Family bar on board with new child support guidelines
Changes address combined income amount, treatment of alimony
Family law attorneys say the revised child support guidelines that went into effect at the beginning of October provide needed clarity and consistency in the determination of parental payment obligations.
Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey unveiled the new guidelines in early August. The revisions address a wide range of issues, highlighted by an increase from $250,000 to $400,000 in the maximum combined available income level for the parties in a case, clarification of the treatment of alimony as income in the calculation of support, and clarification of the types of Social Security payments to be considered in the calculation.
Lynette Paczkowski of Worcester said the revisions reflect the economic realities of living and raising children in Massachusetts.
“There was a recognition that Massachusetts is a fairly expense place to live,” Paczkowski said. “Regardless of whether or not the average income in Massachusetts is higher than elsewhere, not every household meets that average, but every household is subject to the cost of living here.”
Jonathan E. Fields, a Wellesley attorney who served on the task force that recommended revisions to the child support guidelines that went into effect in 2017, also lauded the new changes.
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