Establishing Child Support in Massachusetts

Parents' Financial Responsibility for Their Children

A parent's financial responsibility for his or her child does not end if the parents are no longer married to one another. The only exception is if a parent formally gives up his or her parental rights — which may happen in the case of a stepparent adoption or if a parent abandons a child.

Part of finalizing a divorce includes deciding on monthly or weekly child support payments. Even when divorcing parents agree in principle on the amount of child support payments, it is wise to obtain legal guidance to make sure the child support agreement covers all short-term and long-term considerations.   

Plan for Your Child's Future: Child support laws protect a child's financial future. The intention is that a divorce will have a minimal negative impact on the child's financial stability, without unfairly burdening the parent who pays support.

At the Acton, Massachusetts, law firm of Harsip & Stuart, P.C., we provide thorough analysis of child support obligations on behalf of our clients with children who are going through a divorce. For more than 32 years, our attorneys have helped families in and around Acton through the difficult process of ending a marriage with the least possible negative effect on the children.

Massachusetts State Child Support Guidelines

In many divorces, agreeing on monthly or weekly child support payments is relatively simple. Massachusetts has child support guidelines which determine the monthly child support payments based on each parent's income and other factors. Our office utilizes a child support calculator to determine the actual child support payment.

However, in many divorces, child support negotiations do not begin and end with the state guidelines. Our lawyers will investigate the complete financial picture including tax implications to make sure that every financial need of the child is shared fairly, including health insurance, life insurance, funds for higher education and funds for any special medical needs.

We also frequently work with clients who need to change or enforce their existing child support order.  Under the current child support guidelines, a child support order may be modified if any of the following circumstances exist:

  1. the existing order is at least three years old; or
  2. health insurance previously available at reasonable cost is no longer available (or if available but not at reasonable cost); or
  3. health insurance not previously available to a party at reasonable cost has become available; or
  4. any other material change in circumstances has occurred

Did You Know? Massachusetts law requires unmarried parents to pay child support too. By filing a paternity action, an unmarried mother can ask a family court judge to order the child's father to pay child support. In turn, the father may ask the judge for a regular visitation schedule.

Contact Harsip & Stuart for a Free Initial Consultation

If you have questions about child support, contact Harsip & Stuart to schedule a complimentary 20-minute initial consultation. To make an appointment, call 978-264-0250 or contact us online via our contact form.

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