If you are going through a divorce or separation, and you have children together, chances are you have thought about child support. This is the amount one parent pays to the other for purposes of meeting the child’s needs. Even though this money is paid to the parent who has primary custody of the children, it is important to understand that child support is a child’s right.
Like in most states, Massachusetts law requires that child support payments are made until the children in question either turn 18 or graduate from high school. And to eliminate any confusion or conflict, the state of Massachusetts has put in place a formula and outlined the factors the courts should use when determining child support amounts. Here are some of these factors.
Each parent’s financial status
In Massachusetts, both parents are responsible for paying child support. That said, the court can never direct a parent to pay more than they cannot afford in child support. Thus, one of the factors the court will look into when ruling on the child support amount is both parents’ incomes and financial status. In addition, the court will also look at both parents “earning potential.” Towards this, the court will look at both parents’ education, employment histories, previous and current incomes as well as their employability.
The child’s needs
Children’s needs change from time to time. A toddler who requires daycare while both parents are at work will definitely require more in child support payments than a school-going teenager. Likewise, a child with special medical needs will require more child support than a healthy child.
The number of children being support
This is pretty straightforward. The more children you have together, the more mouths will need to be fed, and the more you will be required to pay in child support. Simple. Right?
Divorce is never an easy undertaking, especially if you have children. Besides addressing the question of child custody, one of the most important issues you will need to pay attention to is child support payment and how this amount will be determined.