Child Support

Child support ex to ensure that children are supported even if their parents are no longer together. Massachusetts is very strict in both setting and enforcing child support orders.  Whether or not the parents are married, both parents are responsible for supporting their children.

How Child Support Is Calculated in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the legislature promulgates Child Support Guidelines, in accordance to which the child support amount is calculated for all cases where the combined annual gross income of the parents does not exceed $250,000.  Most recently, these Guidelines have been amended in 2013.  Although there is a presumption that the child support amount resulting by application of the Child Support Guidelines is appropriate, there are variety of factors that may warrant deviation.  Some of these factors include child care costs, health insurance, the number of children in question, and the parenting schedule.  For those parties, whose combined gross income is in excess of $250,000 per year, the child support is set in accordance with the reasonable needs of the children and to ensure that there is no significant disparity between the two parental households.

Small Nuances Can Influence How Child Support Is Calculated
While the way that child support is calculated includes several basic steps, the courts examine a number of factors to determine how child support is calculated. Including the cost of medical insurance, employment conditions of either spouse, the expense of traveling, and the potential existence of separate alimony orders.

Income for the Purpose of the Child Support Calculation
For those parents who receive W-2 income, determining their gross income can be a fairly straight forward as it is stated right in their paystubs.  In many situations, however, the calculation is complicated because additional benefits available to W-2 employees may, in some instances, be added to their income for the purpose of calculating the child support.  For those parents who are self-employed, the calculation of income may be more complicated.  Many expenses claimed by self-employed individuals, which may be perfectly legitimate deductibles for the purpose of tax returns filing, may not be deducted for the child support calculations.  One example is depreciation, which is routinely claimed by many an expense; however, since it is not an actual expense, it cannot be deducted for the purpose of calculating the child support.  A more in-depth analysis may be required for self-employed individuals when calculating support.

Resources for Child Support

Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement

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