Child Support Lawyers in Hanover, MA Answering Questions About Child Support

Each family and situation provides its own set of circumstances, and the courts will work together with your attorney to determine what is best for your child and their future. In most cases, the parent who has physical custody of the child is awarded support payments in order to continue the same quality of life that the child had during the marriage or the beginning of their lives. The payments don’t go directly to the child, however. They are used for things like child care, health insurance, costs associated with medical care, food, education, and housing.

At O’Connor Family Law, we have extensive experience in handling these situations and providing guidance that allows you to walk through this chapter of your life with the help of a trusted partner rather than alone. Contact one of our Hanover child support lawyer at  774-703-3755 to find out more regarding your specific questions.

How Is Child Support Determined?

Massachusetts is like most states in that they use a formula to calculate child support and who is awarded what in each case. A Child Support Guidelines Worksheet is used, including items such as the gross income of each parent, the ages of each child involved, etc. These items are entered into the worksheet, allowing for a facts-based guideline to point in the direction of what is best for the child in a typically emotions-based situation. Gross income includes self-employment as well as SSI or SSDI Income, tips, or other income. These numbers are calculated on a weekly basis, and expenses such as the cost of child care, health insurance, support payments in place for other children, and more are then deducted from the weekly income of each parent. Adjustments for children over the age of 18 are factored in as well. Deviations can be made to this formula based on several factors. Some examples of these deviations are if the child has special needs resulting in expensive health care costs, whether the parents have expensive health costs themselves, whether the parents now have extra costs involved in travel due to parenting time if the payor has insufficient funds to pay support and more.

In some cases, child support can be ordered to be withheld from the payor’s paychecks. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue then forwards the payments to the receiving parent.  If there isn’t an order to pay through income withholding, direct payments to the DOR are required so that they can be dispersed accordingly.

What If I Need To Modify My Child Support?

Every three years, Child Support Modifications can be requested. In some cases, modifications may be sought sooner than three years if there has been a major change in a parent’s income or living situation that results in their inability to pay (due to injury, new medical expenses incurred, or change in employment). The amount of time that the children are spending with each parent can sometimes change as well, resulting in one parent needing more support for expenses associated with the children. Keeping thorough records of your household expenses and any changes to your income or time with your children will benefit you greatly in requesting any modifications. Working with trusted attorneys to assist you with these changes can help to make them less stressful so you can focus on your children.

O’Connor Family Law has handled a multitude of these cases in the past, and we understand that each family has a specific set of circumstances. We are well-versed in handling what can typically be emotionally charged conversations and can help you take the necessary steps to make sure the children in your life are taken care of. Contact us by calling  774-703-3755 to answer any questions you may have. 

What if I Can’t Pay the Child Support I’ve Been Ordered?

Child Support Orders are legally binding, and therefore there are consequences for not abiding by the order. If you aren’t able to afford the payments due to changes in your circumstances, contact a trusted attorney and determine whether a Child Support Modification is a realistic option for you. The Department of Revenue will track your payment history and assess penalties or interest if you miss payments. This can result in the suspension of your driver’s license or a lien on your bank account if it continues without resolution.

On the other hand, if you aren’t receiving the payments that you were awarded, you can consult an attorney to understand your rights in obtaining child support and how to start the process. One of our Hanover child support lawyer can handle both sides of this situation, and are here to help.