Massachusetts Legal Blog
A New Income Could Impact Your Child Support Payments
Paying child support is usually one of the most contentious issues after a breakup. Whether you are the one struggling to pay child support or receive the support from your ex, it is very easy to get into arguments. Also, when either parent gets a promotion or raise, it can heavily influence the amount of support being paid.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Massachusetts?
Child support is meant to provide for a child’s needs, not to settle disagreements between the parents. Massachusetts family law courts prioritize the best interests of a child after a divorce, and may order one parent to pay child support to ensure that both parents are contributing to their child’s well-being and development.
Often, this is dependent on the parents’ custody agreement. Typically, if one parent has primary physical custody, then the other parent must pay child support to the custodial parent. The amount of support will depend on each parent’s income and parenting time with the child. If each parent has a similar income and equal parenting time throughout the year, then support payments may be low. However, if one parent makes a lot more money, that difference will increase the amount of support he or she has to pay to the other parent.
Does a Promotion or Pay Increase Influence Child Support?
According to Massachusetts family law courts, child support payments can be changed when:
- The amount of support being paid differs from the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines.
- Health insurance is no longer affordable for either parent.
- One parent can now receive affordable health insurance.
- A substantial change in circumstances occurred.
If one parent receives a promotion, gets a raise, or loses a job, then it would fall into category 1 or 4. If the amount of support being paid now differs from state guidelines, then a court may need to review both parents’ financial records to determine if there has been a significant change in income. It is important to review the Massachusetts child support guidelines each year to ensure that your payments are being calculated correctly. If you have encountered a loss in income due to an unexpected injury or unemployment, then you may be able to reduce your total payment.
In contrast, if the other parent has received a raise and should be paying more in child support, you should talk to an attorney about your options. You may need to file a complaint for modification with a local court to have your and your ex’s income reviewed. If there is a discrepancy in payments, then the judge may have the order changed.
Speak to an Attorney in a Free Consultation
Dealing with child support matters is stressful. It is easy for parents to get in fights over missed payments or the costs of support, and a salary increase may only exasperate matters. While you may hope that you can calmly talk about modifying child support with your ex, you may need to speak to a Boston family law attorney if things get contentious. Many issues can be resolved in mediation, but our team at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., is fully prepared to represent you in court and fight for your best interests, if necessary. To discuss your situation in a free consultation, call us at (617) 870-0907.
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