Child Support: How Do Courts Decide

Legal Minute with Cooley Shrair

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) –  How does the court determine Child Support? Attorney Dawn McDonald from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield shared more.

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How does the court determine Child Support?
In Massachusetts the Courts use the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines to determine the appropriate amount of child support. The Court presumes that the amount of the order which result from applying the guidelines is the proper amount of support.

Does the Court ever order an amount of support that is different from the guidelines?
Yes. In certain circumstances, the court may deviate from the guidelines if the amount of support ordered would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances. If the court does award a deviation, it must include specific facts of the case that justify a departure from the guidelines. Any departure from the guidelines must be in the best interests of the child.

What if the parties agree on an amount of support without going by the guidelines?
The court may agree to an order that the parties mutually agree on, unless the amount agreed on is not in the best interest of the child. Each case is different and the decisions made are very particular to the facts of each case. If you have any questions about the appropriate amount of support, you should speak to an attorney.

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