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Massachusetts child support

The Massachusetts legislation treats child support orders with utmost importance. If a noncustodial parent fails to make his or her payments, he or she is violating a legal order of the court.

The day a child support payment is due, it becomes a judgment under the law against the person who owes it if they fail to pay. Like other types of judgments, collection actions can be taken in order to collect it.

Child support orders may be modified in some circumstances, but the person seeking the modification must first file a motion with the court in order to request the change. In considering a proposed modification, the court uses the state's child support guidelines as a rebuttable presumption. If the requested change is one that would fall outside of the guidelines, the movant must overcome the presumption. If the court then finds that a change is in the best interests of the child, the judge will make written findings about why the change was approved.

It is important for parents who are subject to a child support order to make their monthly payments on a consistent basis. If a parent's financial situation changes dramatically, he or she should continue making the payments and file a motion to modify with the court. If a custodial parent learns that the other parent's circumstances have much improved, he or she can likewise file a modification requesting an increase in ordered support. Finally, if a noncustodial parent fails to make child support payments, he or she can file a motion for contempt. An attorney may be able to help with any of these scenarios.

Source: The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Section 13 Support payments or installments; judgment by operation of law; retroactive modification; application", October 21, 2014

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