Child Support Attorneys in Salem, Massachusetts
In a marital dissolution involving minor children, the divorcing or separating parents must establish quality child support arrangements with the parenting plan. The child support payments will help cater to the child's basic needs, living expenses, and the cost of raising the child. If you want to establish or modify a child support agreement, it is essential that you consult with a seasoned Massachusetts family law attorney for detailed guidance.
With several decades of experience, our attorneys at Lamb and Lamb, P.C. have the diligence and knowledge to assist and guide clients through the complexities involved in establishing or modifying child support arrangements. We're available to discuss your unique situation and explore your possible legal options. Also, our trusted legal team will help establish a reasonable child support order and determine the best way to protect your family's future.
Lamb and Lamb, P.C. proudly serves clients across Salem, Massachusetts, and the surrounding areas of Lynnfield, Danvers, Salem, Peabody, and Beverly.
What to Know About Child Support in Massachusetts
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, both parents are required to support their children financially. In a contested divorce case, the Massachusetts court may ask the non-custodial parent to make monthly child support payments to the custodial parent.
Essentially, the child support payment may be used to cover the child's daily living expenses and basic needs. The money can be used to pay for the child's food, health insurance, sports, clothing, education, dental care, music or dance lessons, and camp—as appropriate.
Factors Considered in Calculating the Amount
In Massachusetts, child support is calculated using the state’s Child Support Guidelines. The guideline considers the gross weekly income of the non-custodial parent and the number of children that will be supported. In order to determine the right amount of child support, the family court may consider the factors below:
the child's needs and living expenses
the age of the child
the ability of the non-custodial parent to pay child support
the custodial parent's earning capacity
the cost of medical and dental care for the child
the amount of parenting time allocated
the other legal responsibilities of the parents, such as paying child support from a previous relationship, food, and rent
A skilled Massachusetts child support attorney can help calculate the right amount and distribute the monthly payments between both parents accordingly.
When Can a Judge Impute Income?
However, if a parent is voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or has unreported income, the court may impute the parent's income to determine the child support amount. To calculate imputed income, the judge may consider the following:
the parent's occupational qualifications
the parent's level of education
the parent's employment potential with respect to his or her recent work history
the existing job opportunities and earnings levels within the society
Using the above factors, the judge may be able to adjust the parent's income amount upward to reflect what they should be earning while working a full-time job paying minimum wage.
Modifying an Existing Arrangement
However, child support agreements are not set in stone. Either parent may be able to seek child support modifications to reflect the prevailing economic situation and changes in the child's needs. In order to adjust an existing child support order, the requesting parent must prove the following:
There has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the existing agreement was made.
The existing child support amount is inconsistent with the amount from the Child support guidelines.
The existing medical care coverage is not available anymore.
The existing medical care coverage is expensive and may cause undue hardship.
The parent now requires health care coverage.
Some reasons to request a child support modification include:
a substantial change in income
unemployment or involuntary loss of job
changes in parenting time or visitation schedule
getting a much higher-paying job
an increase or decrease in the cost of medical care and childcare
an increase in the child's educational expenses.
a permanent disability
Termination of Child Support
However, the duty of a parent to make child support payments will end when any of the following occurs:
The child stops living with the recipient parent.
The child is no longer financially dependent on the parents.
The child now lives with the paying parent.
The child has become emancipated
The child has been adopted.
Both parents agree to terminate child support payments.
Generally, child support will continue until the child turns 18 years or 21 years in some cases. An experienced lawyer can help file your petition to modify or terminate child support and help you navigate key decisions.
Work With a Practiced Family Law Attorney
Establishing a child support agreement with your child's other parent can be difficult and stressful. If you want to create a child support order or you want to adjust the existing arrangement due to changes in circumstances, consulting with a practiced family law attorney is imperative for proper guidance and to protect your family's best interests.
At Lamb and Lamb, P.C., we are dedicated to offering personalized legal counsel and reliable advocacy to clients in divorce and child custody-related matters. Whether you're trying to establish or modify a child support arrangement, we can guide you through the legal procedures involved and advocate for your child support rights. In addition, our reliable attorneys will work intelligently with both parents to resolve child support disputes peacefully and quickly.
Child Support Attorneys in Salem, Massachusetts
If you need assistance establishing or modifying a child support agreement, contact us at Lamb and Lamb, P.C. today to schedule an initial consultation. Our trusted team can offer you the experienced legal counsel and support you need to navigate critical decisions in your child support matters. We proudly serve clients across Salem, Lynnfield, Danvers, Salem, Peabody, and Beverly, Massachusetts.