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Understanding Massachusetts child support guidelines

Understanding how a child support payment is reached can be a difficult task. For most Massachusetts couples going through divorce or child support proceedings, the amount to be paid can be determined based on the child support guidelines. These guidelines are a system that is used by officials to assist them in reaching a dollar figure that one parent will be obligated to pay. Understanding exactly what factors are considered may be important in ensuring that a fair figure is established.

The guidelines are largely based on the financial circumstances of the parties involved. Often, a judge or magistrate will consider the standard of living a child enjoyed during the marriage, as opposed to what the standard of living they are currently experiencing due the separation of the parents. The earning capabilities of each parent may also be considered. This does not necessarily hinge on what the parents are earning currently, as a judge may find that a parent could be earning more but has elected not to do so.

Debt and financial obligations may also be considered. This may include other child support obligations. In many cases, these factors will be compared with the income level of the parents. This is designed to reach a figure that is determined to be reasonable under the child support guidelines.

Child support can be an important mechanism for Massachusetts parents and children to allow them to move on after a divorce or separation. By understanding the child support guidelines, a parent can effectively advocate their position in the hopes that a fair figure will be reached. By seeking the proper advice, parents may be placing themselves in the best position possible to allow them to prepare for all of their financial obligations after the final order has been issued.

Source: Reuters, "How Child Support Calculations Work," Andrew Lu, Aug. 12, 2012

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