Today’s question “How is Child Custody and Support in Massachusetts Determined?” is answered by expert Divorce Attorney Joana Stathi.
Determining the details around child custody and support in Massachusetts can be tricky since in October 2021 new child support guidelines were enforced. With these new guidelines it was clear the payor saw an increase in their child support obligation. The guidelines provide a calculation for when the parties have joint physical custody and when one parent has the children 2/3s of the time.
Joint physical custody: a typical joint physical custody plan is when one parent has the children on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other parent has the children on Wednesdays and Thursdays and weekends are alternated. Primary custody: when one parent has primary custody a typical parenting plan consists of the non primary parent having custody of the children every other weekend and one dinner visit a week.
After it is determined what custody arrangement the parents have, we then turn to the child support worksheet which calculates the support amount. On the worksheet there is a box to check off whether the parents have joint custody or not, as this effects how much a recipient will receive. Typically when it is a joint custody plan the payor is obligated to pay far less than if it was not. Then the parents’ gross weekly income is entered as well as any child care expenses and health insurance expenses. This worksheet will then generate a weekly support number.
Child support will last until the child becomes emancipated. If the child is between 18 and 21, but still needs the support of the parents, then child support payments continue. Child support payments may last up through the age of 23 if the child pursues a qualified education program. It is recommended to the payor that child support should be recalculated when a child turns 18 years old as it will decrease the support amount.
If you have additional questions about child custody and support in Massachusetts, contact Joana Stathi today!