Child Support In Massachusetts

The State of Massachusetts and Child Support

When a divorce has occurred in the state of Massachusetts, and there are children involved, the addressing of child support, as well as custody (and sometimes parentage) becomes an integral part of the process. Most families are faced with the very real questions concerning whom the children will reside with, how often, and how much will be paid for support.  The state of Massachusetts addresses all of these issues (and more) in regard to child support.

Shared Parenting Options for Child Support in Massachusetts

In shared parenting, both parents claim the right to parent the child, though the child (or children) will reside with only one a majority of the time. In these cases, the non-custodial parent (child does not live with them full time) is expected to pay child support to the primary care parent. Massachusetts recognizes the right of a child to support from his or her parents, regardless of if they were divorced or ever married. While child support can play many roles in the life of a child and his/her family, the most important role it plays is that it can mean that the child need not be affected by the dissolution of the relationship of his/her parents.

Sole Custody Parenting and Child Support

If the non-custodial parent does not wish contact with their child, that is their right. There are specific statutes and statements that must be made in writing at the time of the separation stating their intention to remain absent from the life of the child, with the exception of the child support payments (which they will pay until the child is 18 and becomes independent).

Custodial Parenting: Things You Should Know about Child Support

If you are the primary caregiver for the child then you need to know a few things about child support. First, you need to know that custody and visitation issues are not handled by the same department that handles child support. The DOR staff are not authorized to give help in this way. The Probate and Family Court do this. Secondly, it is advisable to have the non-custodial parent make a direct deposit to you, rather than having to meet them in person each month. Additionally, this provides an electronic as well as paper trail that can be used as proof of payment (or lack thereof).

Receiving Monthly Child Support

Once the court rules that you are the primary caregiver, the noncustodial parent’s employer is notified for you so that child support will be withheld from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck and sent to the DOR(Dept. of Revenue). DOR will then turn around and send a check or direct deposit it into your account.  If for some reason the noncustodial parent underpays, or refuses to pay, then the DOR charges interest and penalties on the past due balance and will begin enforcement proceedings.

Noncustodial Parenting: Things you Should Know about Child Support

Though you are not the primary caregiver for the child, Massachusetts recognizes your responsibility, financially, to the child. However, there are some things that you should know about your rights as they apply to child support. Keep in mind that the DOR (Dept. of Revenue) does not take sides in these issues and does not represent one parent or the other.  DOR will use enforcement methods if you fail to comply with timely payments as agreed to. This can run the gamut from increasing the amount by 25%, placing a lien on property that you have, seize financial assets (pension, annuities), suspend your license, or hold your tax refunds, insurance claims, or other federally issued monies.

Paying Monthly Child Support

It is a simple matter to make a payment. Go to the Massachusetts Government website:

Register on the website, using the court order number, or the number assigned to you as a result of the divorce decree. After you have set up an account you can make regular payments, or set up occurring payments to be taken out. Most noncustodial parents have the amount come directly out of their paycheck each month.  More information about Child Support Laws can be found on the government website: