Child Support Lawyers in Melrose Helping Individuals in Matters That Pertain to Child Living Expenses
Massachusetts child support laws stipulate that a non-custodial parent must contribute to their child’s financial well-being. This is usually accomplished by the non-custodial parent making regular fixed payments to the custodial parent. It is fairly common for parents to have disputes that center around the amount that the non-custodial parent should be required to pay. If you are facing issues in obtaining the child support that is owed to you or feels that you need a modification of your child support order, contact Martino Law Group, LLC as soon as possible. We will be happy to schedule a free consultation with you and review the factors involved in your case.
Child support issues can quickly get beyond your control. We can assist you by explaining your rights and any legal options you may have.
How Can a Child Support Order be Modified in Massachusetts?
If a legitimate need should arise that warrants a modification of child support, the specific amount can be determined between the two parties involved. However, if an agreement cannot be amicably resolved, the amount is then determined by the application of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines involve a number of factors used to make a calculation of the payment amount.
Non-custodial parents are also expected to contribute to the general upkeep of the child in the form of clothing, transportation, or other items that they may be in need of. These items do not count toward actual child support. However, additional expenses that involve the child and their well-being may count toward the child support amount.
A modification of child support is permitted under any of the reasons set forth under the Guidelines:
- There is an inconsistency in the amount specified in the current order versus the amount that would result from an application of the guidelines.
- Healthcare that was previously ordered is no longer available
- Previously ordered healthcare insurance is no longer offered at a reasonable rate or without creating undue hardship.
- The parent now has access to healthcare coverage that was previously unavailable.
- Another type of substantial change in circumstances has occurred.
What Happens if a Person Does Not Pay Court Ordered Child Support in Massachusetts?
Paying child support is a legal obligation, and if the non-custodial parent does not pay, they can be held in contempt of court. They can also be fined or incarcerated. In addition, their driver’s license may be suspended, as well as any professional licenses they may hold. If non-payment continues for an extended period of time, they also run the risk of having criminal charges brought against them.
Child Support Enforcement (CSE) has a variety of options that they can choose from in order to obtain child support payments from parents who may be in arrears. Some of the many possibilities include:
- Suspending your license
- Attaching your bank accounts
- Increasing the amount withheld from your paycheck by 25%
- Charging interest and penalties on the overdue amount
- Seizing your personal property
- Placing a lien on real estate or other personal property
- Intercepting your tax refunds
- Filing a complaint for contempt of court
When Does Child Support End in Massachusetts?
In most child support situations, child support ends when a child reaches the age of 18. However, there are special circumstances that Massachusetts recognizes, and the court may determine that payments should continue until the child turns 21. This is contingent upon the child living with the parent and is dependent on them for ongoing support.
The court also has the legal authority to order that child support payments continue up until the child is age 23 if they are enrolled full-time in a higher learning institution education program. In these types of scenarios, the judge has the authority to make a decision based on their own personal discretion.
Some more common reasons for child support to end include:
- The child stops living with the parent who receives child support
- The child begins living with the parent who has been paying child support
- The child is no longer financially dependent on either parent
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer in Order to Obtain a Child Support Modification?
You can put in a request on your own to modify an existing child support order without the help of a lawyer. However, as with all matters that involve legal proceedings, it is always highly recommended that you first speak with a qualified family attorney before taking any further action on your own.
One important thing to remember about child support enforcement orders is that they are legal obligations that you are compelled by law to pay. If you and the other parent cannot agree to a modification harmoniously, then you may very well have to take the issue in front of a family court judge.
Having an experienced lawyer on your side can be greatly beneficial to you in many ways. A skilled child support attorney can review your case, look for any changes that may have occurred in your circumstances, and present them to the judge.
The attorneys of the Martino Law Group, LLC are highly qualified to handle cases that involve parents seeking to change or modify their child support order. We can review all of the facts of the case and help make a determination as to how to best move forward in order to protect both your interests and, most importantly, the best interests of the child.