The Updated Child Support Guidelines

In Massachusetts, our Child Support Guidelines have been updated and will go into effect on September 15, 2017. Here are some of the top changes:

Minimum Child Support Amount: The 2017 Guidelines increase the minimum weekly child support payment from $18.46/week to $25/week.

Parenting Time: Previously, there were three ways to calculate child support, depending on whether parent had the child 1) less than a third of the time, 2) more than a third but less than half the time, or 3) half the time. The 2017 Guidelines remove the second category.

Childcare Costs: The 2017 Guidelines make an adjustment such that parents share the cost of reasonable childcare proportionately. Additionally, the combined adjustment for childcare and health care costs is capped at 15% of the child support order.

Children Ages 18-23: The prior Guidelines provided that the formula was not presumptive for children between 18-23, and the 2017 Guidelines go a step further by clarifying how the child support for those ages should be calculated.

College Costs: Unless the parties agree otherwise or the Court enters written findings that a parent has the capacity to pay more, the Court shall not order a party to pay an amount in excess of 50% of the undergraduate, in-state resident costs of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Deviations: The 2017 Guidelines suggest that deviations may be more generally tolerated than before. Previously, some courtrooms were less inclined to accept a deviation from the child support worksheet, but the updated wording provides more room for accepting deviations.

Overtime and Secondary Jobs: The 2017 Guidelines continue to suggest that overtime and secondary job income should be presumptively excluded from the calculation of gross income, and this presumption applies for both the payor and the recipient. The Guidelines now state: “The Court may consider none, some, or all overtime income even if overtime was earned prior to the entry of the order.”