New child support guidelines have been issued by Chief Justice Paula Carey, which go into effect on September 15, 2017. The new guidelines apply to all child support orders issued after that date. Substantive changes from the current guidelines in effect include the following:
- Consideration of parenting time where one party has more than one-third but less than fifty percent of the parenting time was eliminated. The child support task force felt that allowing for an alternative calculation of support based on this type of parenting plan increased litigation and acrimony between parents.
- The child support worksheet now contains adjustments for childcare and health insurance expenses in two steps. First, the parent who pays the childcare and/or health insurance deducts the cost from his/her gross income. Second, the parties share the total cost of child care and health insurance in proportion to their available income for support. However, because the adjustment for sharing the expense is capped at 15% of the child support order, the benefit to the party paying the costs may not be significant.
- Child support for children between the ages of 18 and 23 remains at the discretion of the Court. However, the new guidelines provide for a reduced amount of support for children aged 18 and over where the court chooses to exercise its discretion to award support.
- The child support guidelines make clear that the Court has discretion to order, or to decline to order, that a parent contribute to the college expenses of a child under the age of 23. It is not presumptive that a parent contribute to college costs. The new guidelines provide that no parent shall be ordered to pay college costs in an amount in excess of 50% of the in-state costs to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, unless the Court makes written findings of a parent’s ability to pay more.
Take a look at the new guidelines and explanations for the changes here.
Until next time,