Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to financially support their children until they reach the age of majority. In Massachusetts, child support guidelines have been established to ensure that children receive adequate financial support from their parents. In this blog, we will explore the Massachusetts guidelines of child support and how they work.

Overview of Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

The Massachusetts child support guidelines are a set of rules and formulas that are used to determine the amount of child support that a parent is required to pay. These guidelines are based on the income of both parents, the number of children, and other factors that can impact the child’s financial needs.

In Massachusetts, child support is calculated based on the Income Shares Model. This means that the total amount of child support is determined by taking into account the total income of both parents and then dividing it between them based on the percentage of each parent’s income.

Factors Considered in Child Support Calculation

The following factors are taken into account while calculating child support in Massachusetts:

Income: The income of both parents is considered while calculating child support. This includes wages, salaries, tips, bonuses, commissions, and other sources of income.

Child Care Costs: Child care expenses are factored in when determining the child support amount.

Health Insurance Costs: The cost of health insurance is also considered while calculating child support.

Alimony Payments: If a parent is paying alimony to the other parent, then that amount is factored into the calculation of child support.

Number of Children: The number of children that need to be supported is taken into account.

Custodial Parent: The parent who has primary physical custody of the child is the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is the parent who pays child support.

How is Child Support Amount Calculated in Massachusetts?

The child support amount is calculated by using the following steps:

Calculate the gross income of both parents: Gross income includes all sources of income, such as wages, salaries, tips, bonuses, commissions, and other sources of income.

Determine the combined income: The combined income of both parents is the total gross income.

Determine the basic child support obligation: The basic child support obligation is the amount that the non-custodial parent would pay for the support of the child if the parents were living together. This amount is based on the number of children and the combined income of both parents.

Determine the percentage of each parent’s income: The percentage of each parent’s income is determined by dividing each parent’s income by the combined income.

Determine the child support amount: The child support amount is calculated by multiplying the basic child support obligation by the percentage of each parent’s income.

It is important to note that the Massachusetts guidelines for child support are not set in stone. There are some circumstances where the guidelines may not apply, or where adjustments may be made to the guideline amount. Factors such as the child’s educational and medical needs, the income of a new spouse, or other relevant circumstances can impact the calculation of child support.

In conclusion, understanding the Massachusetts guidelines for child support is essential for parents who are going through a divorce or separation. By understanding the factors that are considered and the calculation method, parents can be better informed and prepared to negotiate a fair child support arrangement that will provide for the needs of their children.