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Child support can be a contentious matter in a divorce. Whether you pay it or receive it, the most important thing to keep in mind is why it is necessary. Money Crashers explains that child support is your financial obligation to your child when you are not the parent the child lives with. The Massachusetts court will determine the amount of support based on several factors.

Typically, it will begin by looking at your income and the income of the other parent. If there is a significant difference, you can expect to pay more in support. This is because your child has a right to a standard of living similar to that he or she would have had if there was no divorce. This does not mean the court will leave you with no money. It tries to balance your needs with those of your child, but the child is the main priority.

Usually, you will pay child support until your child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school, whichever happens last. If you have a special needs child, though, you may pay for the rest of his or her life.

Your child support may also include other expenses, such as medical insurance coverage. You may agree in your divorce to also pay for special items, such as private school tuition. This will not impact your child support obligation, though.

It is important to note that child support and visitation are separate matters. The court will not base your visitation on your child support obligations. However, if you share custody of your child, the court may reduce the amount you pay since you are providing for your child when he or she is with you. This information is for education and is not legal advice.