Do You Need to File for Support or Request Modification?
Divorce can be complex and filled with emotion. Parents exhibit a natural protective instinct for their children during this process, and at times they may disagree. But the ultimate goal of the Boston family courts is to promote the best interests of the children involved in the process.
Many parents’ first concern is how to provide for their children while the divorce is being finalized. Everything from financial support to health insurance and daily childcare is being determined, but these guidelines are not yet enacted. A stay-at-home parent could be facing financial hardship without a temporary order for payment of child support. The Boston divorce lawyers at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., understand your concerns and will assist you in seeking temporary child support, as well as a final child support order. For a free consultation, please call (617) 870-0907.
How Is Child Support Determined in Boston?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has created a mathematical formula for determining child support. The formula takes into account the following information:
- The age of the child
- Childcare costs
- Health insurance costs
- The gross income of the custodial parent
- The gross income of the noncustodial parent
The goal is to determine a dollar amount that is fair to both parents and provides the best possible care and financial security for the child. These payments will remain in place until the child reaches the age of emancipation. Emancipation covers several different situations. If the child is over 18 and no longer relies on the parents for support, then child support is no longer required. A child between 18 and 21 who still relies on his or her parents would continue to receive child support until the age of 21. And child support may be required until the age of 23 if the child is continuing his or her education. Other factors, such as a child with health or mental issues, would be determined by the Boston family court on a case-by-case process.
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Late Payments or Missed Payments
The court system has the ability to contact the employer of the noncustodial parent and garnish wages, transmitting the child support money directly to the custodial parent each pay period. If there are past-due payments, an increased payment would be sent to the custodial parent until the past-due amount is paid in full. In Massachusetts, all parents are required to contribute to the financial needs of their children. Even those who are insolvent or unemployed are required to pay a minimum of $80 per month in child support.
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Making Changes to a Support Order
Once a divorce is finalized and the child custody and support orders are in place, they cannot be changed without going through Boston family court. Parents are not able to renegotiate the child support amount between themselves. A request for modification must be made stating that there has been a “significant change in the material circumstances” of one of the parents. This could be a new job and higher earnings, or the loss of a job and a lower income. In some cases, parents who are considering a new job in a different city or state will also request a relocation in the custody and child support agreement at the same time.
There are many factors in calculating Boston child support. Understanding how the court evaluates each parent’s finances can be helpful in planning for your future. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we are here to assist you in negotiating the child support that your child deserves. Call us at (617) 870-0907 today to schedule a free consultation at our Boston office.