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New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Take Effect Sept. 15, 2017


If you are paying or receiving child support, contact our team of family law attorneys today.

The new Massachusetts guidelines take effect September 15, and could save payees thousands per year and significantly impact payments for recipients. The Law Offices of Army & Roche will do a full audit to make sure you will be paying or receiving the correct amount under these complex new rules.

Important changes in the new 2017 Massachusetts child support guidelines include:

Minimum support now $25 per week

One of the more straightforward changes to the child support guidelines is increasing the current minimum of $18.46 per to $25 per week. The increase accounts for inflation and is the same proportionate amount since the last revision.

Removing the parent time/child support calculation

According to the previous guidelines, the amount of custody was inversely proportional to your child support payment – on a very simplistic level, if you had primary custody, then you would pay less in child support. In the revised guidelines, this specific language is removed to focus more on what is in the best interest of the child and not the financial obligations associated with it.

Capped adjustment to the child support calculation for child care and health care costs

Both health care and child care costs are increasingly expensive. The new guidelines introduce a 15 percent cap to these costs, apportioned between the two parties. At most, you will only pay 15 percent of your gross income if you are providing health insurance for your child. Another important point introduced under the new guidelines affects those who cannot afford health care costs. If you are within 300 percent of the federal poverty line, the court will no longer require you to pay for health insurance for your child, as they recognize the high costs as an undue burden. At Army & Roche, we foresee potential cases in which the 15 percent cap will still be an undue burden, even for those above the poverty line.

Child support for children between the ages of 18 and 23

Previously, the guidelines were left to the court’s discretion for children over 18. However, the revision adds stipulations for the needs of adult children, between the ages of 18 to 23. Any child still attending high school is categorized as under 18. Once the child has graduated, there is a 25 percent reduction to child support costs through age 23. Extenuating circumstances, in which the reduction might deviate, could include a child living at home full-time while commuting to a local college.

Parental contribution to post-secondary educational expenses

If the court requires a provision towards a child’s college educational expenses, the new guidelines now provide a clear benchmark: 50 percent of the in-state cost of attending UMass Amherst, including tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board. This limitation does not apply to children already enrolled in college before the guidelines take effect, or for parents who are financially able to contribute towards their child’s post-secondary education using assets or other resources.

The financial future of you and your child is at stake with these new regulations. Children whose parents work out amicable child support benefits are happier and lead less stressful lives, as do their parents. Do not leave it to chance.

If you have any questions about child support, talk to the team of family law attorneys at Army & Roche. We will make sure your rights are 100 percent protected.