- Income from means tested benefits such as SSI, TAFDC, and SNAP are excluded for both parties from the calculation of their support obligations.
- Availability of employment at the attributed income level must be considered in attribution of income cases. (i.e. if you can work as a nuclear scientist, but they just closed Vermont Yankee the closure is a factor to be considered).
- The text makes clear that all, some, or none of income from secondary jobs or overtime may be considered by the court, regardless of whether this is new income or was historically earned prior to dissolution of the relationship. (You do not have to be penalized working more to meet already established child support obligations and your own reasonable living expenses.)
- Reference is made to the 2011 Alimony Reform Act; the text does not, however, provide a specific formula or approach for calculating alimony and child support in cases where both may be appropriate.
- Clarification is given as to how child support should be allocated between the parents where their combined income exceeds $250,000.
- A new formula is provided for calculating support where parenting time and expenditures are less than equal (50/50) but more than the assumed standard split of two thirds/one third. (You can pay less child support if you have a high level of visitation, likewise the court can order more child support for less than on third visitation.)
- Guidance and clarification is given in the area of child support over the age of eighteen where appropriate. While the Guidelines apply, the court may consider a child’s living arrangements and post- secondary education. Contribution to post-secondary education may be ordered after consideration of several factors set forth in the Guidelines and such contribution must be considered in setting the weekly support order, if any.
- The standard for modification is clarified to reflect the recent Supreme Judicial Court decision in Morales v. Morales, 464 Mass. 507 (2013). (Modification to child support does not require a material change in circumstances).
- Circumstances justifying a deviation are expanded to include extraordinary health insurance expenses, child care costs that are disproportionate to income or when a parent is providing less than one-third parenting time.
If you have a case involving custody, support or visitation and want more information on the application of the new child support guidelines, or advice on seeking a modification to an existing order, contact the Law Office of Isaac Mass at 413-774-0123 to schedule a consultation.