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Why child support guidelines are used in Massachusetts

Child support guidelines may make you feel uncomfortable during a divorce or child custody case, but they are there for good reason. While you may think some guidelines are too lenient or not lenient enough, these guidelines are there to protect your child from excessive stress and anxiety along with making sure the primary custodian has the money needed to support the child in question.

The main priority of these guidelines is to minimize the economic impact of a divorce or separation on the child's standard of living. Essentially, with the benefit of the funds, the mother or father, guardian or other party should be able to afford to care for the child to a similar standard as previously. Next, child support guidelines aim to promote joint parental responsibility when possible, at least when it comes to income.

These guidelines also protect parents who may be at a lower income level. The lower-income parent may obtain sole or primary custody, and in that case, the money offsets the needs of the child and additional funds needed for the home, food and other necessary items. This support is often required whether or not the parent is receiving public assistance.

Another goal of child support in Massachusetts is to make parents recognize and bear any additional costs associated with having two households and having a child that must go between these households. The court rules to make sure the child can live comfortably in both locations in many cases, especially since a divorce or separation is not the choice of the child.

These are just a few of the goals of the child support system in Massachusetts. If you feel the guidelines haven't been followed in your case or you want to challenge your support, speaking with someone involved in family law can help.

Source: Mass.Gov, "Child Support Guidelines" accessed Jan. 22, 2015

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