Worcester Child Support Lawyers
Dedicated to Superb Legal Service in Westborough & Hanover, MA
Child support can be a contentious matter when marriages or relationships end. Anything to do with finances can always be a tough issue during a divorce or custody case. The parent receiving the support generally always wants more while the parent paying the support wants to pay less. This can lead to disputes. However, in Massachusetts child support is calculated based on state guidelines. In these cases, it is important to figure out how much child support you may be granted or be required to pay as soon as possible so that you can begin budgeting for your new circumstances.
At O’Connor Family Law, we can help you determine how much child support you may be entitled to receive or be obligated to pay. This determination is usually done during the divorce or custody litigation process. However, the amount can be modified at a later date even after the initial judgment is entered. With decades of cumulative experience in handling family law matters exclusively, our Worcester child support attorneys can provide the assistance you need in planning for and protecting your children’s future.
Child Support Payments in Massachusetts
When two parents are married or living together, courts generally assume that both parents are financially contributing to the welfare of the child. However, when parents separate, child support will generally be ordered so that a child is not deprived of both parents’ financial support. Child support is needed to cover the many expenses involved in raising children, from food, housing, clothing, school expenses, and more. Massachusetts law grants courts the authority to order this support.
The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines provides the roadmap for how child support is calculated. The Worcester County Family Court uses these guidelines to determine an appropriate child support order. The calculations take both parent’s gross incomes along with a number of allowed deductions into consideration to come up with a presumptive payment amount. In some cases, calculating child support can be very easy and clear. In other cases, reasons may exist that would increase or decrease the payment from what the guidelines would presume. This is why it is important to ensure you have an experienced child support attorney to identify any issues that could raise or lower child support. It is even more important where one parent is self-employed. Courts understand that it can be easy for someone who is paying themselves to manipulate their income.
Child Support Enforcement
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) manages child support in the state. Parents ordered to pay child support who fall behind or cease payments entirely can face serious penalties, including going to jail. If the DOR is being used to bring about payments, it can garnish wages, suspend driver’s licenses, assess interest and penalties, or levy bank accounts. A child support attorney at our firm can file a complaint for contempt to the court if your ex-partner fails to pay what is owed. If found in contempt, the delinquent parent may also be required to pay your legal fees.
How Long Do Child Support Obligations Last?
Child support orders usually remain in effect until a child reaches what courts refer to as “emancipation.” You may assume that this means when a children becomes an adult at 18 but that is not the case in Massachusetts. If a child resides and is principally dependent upon parents for support, support can be ordered until your son or daughter turns 21. After 21, child support can only be ordered if your son or daughter resides with and is principally dependent on parents and is still in college. Although it can be ordered, the state guidelines allow for a reduced amount to be paid for a child over the age of 18. If your child has turned 18, has moved out of either parent’s home, is not in school after the age of 21, or is self-supportive, you should talk to an attorney to find out whether the support can be decreased or terminated.
Get Diligent & Dedicated Legal Help from O’Connor Family Law
When you no longer share a home with your partner, real problems can arise making ends meet while paying what you need to give your children the type of future they deserve. Giving the best to your kids shouldn’t mean you give everything without help. Having an enforceable child support order issued by a judge can ensure that your children will have the best possible care and future.
Most parents are dedicated to raising their children and, at our law firm, we are just as dedicated to getting you the support you need to do that. Raising a child as a single parent can be difficult but a child support lawyer can act as your ally as you stand up for your family in court. Come into our Westborough office today to learn how we can help with your child’s tomorrow.
My representation was far more superior than my ex-husbands.- Vicki
Thank you, Heather!- Jim
Attorney O’Connor is a professional and compassionate attorney.- James
I would definitely recommend her.- Raymond
Heather is brilliant.- Former Client