After all custody disputes, the parent with primary custody usually ends up receiving some level of financial support from the other parent to pay for the child’s needs. This can vary based on a number of factors such as the amount of time the other parent will spend with the child, their income, and any special healthcare or medical needs. The reasoning behind these factors is to make sure a child receives at least a minimal amount of necessities related to areas such as education, healthcare, and constant supervision.
Like all other states, Massachusetts has its own unique laws that govern all areas of family law, including child support and other situations like divorce and alimony payments. When dealing with custody and support issues, family lawyers can assist with court hearings, documentation, and give advice throughout this difficult process.
The state’s child support guidelines
The government of Massachusetts provides the official child support guidelines on their website. These forms are used to determine an amount based on factors such as income, health and daycare costs, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. A hearing can also be scheduled in the courts to bring up additional concerns or make changes to what is required from the guidelines based on a family’s unique situation.
There are a few important things to keep in mind regarding child support laws in the state of Massachusetts. Parents should be prepared to disclose all sources of income. This includes things like self-employment, overtime, and second jobs. The consequences of trying to hide or not disclosing some forms of income may be serious.
There also needs to be proof of costs for work-related care services such as daycare and babysitting factored into the total obligation to a child. All types of healthcare and insurance such as dental and vision are also factored into support costs. If the child is not insured for any of these health related services, the courts may require the parents to do so.
After all of these amounts are available, the parents will be required to fill out a worksheet and perform some basic calculations to determine the total amount to be paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. Usually a lawyer or someone experienced with this process should help during the form’s preparation to avoid mistakes or problems at a later time.
What else should you know
Child support orders can be modified. The initial order may not provide enough income for all things the child needs. Sometimes, one parent may have the opposite problem where imputed income makes the amounts too difficult to pay. Imputed income is the term for when a judge thinks a parent should be making more money than they actually are, and bases a child support order on a higher amount than the documented income the parent currently makes.
When both parents agree to the modification of the child support order the process can be simple, but there are usually disputes that create more problems in these situations. When people are initially handling custody and support issues after a divorce or other life changing event, it is very beneficial to have a lawyer available to help with the legal process tied to all of these issues.
Talk to a family lawyer about child support now
Local attorneys can review a child support order and assist with any problems that may come up. Dinsmore Stark Attorneys at Law are available to provide assistance with child support, divorces, custody, and family related issues in the Northampton area.