Monday, May 28, 2018

Massachusetts Revises Child Support Guidelines


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 2017 the state issued updated child support guidelines. Now, less than one year later, Massachusetts is revising the child support guidelines. The “new” guidelines are not a revision of the 2017 guidelines. The new set is merely a correction from mistakes made in the official child support guidelines worksheet.

From almost the instant the 2017 guidelines were announced it was discovered that the worksheet contained errors. This resulted in the state pulling the form from the state website for a period of time. Apparently, the first revisions did not correct all of the problems. The state has issued revisions and a new worksheet that takes effect on June 15, 2018.

In 2017, the guidelines had a different formula when one or more children are 18 or older than for children under 18. The new worksheet corrects problems that occurred when a one or more children were over 18 and other children were under 18 years old. Another correction relates to health care costs when the parents have equal parenting time.

What do these changes mean? In many cases, the calculator will result in the same amount for child support as the 2017 calculator. I expect that for people one or more children over 18 and other children under 18 that the amount of child support will increase. The only way to find out is to use the new calculator to calculate child support with your facts.

People should consult a family law attorney to understand their rights and obligations under the revisions to the Child Support guidelines.



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