Child Support Lawyer in Massachusetts
At Snook Law Office, we know that calculating child support is an extremely important process. Not only do you want to be certain you do not file the wrong documents with the court, but you also want to be sure the final amount is fair. Attorney Douglas Snook is particularly equipped to help parents draft and file the correct paperwork and negotiate the right child support plan for you.
Attorney Snook will Fight to get you the Most Child Support.
Attorney Snook is an experienced child support lawyer with successful experience handling child support, child custody, divorce proceedings, and other family law issues in Massachusetts.
He understands that calculating child support is a complicated process, particularly if the parents disagree. He will help you calculate your income and expenses, file the appropriate paperwork, and make absolutely sure that you have abided by the Massachusetts legal guidelines. He will also draft an expert parenting plan and custody agreement that protects your rights as a parent.
Attorney Snook is a true advocate for parents and understands that every parent deserves fair treatment in the family law process.
Child Support in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Child Support Calculation: An Overview
Child support lawyers are particularly equipped to help parents draft and file the correct paperwork and negotiate a reasonable child support plan. Once custody is established, the judge presiding over your child support matter will use the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines to make its determination regarding how much child support will be paid. If you and the other parent have joint custody or equal parenting time, there is a “cross guidelines” calculation where the higher earner will pay a certain amount to the other.
Factors Considered in Child Support Calculations
Child support payments are calculated based on the following information:
the gross annual income of the non-custodial parent;
the gross annual income of the custodial parent;
the number of children for whom support is being calculated;
the age of the oldest child (if less than 18);
the annual cost of daycare;
the weekly cost of family group health insurance with a maximum of $100; and
which parent is responsible for health insurance
Further, the more children you have, the more the support will be, though it will not necessarily be double or triple the amount if you had one child.
A child support lawyer will walk you through the guidelines. At Snook Law, we make sure our clients understand both the guidelines and the possibilities for their particular child support case.
How Long Does Child Support Last?
In Massachusetts, child support typically terminates when the child turns 18, but may be extended to age 23 if the child is living at home and attending college or receiving vocational training. It can be terminated before age 18 if the child is emancipated.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible?
The parent paying child support cannot use child support as a tax deduction. However, the support the recipient receives is not considered taxable income.
Consequences of Not Paying Support Obligations
If you are ordered to pay support and you fail to do so, the court will seize your bank account or issue a withholding order to your employer. You also risk having your driver’s license suspended along with your professional license.
Continued failure to pay can result in the court finding you in contempt for willful disobedience of a court order and require you to pay a certain amount within a period of time. If the amount is not paid, or you repeatedly fail to meet your financial obligations, you can be incarcerated. Further, our release may be dependent on a “purge” amount for you to pay before being released. Parents who have not received child support payments, or who cannot pay their child support, should seek counsel from a skilled child support lawyer.
Does Non-Payment Impact Child Custody?
Even when the paying parent fails to pay, the recipient parent cannot deny visitation or parenting time to the non-paying parent.
To deny visitation rights without a court order, the custodial parent must request a protective or restraining order showing that the parent poses a high degree of risk to the safety or well-being of the child. Usually, this is based on criminal activity, extreme drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, sexual assault, or other domestic violence including emotional abuse.
Contact Snook Law if you are unable to pay and receiving notices from the court. We can help.
How to Modify Child Support in Massachusetts
You cannot seek a modification of a child support order until three (3) years have passed since the order went into effect. The modification can be an increase or a decrease, but you must show that there has been a material or substantial change in circumstances since the original order took effect. A substantial change in circumstances can include:
Change in custody or parenting time
Change in childcare expenses
A child has been emancipated
A parent has been incarcerated or has been released from incarceration
A parent or child has a disability
There has been a material change in employment
Retain Snook Law to Modify Your Child Support
Our experienced child support lawyer here at Snook Law Office will explain what situations might cause a deviation from the guidelines or what qualifies as a circumstance that would modify the order. We will then file a request for you.
Contact Snook Law if you are having difficulties making support payments. We advise clients on what the best course of action is to take, and it's never too late to make adjustments.