Child support in Massachusetts is controlled by Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are a formula approach to child support based on the parents’ incomes and certain expenses (health, dental, vision, insurance, child care costs, and other child support obligations.) These guidelines were issued to comply with federal law that mandates the state review the guidelines every four years. In 2021 the state issued updated child support guidelines.
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The current child support guidelines differs from prior guidelines in that:
- They provide guidelines for two categories of child custody: one-third / two-thirds and fifty-fifty. The prior set of guidelines had a third category in between these two
- Child support is reduced for each child over 25
- Changed the minimum and maximum support amounts paid. Increased the amount of money presumptively available for child support from $250,000.00 to $400,000.00.
- Changed the application of the child support guidelines when a parent receives social security benefit to reflect case law.
- Clarified the definition of income by specifically including stock options and other benefits
- Clarified that overtime pay should be included in calculating child support.
- College expenses are addressed by the Child Support Guidelines
The state has a child support worksheet to calculate child support. https://courtforms.jud.state.ma.us/publicforms/PFC0001_2021
People should consult a family law attorney to understand their rights and obligations under the current Child Support guidelines.