Child Support

How is child support determined?

In Massachusetts, the courts utilize Child Support Guidelines in order to determine the level of child support which would be appropriate in various situations. The Child Support Guidelines are amended from time-to-time and new Child Support Guidelines recently went into effect on January 1, 2009. In setting a Child Support Order pursuant to the Guidelines, the court will consider child care costs, the number of children, cost of medical insurance for the children, the amount of parenting time expended by either parent, and prior court Orders and obligations affecting either party. Generally, the court is required to utilize the Guidelines; however, in certain circumstances the court may deviate from the Guidelines by entering specific written findings. In some situations the Child Support Guidelines do not apply. However, when the Guidelines do apply the court will utilize a “Child Support Guidelines Worksheet”.

What can I do to enforce a Court Order for child support or visitation?

Once the Court has made a Temporary Order or a Permanent Order, or Judgment, both parties are obligated to comply with the Order. If one side does not comply with the Order, the other side can file a Complaint for Contempt seeking enforcement of the Order, as well as reimbursement for attorney’s fees. Contempts may be filed to enforce all kinds of Court Orders, including but not limited to child support, alimony, visitation, and property division.