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You tried to keep the marriage together, but you realize that your family will never be the same. Divorce is a tough decision to make. However, once the process is over, it may relieve stress for you, your spouse and your children.

Paying child support is a given. Having to budget the expenses is OK because providing your children with stability is of utmost importance. What you may not know is how the courts calculate child support. Below are three factors the state considers when drawing up a child support order:

  1. Parenting time

Child support guidelines take into consideration the time spent with each parent. The court reviews the child custody order and figures the calculations based upon the child living at a primary residence with one parent while spending at least one-third of the time with the other parent.

  1. Child care costs

The court deducts the amount of child care from the gross income of the parent who pays for it. Guidelines modify the total so that both parents pay about the same amount. The cap for child care and health care costs is 15% of the child support order.

  1. Health care coverage

As with child care, the child support worksheet deducts health care costs from the parent’s gross income before figuring the amount of child support. The calculations estimate an adjustment, so parents pay medical coverage and out-of-pocket expenses in proportion to their income.

The court considers if the amount of health care costs may be a burden to the parent paying the expense. In determining hardship, the court may factor in the possibility that health care coverage may prevent the paying parent from satisfying the child support order’s amount.

The state of Massachusetts always considers the child’s best interests when determining custody and support. In determining child support, the court may include additional child-related expenses such as extracurricular activities on a case-by-case basis.