Boston Child Support Guidelines Lawyer
The basic child support obligations in a divorce case or paternity proceeding are calculated using formulas developed by the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. By statute, these Guidelines are to be applied to all child support orders — whether the parents of the children are married or unmarried — and there shall be a rebuttable presumption that they apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order.
In any case where an order for child support is an issue, a worksheet must be filled out which addresses the income of both parties, the number of children, the cost of health insurance, child care, and any other court-ordered support obligation not related to the current action, if applicable.
At Pollack Law Group, P.C., our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the guidelines and are skilled at applying the guidelines to specific situations. From our Woburn and Dedham offices, we serve clients in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Middlesex counties.
Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Include All Income, From Whatever Source
For purposes of the Guidelines, income is defined as gross income from whatever source regardless of whether that income is recognized by the Internal Revenue Code, Department of Revenue, or any other tax reporting authority. The sources of income outline close to 40 different types including, but not limited to salary, wages, tips, commission, severance pay, bonuses, interest and dividend income, business income, social security and veterans' benefits, military pay and allowances, insurance benefits and reimbursements for property loss, workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, pensions, annuities, trust and capital gain income, spousal support received from a person not part of the current action, work-related benefits to the extent that they represent a regular source of income, lottery or gambling winnings, prizes, rental income, and earned income credit.
Income From Overtime and Secondary Jobs
Income from secondary jobs and overtime income of either the payor or the recipient received after an order is entered is presumptively excluded in a future support order provided the secondary job or overtime income was not worked in the past. The court may also consider the expectation that the income will continue to be available, and the impact that the additional income has on the parenting plan.
Self-Employment or Business Ownership Interests
In the case of non-W2 earnings, the definition of income is gross revenue minus ordinary and necessary expenses. Additionally, expense reimbursement, or personal benefits received by a parent may have some form of income attached to it if such payments are significant and reduce the payor's personal living expenses.
Unreported Income, Under-Employment, and Unemployment
Should the court find that either party's income is undocumented or unreported, or that one of the party's is capable of working at a higher level, the court considers that likely or potential earning capacity rather than the actual earnings. Learn more about certain facts that may warrant a deviation from the guidelines. These include situations where there are extraordinary medical or travel expenses, an inordinate amount of extra-curricular activities, etc.
Child Support in Shared- or Split-Custody Cases
The Guidelines are based on the presumption that a child, or set of children, have primary residence with one parent and spend approximately one-third of the time with the other. In calculating child support in situations where the parties share the financial responsibility and parenting time equally (or approximately equally), the parties shall compute the Child Support Guidelines twice, once with one parent as the recipient and once with the other parent as the recipient. The difference between these two figures is the amount to be paid to the parent with the lower weekly support amount.
Child Support After a Child's 18th Birthday
The Child Support Guidelines now apply to newborn children through age 18, and include those who are age 18 and still attending high school. Children who are over 18 years of age and who are no longer attending high school, but who continue to reside with and are still dependent upon the recipient parent may still receive support based on their academic circumstances, living situation, the available resources of the parents, the costs of post-secondary education for the child and the allocation of those costs between the parents, and the availability of any financial aid.
Modifying and Enforcing Child Support
Our attorneys address these issues and many others, including other matters related to modifying child support obligations when a support order already exists. You should know that existing orders and judgments are not to be modified unless an existing order is more than three years old, health insurance previously available is no longer available, or there is some other material change in circumstances that has occurred.
We also handle child support enforcement matters. Our lawyers can advise you about collecting past-due payments or resolving arrearages of your own.
With So Many Choices, Why Choose Us?
Many Boston-area divorce and family law attorneys can assist you with child support issues. However, there are very few who really concentrate of Probate and Family Court matters day-in and day-out. Fewer still can bring real-world experience as Guardians ad Litem, court-appointed evaluators and work experience in the Department of Revenue, where child support is enforced. We can.
For additional information, call at Massachusetts child support lawyer at 800-763-1030 or send an e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation.