In Massachusetts, both parents are responsible for the support of their children, whether they are married, divorced, separated, or were never married to each other.
Child support represents a significant cash flow in or out of a household, and the economy has undoubtedly affected many families. Recently, I have assisted clients obtain changes (modifications) to their existing child support orders.
You or someone you know may be able to benefit from the new Massachusetts child support guidelines, which were effective on January 1, 2009. Under the new guidelines, existing child support orders cannot be modified for three years unless there is a material change in circumstances (for example, a significant change in financial circumstances) or a change in health insurance.
* However, the court has discretion to deviate from the new guidelines in other limited circumstances, for example, where a child has special needs or where a parent has extraordinary medical expenses.
Whether you are the payer or the recipient of child support, you might want to consult with me regarding the possibility of a change in your existing order of support, particularly if that order is more than three years old.