In Massachusetts, it is the obligation of all parents to contribute to the support of their children. To that end, child support guidelines were established to ensure that the income of each parent is considered before an award of child support is entered. Each parent is required to complete a Financial Statement, signed under the pains and penalties of perjury, listing their monthly income and expenses. Based of these financial statements, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines determine the exact amount of child support, per month, one parent owes to the other parent.
The exact amount of child support a person may owe varies depending on the monthly incomes of both spouses, the amount of time the child spends with the non-custodial parent, and how many children the parents have (both together and separately). Some factors that may determine the amount of support one parent owes include, but is not limited to: sources of income, including overtime and secondary income and self-employed income; whether either party is unemployed or underemployed; alimony; parenting time; child care costs; age of the child(ren), health/dental insurance; and other child support orders/obligations.
Additional child support may be awarded at the court’s discretion.
A child support order may be modified however if any of the following circumstances exist: the existing order is at least three years old; health insurance previously available to a party at a reasonable cost is no longer available (or if available, no longer at a reasonable cost); health insurance not previously available at a reasonable cost has become available; or any other material change in circumstances has occurred.
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