Every four years, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are reviewed, updated and amended. On September 15, 2017, the new Child Support Guidelines will take effect. While many provisions of the current guidelines will remain the same, there are several major changes that may have a significant impact on parties who already have a support order. These include changes to the minimum presumptive order, the calculation of support for children between 18 and 23 years of age, the payment of child care and health insurance costs, the removal of a calculation for parenting plans that are not 50/50 or one-third/ two-thirds, and the addition of a maximum parental contribution to college expenses.
A question that is often asked of our Law Office is whether a party can seek a credit for child support he or she had been ordered to pay, but for a time period during which they had assumed primary custody and financial support of the child or children for whom the support order was established.
Often, parents need help in establishing or enforcing a child support order, which may include establishing paternity. When this is the only assistance that they need, it may be beneficial to contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, who have Attorneys available to assist parents with these matters.
It is very common for parents to move to another state some time after a court issues a child support order. The question then arises as to whether or not that parent's new home state can modify the existing child support order.
On August 1, 2013, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines were amended, once again. Amongst the changes made was the inclusion of specific language regarding the treatment of Social Security or SSDI benefits, as well as any such benefits received by a child for whom support is being calculated.
When deciding on a child support amount, the parties must also determine whether or not they want to use the Department of Revenue (DOR) for collecting and distributing payments. While going through DOR may not work for everyone, I usually recommend it.
On March 6, 2012, the Supreme Judicial Court held that a father who consents to in vitro fertilization is the legal father of the children born of this artificial insemination, even if the parties agreed that he would take no responsibility for the needs of said children (Chukwudera B. Okoli vs. Blessing N. Okoli).
On February 2, 2012, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a lower court's judgment that a non-biological mother of a child born during a marriage who never co-adopted the child is nevertheless considered the child's other legal parent.