your available income, the court will take your gross income and subtract the various child care costs mentioned above. If you pay support to a former spouse for another child, that amount also will be deducted from your gross income. The court then will take the available weekly incomes for you and your spouse and determine a proportionate financial arrangement.
How Parenting Time Affects Support
Your custody arrangement will influence your child support obligations. The general formula is based on the assumption that the custodial parent has the children for roughly two-thirds of the time and the noncustodial parent spends approximately one-third of their time with them.
However, if you and your spouse each have the children half the time, each of you must complete the worksheet as the child support recipient. The parent who has the lower child support amount will receive the difference between the two totals from the other parent.
New Child Support Guidelines Effective on September 15, 2017
New Child Support guidelines were announced on on July 18, 2017. Major changes have been made that affect the following issues: (1) health care coverage, (2) child care costs, (3) post-secondary educational expenses, (4) support for children between the ages of 18 and 23, (5) maximum and minimum levels of child support, and (6) modification and deviation from the support guidelines. Please contact us at (617) 963-3599 or visit their website to discuss how these changes will affect you.
Calculating child support is complicated. Fortunately, the team at the Law Offices of Robert E. Badger in Boston, MA, will make sense of the matter for you. Call (617) 963-3599 to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney and visit their website to learn more about the legal counsel they provide.