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Child Support Archives

When Can a Parent Receive a Retroactive Credit on Child Support?

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The New 2017 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines: What’s New? What’s the Same?

Child Support Massachusetts, Child Support Mass., Child Support Suffolk County, Child Support Middlesex County, Child Support Essex County, Child Support Norfolk County, Child Support Boston, Child Support Winthrop, Child Support East Boston, Child Support Revere, Child Support Danvers, Child Support Lynnfield, Child Support Marblehead, Child Support Swampscott, Child Support Nahant, Child Support Peabody, Child Support Salem, Child Support Saugus, Child Support Arlington, Child Support Belmont, Child Support Burlington, Child Support Cambridge, Child Support Everett, Child Support Malden, Child Support Medford, Child Support Melrose, Child Support North Reading, Child Support Reading, Child Support Somerville, Child Support Stoneham, Child Support Wakefield, Child Support Watertown, Child Support Wilmington, Child Support Winchester, Child Support Woburn, Child Support Brookline, Child Support Braintree, Child Support Milton, Child Support Quincy, Child Support ChelseaThe Trial Court of Massachusetts issued new Child Support Guidelines, which took effect last week on September 15th. There are many changes to the new Guidelines, but also a lot of things stayed the same. This article will explain the changes to the new Guidelines, but what also stayed the same compared to the 2013 Child Support … Read More »



Child Support, Alimony & Taxes

Child Support, Alimony & TaxesWhen going through a divorce, there are many financial issues that spouses must address. Some of these financial issues have tax consequences, and other financial issues do not. One area where taxes come into play is support. Under Massachusetts Law, there are two categories of support.

The first category is alimony, which is the periodic payment of support by one spouse to another spouse for that other spouse’s support. Under the federal tax code, and Massachusetts tax law, the alimony paid by the payor spouse is tax deductible for the payor spouse, but taxable to the recipient spouse. That means that the alimony received by the recipient spouse is considered income, and it must be reported on that spouse’s tax returns.

The other category of support is child support, which is support paid by one spouse to another spouse for the support of the child(ren) of the marriage. Unlike alimony, child support is not tax deductible for the payor spouse, or taxable to the recipient spouse. Child support is considered a tax neutral payment.

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Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts

paternity

In Massachusetts, the custody of a child born to unwed parents is presumed to be solely with the mother of the child, unless and until paternity of the child is established, and there is a court order regarding custody.

It is important for both a mother and father to have paternity established, because without establishing paternity, there can be no child support order issued, or any order relative to custody and parenting time (also known as visitation), or any other orders regarding the child.

A father can establish paternity in Massachusetts in one of two ways. First, when the child is born, the father can sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage” which is an affidavit in which the father states he is the biological father. In this case, the father is added to the child’s birth certificate. In this circumstance, the mother is still considered to have sole custody of the child. In order for there to be a custody order, either parent can then file a Complaint for Support-Custody-Visitation. After this complaint is filed, the court can issue orders regarding child support, … Read More »



Dependency Tax Exemptions and Divorce

Divorce-and-Taxes

During the course of a divorce, there are many issues that spouses have to resolve: property division, alimony, child custody, child support, medical insurance, and taxes. One after thought of these many issues is the child dependency tax exemption.

In a divorce, spouses can agree how to allocate the dependency tax exemption. For example, if a couple has 3 children, then one parent can claim 2 children in a given year, and the other parent can claim 1 child in a given year, and then the parents can alternate in the following year. Or if parents have an even number of children, then they can each claim an equal amount of children.

However, sometimes it does not make financial sense for one parent to claim any tax dependency exemptions, either because this parent is unemployed or underemployed. In this case, the other parent can claim all the exemptions to as to maximize the tax consequences of the exemptions.

In divorces, the options with respect to dependency tax exemptions are endless. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Each couple should look at their … Read More »



Paying for Children’s College Costs After a Divorce

In a divorce, it is not uncommon for child-related issues to be disputed. Issues such as child custody, parenting time, and child support, can become very heated and contentious issues. However, there are other important issues related to children that can sometimes be overlooked or forgotten in a divorce. One example of this is paying for a child’s college costs.

