New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines will go into effect on October 4, 2021, based on a review by the 2020-2021 Child Support Guidelines Task Force. There have been quite a few significant changes regarding the calculation of support you may need to be aware of. Some of the major changes are as follows:
If a parent receives social security retirement or SSDI benefits and their children receive a dependency benefit derived from that parent’s benefit, the amount of the dependency benefit will be added to that parent’s gross income. However, there are variants based on whether the parent is the child support payor or recipient, whether the parents share or split parenting time and the amount of the dependency benefit. The new guidelines worksheet recognizes these situations and makes the appropriate adjustment.
Increased Maximum Income Level
The combined maximum income level is now raised to $400,000, up from the previous $250,000 combined available income. If the income exceeds $400,000, it is recommended the court consider the award of support using $400,000 as the minimum. The child support obligation for any portion of combined available income over $400,000 is at the discretion of the Court.
Parents to Share Child Care Costs
Parents will now share the actual cost of child care in proportion to their income up to $355 per child, per week. This changes from the 15% maximum credit parents were previously allowed to deduct from his/her gross income.
Adjustments For More Than One Child
For families with more than one child, the support is now increased to 40% for the second child, 20% for the third child, 10% for the fourth child and 5% for the fifth child. Previously these increments were 25%, 10%, 5% and 2% for the second, third, fourth and fifth child.
Note that existing child support orders are not automatically changed to be in compliance with the new guidelines unless the parties specifically agreed within the terms of an agreement to automatically recalculate child support.
If you are currently involved in an action involving child support, before coming to an agreement, child support should be calculated using these new guidelines to determine any impact there may be.
To review the full Massachusetts 2021 Child Support Guidelines, click HERE.