Lynnfield Child Support Attorney

Massachusetts law states that every child has the right to financial support from his or her parents until the child reaches 18 years of age or until he or she turns 20 if the child is still in high school. The amount of child support that one parent pays the other is determined by a formula that calculates the parents' percentage of total available combined annual income up to $250,000 and a combined support amount.

This method of looking at child support as a total obligation of both parents is part of a new means of calculating child support that took effect in 2013. The new guidelines provide judges more flexibility and discretion based on unique factors of the parties involved.

Your Attorney Must Understand Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

The fact that courts have more flexibility in determining the amount of child support makes it that much more important that you enlist the services of a family law attorney who understands the changes that were made in 2013. I am attorney Rebecca E. Rogers I focus on family law. This allows me to stay current with ever-evolving family law statutes like those regarding child support.

The new guidelines are based on a parenting plan that places minor children with a custodial parent two-thirds of the time and with the noncustodial parent one-third of the time, which is a common arrangement. Support payments can be increased or decreased if parents divide time with children more equally or if the noncustodial parent has a child less than one-third of the time.

Modifications to existing child support orders may also be possible if the existing order no longer suits both parties or serves the best interests of the child due to a "material and substantial change" in circumstances from the prior court order. Examples of changes that may affect the amount of child support that is paid include:

  • A child's increased health care needs
  • A significant decrease or increase in either parent's income
  • A parent's extended period of involuntary unemployment
  • Changes to a parenting plan that result in a child spending more time with one parent

Steer Clear Of Informal Agreements

One mistake that parents frequently make is entering into informal agreements between themselves to modify existing child support orders. This may cause problems if one parent demands to return to the original court order. It is always wise to work with an experienced lawyer when addressing child support issues or any family law matter.

If you face divorce or the end of a nonmarital relationship, I invite you to call or email me to schedule a free consultation. I will answer your questions, assess your situation and recommend an effective course of action. I work with clients throughout Essex and Middlesex counties and surrounding counties from offices in Lynnfield and North Reading.