The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines change on August 1, 2013. I have asked my colleague, Robin Lynch Nardone, to outline the major changes.
There are significant changes, which help fix some of the unclear areas of the old guidelines.
There are several changes from the previous guidelines to note, including:
- The 2013 guidelines calculate each parent’s percentage of total available combined income up to $250,000 per year and a “combined support amount.” This is a new method of looking at support — as a total obligation of both parents.
- The 2013 guidelines clarify what is to occur when the combined income of the parties’ exceeds $250,000 per year. The guidelines are applied on the first $250,000 in the same proportion as the Recipient’s and Payor’s actual income compared to the total combined income. There is now a space on the form to list how much income remains available to either parent above the $250,000 combined total. The child support obligation for the portion of combined available income that exceeds $250,000 is in the discretion of the Court.
- The guidelines themselves now provide that a child support order may be modified if there is
… Keep reading
On March 12, 2013, the Supreme Judicial Court clarified the standard for modification of child support under the Massachusetts child support guidelines in the case, Morales v. Morales.
Before the Morales case there was an ambiguity in the law, where one portion indicated the standard for modification of child support payments was a material change in circumstances, which is the usual standard for modifications. The law itself had said: “In any proceeding to establish or modify an amount of child support, the child support guidelines promulgated by the chief justice of [the trial court] shall apply.”
The SJC has held that the child support guidelines are the standard, and there is no need to prove a material change in circumstances to obtain a modification. A parent needs to show only an “inconsistency” between what he or she is paying in child support and what the guidelines say he or she should be paying. This is quite easy to prove and I anticipate many child support-paying parents to seek modifications in court.
It is also both good law and common sense.
Nancy… Keep reading
In today’s political climate the next item, health insurance, is somewhat challenging to consider.
There should be provisions in all agreements, for both health insurance coverage and for how you will handle the uninsured medical expenses for both yourselves and your children.
Generally this is first an economic and a health consideration; Who has the best insurance at the best price? If there are children then the cost of insurance is covered in the child support guidelines. The guidelines provide that the custodial parent pays for the first $250 of uninsured expenses for the children, then the parents share the remainder annually. Generally it is best to spell out what is intended to be covered; medical expenses, dental expenses and counseling expenses, then list what future expenses need to be discussed before they are incurred; there can be a different split of the cost of large ticket items, such as orthodontia as well.
Massachusetts has a provision in its laws that requires health insurance companies with some exceptions to provide post divorce insurance for the spouse of the insured. This is great unless the insured spouse is employed by a company that is a self insurer … Keep reading
In any support situation, it seems the support is always too much for the person paying, and never enough for the person receiving it. With child support in Massachusetts, the payments are formulaic. The Child Support Guidelines were revised a year ago, and here is an update on the revisions.
In most cases if there are children who fall under the guidelines (generally under 18 if not in school and up to age 23 if in college), the parent with whom the kids are living should be receiving at least some support from the other parent even before the parties hit the court system. The guidelines make it easy to determine the amount, but even with a formula there can be disagreements and the recipient may need to ask the court to intervene.
Commonly, child support is paid on the same calendar as the one used to calculate and receive your pay check. The calculation is weekly, so if you are going to be paying monthly remember there are 4.3 weeks in a month; consequently, a $100 per week order results in a $430 per month payment.
If possible, it is best to have the support … Keep reading
Taking a quick break from the list of Top 5 Tips on Picking a Divorce Lawyer to bring you the new Massachusetts child support guidelines.
Massachusetts has deployed new child support guidelines. We have had guidelines substantially unchanged, for about twenty years and the new guidelines are in many ways quite different. Here is a link to a good article on the subject. FYI, Robin is no longer an associate, she just made partner!
It is important to note that if your agreement or judgment is 3 years old or older, the new guidelines are automatic grounds for modification.
Stay tuned for my next post, Tip #2 out of 5 on Picking a Divorce Lawyer.
Nancy… Keep reading