Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by Lori Pace
For various reasons, the parents of a child might separate. This can often leave the child with only one parent to care for all his/her needs. This is sometimes too much for one person to handle. Therefore, child support laws in Massachusetts are in place that specify the amount each parent must pay. Child support payments are essential for maintaining living standards for children from separated parents. These orders impose a legal obligation for both parents to participate in the upbringing and care of the child.
The Process For Child Support After Divorce
Massachusetts’ Department of Revenue (DOR), provides child support services for parents who need it. Custodial parents who wish to apply for child support can fill out an online application. The custodial parents must provide information about the child and non-custodial parent when filling out the application. This information includes personal information like full name, social security number and home address. This application can help to speed up the process by making it easier for the non-custodial parent to be located.
This is crucial as a child support case cannot proceed without notifying the other parent. They will issue a court summons to the noncustodial parent, which acts as an official notice about the child support case. A deputy sheriff usually delivers the summons, which is then signed off by the parent to confirm that it has been received and delivered.
If the parents were married at the time the child was born, then the man is presumed to be the legal father. However, if the parents are not married, the alleged dad can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment Of Parentage form. If the fatherhood of the child has been disputed, a court might order genetic testing. The procedure involves taking DNA samples from the parents and the child to establish the fatherhood chances. This test is extremely accurate and provides the basis for a court order of paternity.
The case can then be heard to determine the amount of child support to be paid each month.
Both parents can request for a modification to the child support order. Modifications when one parent’s financial situation has changed significantly. You can find more details on how to go about changing an existing child support order on their website.
How To Receive Child Support
The DOR takes the funds from the noncustodial parents and transfers them to their custody. The custodial parent can choose to receive child support payments in direct deposits to their bank accounts or via a state-issued debit card. While both payment options do not incur service fees, DOR recommends direct deposits for custodial parents. Direct deposit allows the payment of child support electronically into a bank account. The custodial parent can withdraw at any time or saved for later.
Parents can also apply for the Massachusetts Debit Card. The funds will be transferred to the appropriate Massachusetts Debit Card account. You can use the card to withdraw money at ATMs and make purchases in retail outlets. The Massachusetts Debit Card may be subject to regular ATM and transaction fees. Custodial parents receiving child support can sign up for either direct deposit or the debit card via the online case manager.
The Maximum Amount That Your Family Can Receive
The income of both parents helps determine the amount of child support payments in Massachusetts. There are child support guidelines by the state to decide how much the payment should be in different circumstances. Consider the number of children, their cost, and health insurance. The court can use income values to determine child support because some parents might not report all of their income. If a parent is not working or unemployed, the court could attribute a greater income to them. If a parent is working voluntarily in a lower-paying job than they should be earning, the court will assume a greater income and make a decision based on this.
The maximum annual combined gross income of both parents for child support is $250000. The court has the right to apply discretionary child support amounts. You can find more information from the Child Support Guidelines in Massachusetts.
Enforcement of Child Support
If the noncustodial parent refuses child support, custodial parents may file a Complaint For Contempt. The Complaint for Contempt form and should be filled following the instructions outlined. After reviewing the information provided by both parents, a judge will decide how much child support is due. Additionally, the court will often add interest and fees to support that the defaulting parent must pay. However, the court may sentence the parent who refuses to pay support.
To recover child support past due, the DOR has a Payment Intercept program. This arrangement is subject to the approval of insurance companies. The Payment Intercept program identifies which insurance claims the non-custodial parent has and subtracts child support from these payouts.