Westborough Child Support Lawyer
Your children mean the world to you, and divorce has forever impacted the way your family works. We get that. Everything is changing, and that can bring up a lot of concerns – What happens with a visitation schedule? Where is everyone going to live? What is the amount of child support going to be?
Finances are always a tough topic during a divorce or custody case. The person getting the child support always wants more, and the person paying the child support always wants to pay less. In Westborough and in other cities within Massachusetts, child support is calculated pursuant to the Massachusetts’ Child Support Guidelines – this is a calculation that takes both parent’s gross incomes and a number of allowed deductions into consideration to come up with a presumptive child support amount. It’s important to figure out how much child support you may be getting or have to pay as quickly as possible so you can start budgeting for your new path in life.
In Westborough, a child support lawyer can help you figure out how much child support you may be entitled to receive or liable to pay. This is usually done during either the divorce or custody litigation process, but the amount can be modified at a later date even after the initial judgment enters. With over 25 years of cumulative experience exclusively handling family law matters, our dedicated legal team at O’Connor Family Law can help you plan for and protect your children’s future.
The Legal Basis for Child Support Payments
The Worcester County Family Court will utilize the Massachusetts’ Child Support Guidelines to determine an appropriate child support order. Sometimes, calculating child support is very easy and clear. Other times, there may be reasons why the child support order should be higher or lower than what the Guidelines presume. It is really important to make sure you have an experienced child support attorney so that if there are any issues that could raise or lower your child support, you know what they are. It’s even more important when you’re dealing with one party who is self-employed because the Court understands it can be easy for someone who is paying themselves to manipulate their income.
Whenever two parents are married or living under the same roof, the Court generally assumes that both parents are financially contributing to the welfare of the child and paying child-related expenses. However, if the parents separate, child support can be ordered so that a child is not left without the financial support of both parents. M.G.L. §208(28) is the statute that grants the Court the authority to order child support. The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines is the roadmap for how the child support will be calculated. All of this can be confusing and overwhelming, so it’s important to have the help of a Westborough attorney in your corner.
What Happens if My Ex-Partner Doesn’t Pay Their Child Support?
Once a child support order is entered, if the parent who is supposed to be paying the child support falls behind or stops paying totally, they could potentially face some pretty serious penalties – including going to jail. If using DOR to effectuate the payments, DOR can garnish their wages, make them lose their license, assess interest and penalties, or even levy bank accounts. We know that there are many expenses that child support covers, such as food, housing, and clothing. When raising a child in Westborough, a child support attorney can file a complaint for contempt to the court if your ex-partner is not paying what they are supposed to. If found in contempt, the parent refusing to pay his or her child support could also have to pay your legal fees.
Child support orders usually remain in effect until the child reaches what the Court calls “emancipation.” Many people assume that child support ends when a child becomes an adult at 18, but that is not the case in Massachusetts! If a child resides with and is principally dependent upon their parents for support, child support can be ordered up until your son or daughter turns 21. After 21, child support can only be ordered if your son or daughter is residing with and principally dependent upon their parents AND still in college. Although it can be ordered, the Massachusetts’ Child Support Guidelines allows for a reduction in the amount of support to be paid for a child over the age of 18. If your child has turned 18, moved out of either your or your ex’s home, is not in school after the age of 21, or is self-supportive, you should talk to a child support attorney and find out whether the child support in your case could be lowered or terminated.
A Westborough Child Support Attorney Can Protect Your Child’s Future
When you no longer share the same home with your partner, it can be a real problem making ends meet while paying what you need to give your child the type of future they deserve. Giving the best to your kids shouldn’t mean you give everything without help. Having an enforceable child support order handed down by a judge could assure you that your child will have the best chance possible.
You are dedicated to raising your children, and at O’Connor Family Law, we are just as dedicated to getting you the support you need to do that. Raising a child as a single parent is difficult, but a child support lawyer can be your ally as you stand up for your family in court. Come into our Westborough office today to learn how we can help with your child’s tomorrow.