The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are the legal guidelines published by the Probate and Family Court Massachusetts Court System every four years which defines income standards, outlines factors considered in setting the amount of child support, and various grounds for a deviation/modification. Our lawyers are highly knowledgeable of the guidelines and the impacts it has on support orders.

To receive an initial child support order, we can aid you in filing the correct court action  depending upon the specific facts of your case. There are two separate procedures for if you are or are not married to the other parent.

If you are not married and the other parent has not signed a voluntary form of paternal acknowledgement, then you must first file a complaint to establish paternity in the county where the child resides.  After paternity is adjudicated you can then file a complaint for support. If you signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity such as a birth certificate you can file for child support under M.G.L. c. 209C. Our team is committed to helping you navigate documents, court procedures, and the legal minutia involving a child support order.

If you are married and seeking a divorce, you can file a complaint for divorce and then seek an immediate order of temporary child support via the filing a motion for temporary orders.

If you are owed past due child support payments, then you should consider filing a complaint for contempt in order to recoup those past due amounts. At the contempt hearing, the Court will review the prior Court order or judgment and determine whether the order was clear and unequivocal. In contempt actions regarding child support that is almost always the case. The Court will then determine whether or not there is a willful violation of the order, which will include a review of the parties respective financial statements. The Court can then order the child support payor to pay an additional amount each week towards the child support arrearages, a date certain when the arrearages must be paid in full, or even incarceration. Ryder and Phelps is committed to guiding you in the preparation of the complaint for contempt and Rule 401 financial statements.

We understand that as finances change for both parties, changes may need to be made to best support the child(ren) and yourself. In most cases, for so long as there is an inconsistency between the current child support order and the current child support guideline worksheets calculation you are entitled to a modification of your support order. We are committed to guiding you through the best method of modifying your existing child support order. You may file a complaint for modification on your own or have the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement file a complaint on your behalf if you have previously requested their services. If you

Without a formal court order you have zero enforcement protections such as the filing of a complaint for contempt. An out of court agreement even if signed by the parties and notarized may not be held up in Court. As such, it benefits the child support payee to receive a court ordered child support order.

In Massachusetts child support is calculated in most cases by using the Massachusetts child support guideline worksheet. Albeit there are several grounds for deviation from the guidelines support order there is a rebuttable presumption that this figure is correct. Child support is based upon the number of the children, the age of the children, the parenting plan, and the costs of medical/dental/vision insurance, child care cost, and other child support obligations.

The children are our number one priority here at Ryder and Phelps. We are committed to fighting for your rights. Parenting time is synonymous with physical custody. In its purest form parenting time is the time each parent has with their child(ren). We have vast experience in assisting clients formulate creative parenting plans that meet the child and parents needs.