Massachusetts has child support guidelines that apply to all of the custody arrangements. During mediation, we look at the budgets for the two households and spend a lot of time going over a comprehensive budgeting plan. We want to make sure that there are financial resources for both families and that the children will be benefited by them. So, even though there are guidelines in Massachusetts, sometimes those guidelines will not meet the needs of the children. By going over budgets with clients and making sure they have all of the necessary information, we help to ensure that they are making informed decisions as to the amount of an appropriate child support order.
Child support contributes to three necessities: food, clothing and shelter. However, there are many additional costs associated with raising children these days, such as cell phones, camp costs and extracurricular activities. Each family is different, and we weigh out all of the issues in order to help clients determine an amount that will ensure a quality standard of living and meet the needs of the children.
How Are Child Support Amounts Determined? Can They Be Modified For Any Reason?
Child support amounts are determined in accordance with the child support guidelines. If the combined income of the family exceeds $250,000, then there may be a spousal support component involved. The support guidelines, budgets, the needs of both families and the needs of the children will all be considered during the mediation process.
Any provision regarding the children can be modified if there is a material and substantial change in circumstances. For example, if someone has a job loss or a substantial increase in pay, then the clients can come back to the mediation process to modify child support.
If Both Parents Share Equal Custody, Does Anyone Have To Pay Child Support?
If both parents share equal custody, then the amount that each parent will pay toward supporting the child will depend on the level of their income.
For example, if one spouse’s income is higher than the other spouse’s income, then the higher income parent would pay child support to the lower income parent. We would apply the child support formula and consider the other expenses for the children in order to come up with an appropriate number. There are all types of creative ways that a couple can deal with child support. If each parent earns the same amount of money, then there may not be any child support ordered, but each parent would still contribute to the expenses.
For more information on Mediating Child Support Issues, a strategy session is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (508) 529-1510today.