Massachusetts Child Custody & Massachusetts Child Support
UPDATED: March 4, 2020
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As in family courts around the nation, Massachusetts courts strongly urge parents to cooperatively work out a resolution to raising children that is in the children’s best interests. If parents are unable to agree, the court will get involved and decide issues of custody, visitation, and support with the best interests of the children in mind. The following are the laws governing child custody and support in the state of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Child Custody:
Massachusetts courts will prioritize lessening the emotional impact on children of the divorce above all else. If the parents cannot agree on a plan for custody, the courts will decide what is best for the children and will give importance to such factors as a history of violence or abusive conduct of either parent, as well as the willingness of each parent to encourage the maintenance of a relationship between the children and the other parent.
Massachusetts Child Support:
Child support in Massachusetts is determined in accordance with the Income Shares Model for child support, where each parent's income is considered in relative proportion. The support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain the correct proportion and provide for the needs of the child.
These guidelines are not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a standard other than the Income Shares Model will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.
The factors that can be considered here are numerous, and include but are not limited to the following:
- Pre-dissolution or pre-separation standard of living that the child enjoyed
- Monetary support provided for other family members
- Debts arising during the marriage for the child's benefit
- Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child's benefit
- Court-ordered payments for health care and education for the child's benefit
- Children's independent financial resources, if any
- Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those things
A Massachusetts divorce lawyer can help you sort through your rights and responsibilities when it comes to childrearing after a divorce, and serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement. You can find a lawyer at:
Massachusetts Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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