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Child Support

The Law Office of Sanford I. Furman Will Help You Make The Law Work For You

The philosophy behind child support in Massachusetts is that all children, both children of married couples and children of unmarried partners, deserve to be supported and maintained in the best manner the parents can provide, even if that means substantial sacrifice for one or both parents, especially the payor. Child support involves a calculation using the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines developed by the legislature. For the parent paying child support, the amount usually feels like the amount is too much, that there just isn’t enough left for him or her to live on comfortably. For the parent receiving child support, the amount of support is rarely enough to live on without additional income.

In every case involving minor children a calculation based on the child support guidelines is required, although there can be cases in which the parties agree, or a judge decides, to come up with a figure that is different from the Guidelines calculation. The calculation  starts with the gross (before tax) income of the payor and take into account various factors, such as which parent provides medical insurance, whether a parent is paying for pre-school or after-school, or whether the payor is supporting another family. The support calculation is also adjusted if there are more than one unemancipated child. In cases in which the parents have split custody – each parent has primary custody of at least one child, or cases in which the parents have shared physical custody, often defined as where each parent has all of the children for at least 40% of the time, the child support calculation is done differently. The child support guidelines clearly apply until a child turns eighteen (or graduates from high school). They also may be extended until age twenty-one or in some cases as late as age 23, depending on whether the child is as long a child is living at home and is still in college. For a more in depth understanding of the child support guidelines, go to the Massachusetts courts website: http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/guidelines.pdf

Is child support different in cases of divorcing parents than it is for parents not married to each other?

The Child Support Guidelines apply to cases involving both married and unmarried parents, and the formula is the same. One difference is that, in cases of divorce, child support can start no earlier than  the Court filing for divorce or support. For unmarried parents, child support can start at the time of the birth of the child, and can even be imposed retroactive to the birth of the child.

Is child support income to the parent who receives it and/or a deduction to the parent who pays?

Child support payments are tax-neutral – they are not taxable income for the parent receiving support, and they are not deductible for the parent paying support. Child support required until the last child is emancipated.

What about child support and college?

The relationship between child support and payment of college expenses is complicated. It is something that an be negotiated during the divorce, or can be re-negotiated at the time of college.

Helping You Understand the Child Support Guidelines

The judge hearing a case has some discretion to deviate from the calculation in the child support guidelines. As you can see, child support is both important and complicated, and it is important to have the services of a competent divorce attorney to assist you regardless of whether you will benefit from child support or be paying.

The Law Offices of Sanford I. Furman can assist you in making sure that whether you are paying child support or receiving it, that the calculation is as fair as it can be.

Dealing with College Expenses

If you and your spouse are together you have no legal obligation to support your children while they are in college, either directly by paying for college, or indirectly by providing your children with a home to live in. However, once there is a divorce or break-up of a relationship involving children, the courts do step in and require parents to support their children. They do this in two ways:

  • First, child support must be paid until the youngest child is emancipated, and if a child is living at home, or based at home even if in college, it can be as late as age twenty-one or, in certain cases, twenty-three.
  • The second situation involves allocating responsibility for paying for college. Your divorce agreement should at least address college expenses, but, especially if the children are young, circumstances will change and addressing college expenses is a common reason for coming back to court to modify the divorce judgment.

An experienced family law attorney can assist you in dealing with these issues, both during the divorce negotiation, and later as the need for college is upon you.

Experienced Assistance In Addressing Individual Concerns

If there are minor children (up to the age of 21 or, in some cases, 23 if still in college), there will typically be child support, and there will also be college expenses that need to be addressed. Attorney Furman will explain the law clearly so that you know what to reasonably expect, and assist you in getting the best result for you. He has over 25 years of experience in helping people in greater Boston, including Newton and Wellesley, and Metrowest areas of Massachusetts, including Worcester, Westborough, Framingham and Natick understand how child support works. He will guide you through an assessment of the financial aspects of your case and assist you in developing realistic goals and then advocating on your behalf to realize those goals.

Free Initial Consultation

Please contact the Law Offices of Sanford I. Furman by phone or e-mail if you have a child support issue. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged by appointment at Attorney Furman’s offices in Wellesley and Westborough.