Every four (4) years, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are reviewed and updated by a Task Force appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court. Following the review by the Task Force, on October 4, 2021, the new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines will go into effect and affect pending cases. The new guidelines could also have a significant impact on those people currently paying or receiving child support; however, they are not applied automatically and a Complaint for Modification would need to be filed with the appropriate Probate and Family Court to recalculate the child support award.
Four (4) Major Revisions to Child Support Guidelines:
- Maximum Presumptive Level of Combined Income Used for Calculation Raised from $250,000 to $400,000
The first significant revision concerns the total amount of the parties’ combined income to be used for the child support calculation. Previously, the child support guidelines only took into account the first $250,000 of the parties’ combined annual gross income to calculate child support. In addition, any amounts of combined gross annual income above $250,000 could be considered in the court’s discretion to award additional support above the minimum presumptive amount.
The new child support guidelines are calculated up to a maximum combined annual gross income of the parties of $400,000. Practically, this results in parties have larger minimum presumptive child support orders than they would have received under the old child support child lines. The court continues to have discretion to award additional child support to be paid In cases where the parties’ combined annual income exceeds $400,000 as it did under the old child support guidelines.
- Families with More Than One (1) Child
The second significant revision to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines concerns the calculation for families with more than one (1) child. Notably, the new guidelines have incrementally increased the cost of each additional child. As such, child support awards for families with more than one (1) child will be higher than under the old child support guidelines.
- Costs of Child Care
The third significant revision to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines concerns the allocation of child care costs between the parties. Previously, the child care costs and health care costs were capped at fifteen (15%) of the total support order. Under the new Guidelines, reasonable work-related child care costs of up to $355 per week, per child are shared by the parties in proportion to their share of combined available income.
- Minimum Child Support Award Decreased to $12/Week
The fourth significant revision to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines concerns the minimum child support obligation. Under the old guidelines, the minimum child support obligation was $25 per week. Under the new guidelines, the minimum award has been decreased to $12 per week for individuals earning less than $210 per week.
For more information
For more information or to determine whether your child support obligation or award is subject to upward or downward modification, please contact Gregory N. Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 401.273.7171.
Gregory N. Hoffman focuses his practice on complex family law, criminal law and general civil litigation. He actively practices in the courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island litigating cases such as divorce, child custody, child support, domestic violence, criminal defense and personal injury. In addition, Greg significant amount of time developing comprehensive and cost-effective solutions in the drafting of a variety of domestic relations agreements such as Separation Agreements and Antenuptial Agreements.