In Massachusetts, parents who are still married, and have no divorce proceedings pending, are under no legal obligation to pay for a child’s college costs. However, once parents separate and divorce, the courts take an interest in the children, using the legal standard of the “best interests of the child.” It is not uncommon for it to be in a child’s best interests to attend college. Thus, the question arises as to who will pay for the child’s college costs.

When the courts make a determination as to payment of college costs, they review multiple factors, such as each parent’s income and earning capacity, each parent’s ability to pay, the child’s aptitudes, and what … Read More »



Calculating Child Support When One Parent is Unemployed or Underemployed

In Massachusetts, child support is calculated based upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines use a mathematical calculation to determine a child support obligation based upon each parent’s gross weekly income, as well as the number of children for the child support order. When these numbers are entered into the formula, a number is produced, which is the weekly child support obligation.

However, when one parent is unemployed or underplayed, the child support obligation is likely to be lower than if the Child Support Guidelines are calculated when that parent is fully employed at a level consistent with their earning capacity. This can cause frustration for the parent who is fully employed, but that parent is not left without recourse. In Massachusetts, if a parent is unemployed or underemployed, the other parent can seek to attribute or impute income to that parent.

When income is attributed to a parent who is unemployed or underemployed, what happens is a reasonable wage is used in that parent’s column of the Child Support Guidelines to calculate the child support obligation. The determination of what a reasonable wage is for one parent is based … Read More »



How to Calculate Your Child Support

Under Massachusetts law, parents who are divorced or separated must continue to support their children. In Massachusetts, a parent’s child support obligation is calculated based upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines are a set of rules that dictate how to calculate a parent’s child support obligation, and what income must be included in the calculation of child support.

The Child Support Guidelines often compare the respective financial circumstances of each parent and also look at the standard of living the child(ren) enjoyed while the parents were still married. In calculating child support, the court considers all sources of income, including salaries, wages, overtime, bonus, income from self-employment, commissions, interest and dividends, disability benefits, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and many other sources. The court may even impute income to a parent, if the court believes that the parent is not working or earning income to his or her fullest ability.

A parent’s child support obligation is calculated by adding the combined gross incomes of the recipient parent and the payor parent, less any child care, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, … Read More »



Streamlining the Child Support Modification Process in Massachusetts

Child Support letters with gavel and cash

In May 2013, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court expanded Standing Order 3-11, which streamlines the child support modification process in Massachusetts. Through this Standing Order, parents can now complete more user-friendly forms to file for a child support modification with the Probate and Family Court, and also obtain a faster court date to obtain some relief.

This project was originally initiated in 2011 in Bristol County through a federal grant. The project used Bristol County as a test county for the streamlined process. The Probate and Family Court worked together with the Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division to test this program.

As part of the pilot project, the Probate and Family Court and DOR developed a one-page form that contained the Complaint for Modification as well as the Motion for Temporary Orders. This form is more user-friendly than the standard court forms. In addition to the more user-friendly forms, litigants are allowed to complete service of the summons and complaint by first class mail, rather than service by a sheriff or constable. … Read More »



Paternity Issues in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, if a child is born out of wedlock, the child’s biological father is not deemed to be the child’s legal father, unless paternity is established. Establishing paternity is important for many reasons, and can be done in multiple ways.

The easiest way to establish paternity is when the child is born, the child’s biological father may sign a form known as an acknowledgement of paternity, in which he states and acknowledges that he is the father of the child. In this case, when the form is properly signed, the father’s name will then appear on the child’s birth certificate, and then the father is legally deemed to be the father of the child.

Another way to establish paternity is by a court order. Either the mother or the father may file a Complaint to Establish Paternity with the Probate and Family Court. Here, this is a formal legal case that is heard by a judge of the Probate and Family Court. Typically once a Complaint for Paternity is filed by either parent, then the court will order DNA testing for … Read More »



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