How much child support can I expect?

Like all other states, Massachusetts has established child support guidelines. The guidelines take into account your and your spouse’s gross weekly incomes, the number of children, and the cost of health insurance and daycare.

For example, let’s say you’re the mother of two. Your gross (before-tax) weekly income is $800. Your husband’s gross weekly income is $1,500, and he pays $100 through work for health insurance that covers you and your children.

Under the Massachusetts child support guidelines, the weekly amount that he would pay would be $378.

If you pay child support, you may feel that it’s more than you can afford. If you receive it, you may feel that it’s less than you need. You both may be right. But there’s no arguing that the guidelines serve to lend a certain degree of predictability to the divorce process.

There’s one important aspect of any child-support amount that’s often overlooked. The guidelines are “…based upon the child(ren) having a primary residence with one parent and spending approximately one-third of the time with the other parent.”

So if the parenting arrangement with your soon-to-be ex calls for the kids to be with you significantly more than two-thirds of the time, you’re perfectly justified in seeking more than the “guideline amount.”

For more information on the Massachusetts child support guidelines, see http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/guidelines.pdf.

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