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How child support is determined in Massachusetts

Child support payments are court-ordered financial support that parents are obligated to provide to assist with the costs of raising a child. According to state law, all children are entitled to this financial support from their parents, even if their parents are divorced or were never married. In Massachusetts, child support obligations usually end when a child reaches 18 years of age, though it may be extended if the child is still in school, disabled and under guardianship or enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program.

While child support can be set up through agreements between parents or ordered by a judge during a divorce, the most common way that child support is set up is through the Department of Revenue. The first step for individuals seeking support is to fill out an Application for Full Child Support Services and to submit it to the local DOR.

Once the DOR has an individual's application, the agency is able to assist the parent seeking support with establishing paternity and child support for a child under the age of 18. If a child support order is already in place, the DOR is able to assist someone in modifying that order or enforcing and collecting on the order.

Enforcement of child support orders is a source of concern for a number of parents since when they are not receiving this financial assistance, single parents may run into problems making ends meet. A family law attorney could assist someone who is not receiving the support payments for which he or she is eligible understand the options for having the child support order enforced.

Source: Findlaw, "Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines", September 01, 2014

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