The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are used by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court to determine the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent from the noncustodial parent for the support and maintenance of the child. The guidelines are updated and reviewed by the Massachusetts Trial Court every four years to make appropriate adjustments based on numerous factors.
The quadrennial review by the Massachusetts Trial Court has been completed, and the new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are now to be used in all child support cases in Massachusetts. The new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines take effect on October 4, 2021.
Preamble of the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines
“These child support guidelines shall take effect on October 4, 2021, and shall be applied to all child support orders and judgments entered as of October 4, 2021. In recognition of the priority of the interests of the children of the Commonwealth, these guidelines are formulated to be used by all of the justices of the Trial Court. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order, regardless of whether the parents of the child are married or unmarried, the order is temporary or final, or the Court is deciding whether to approve an agreement for child support. There shall also be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the child support order calculated under these guidelines is the appropriate amount of child support to be ordered. These guidelines are based on various considerations, including, but not limited to, each parent’s earnings, income, and other evidence of ability to pay. These guidelines are intended to be of assistance to attorneys and to parties in determining what level of payment would be expected given the relative income levels of the parties. In all cases where an order for child support may be established or modified, a guidelines worksheet must be filled out, regardless of the income of the parties.”The Preamble to the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines
2021 Massachusetts Child Support Calculator: A Tool to Determine the Amount of Child Support in Massachusetts
The actual 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are a substantive, twenty-six page document that provides litigants, judges and attorneys a detailed overview of the child support law in Massachusetts. However, Massachusetts child support orders are actually calculated by using the “2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.”
The Worksheet provides the parties with the child support order that is recommend by the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The number that the worksheet produces is a “rebuttable presumption.” Meaning, the child support judge is presumed to order the Worksheet amount, but this presumption can be rebutted by numerous factors.
About the Author: Attorney Anthony Rao, Esq. is a practicing attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and was admitted to the practice of law in 2006. As a former Child Support Enforcement Attorney for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Attorney Rao has handled thousands of Massachusetts Child Support Cases, and is available to discuss the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines and the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. He may be reached at 617-953-0836, or at Anthony@lawrao.com