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Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

Every child has the legal right to receive financial support from their parents, whether the parents are separated, divorced, or never married. Child support is a parent's court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. In Massachusetts, child support obligations normally last until the child turns 18 years old, but can continue until they turn 20 if the child is still in high school.

How to Request Child Support in Massachusetts

There are several ways to request child support. Parents can make an agreement and ask a judge to approve a support order in a civil case, such as a divorce or other family law proceedings. However, the majority of cases start by completing an "Application for Full Child Support Services" (PDF) and submitting it to the local Department of Revenue (DOR) office.

The DOR can help a parent in a number of ways, including:

  • Locating the noncustodial parent
  • Establishing paternity for children born outside of marriage
  • Creating support obligations
  • Collecting and distributing support
  • Enforcing support obligations

Calculation of Support

In most cases, the court will determine the child support amounts. A judge will calculate child support using guidelines set by the state. The most significant factors are each parent's income, daycare expenses, the cost of medical insurance, any social security benefits the child may be receiving, and the living arrangements of the children.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Massachusetts child support laws. See also Child CustodyChild Support Modifications, and Child Support Enforcement.

Who Is Responsible? Both parents (M.G.L.A. 17-119A.3a)
How Is Support Calculated? A number of factors are taken into account, including the number of children, each parent's gross income, payments on various obligations (such as health care, daycare, etc.), and more.
Factors

See the factors here: Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

What Is Included in a Support Order?

Necessities in the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines include:

  • Monetary support (food, clothing, & shelter)
  • Health insurance
  • Basic education expenses
  • Child care expenses
  • Extraordinary medical expenses
  • Visitation travel costs
  • Extracurricular activities
When Do Child Support Payments End?

In basic terms, child support in Massachusetts stops when the child turns (M.G.L.A. 208 § 28):

  • 18, unless the child is still principally dependent on the custodial parent. The child is no longer principally dependent if they've moved out of the home, except for college, are employed full time, are married, or have joined the military.
  • 21, unless the child is enrolled in a full-time undergraduate college program
  • 23, unless the child is a disabled adult and the subject of a guardianship
Local Child Support Offices

Massachusetts Department Of Revenue (DOR) Child Support Enforcement Division, 800-332-2733

 

Still Have Questions? Speak With a Child Support Attorney Near You

Massachusetts child support laws can sometimes feel complicated and overwhelming. With so much at stake, it may be a good idea to consult an experienced Massachusetts child support attorney if you have questions about your specific situation. Having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer on your side can help you get the best results while also providing you with peace of mind.

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