Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring child well-being when their parents are no longer together. In Massachusetts, as in many other states, child support is a legal obligation and the right of the child that aims to provide financial support to help children maintain a quality standard of living.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support is a regular, monetary payment made by one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising their child. Child support ensures the children’s basic needs will be provided for in both parents’ homes. It also helps the children enjoy a similar quality of life in both homes. Generally, child support helps to offset a portion of the cost for food (ex. groceries and hygiene), clothing, and shelter (a portion of overhead).
What Does it NOT Cover?
Child support is not intended to provide for all child-related expenses. Most parenting plans include separate arrangements for how to pay for other expenses, such as activities, lessons, and camp; most uninsured medical, dental, vision, and psychological expenses; day-care or private school; and sometimes college.
How do We Calculate Child Support in Massachusetts?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all divorcing parents to complete the child support worksheet. On the form you will provide the following information:
- Proportion of time each parent has with the children
- Number of children
- Number of children that are above or below 18
- Gross income of each parent
- Health, dental and vision insurance premium costs
- Child care costs
- Other child support obligations
The calculator will then provide a weekly child support figure.
Do We Need to Use the Number from the Worksheet?
Divorce mediation provides an opportunity for parents to figure out child support in Massachusetts. Parents can follow what the worksheet indicates, known as the guideline order. Or, they can deviate if they believe another amount serves the children’s best interests. Parents often consider the paying parent’s ability to pay and the receiving parent’s needs for providing for the children.
The Massachusetts’ child support guidelines outline a long list of factors to consider in determining child support. A mediator can help guide a constructive negotiation.
How can I learn more about how mediation can help us with child support?
If you would to learn more about mediation to determine child support schedule a free half-hour consultation with Ben.