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The rules regarding child support in Massachusetts

Parents are obligated to financially support their children whether the child was born in or out of marriage or whether the parents are separated or divorced. Either of the parents can request child support. The request can also be made by the child's guardian. Usually, the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support, but when the child lives with a guardian, both parents might be ordered to pay. In Massachusetts, the support obligation will continue until the child turns 18 in most cases.

One way for parents to receive child support is to come to an agreement during the divorce process, which the court will in most cases approve and turn into a court order. Another way is for the person seeking support to complete an Application for Full Child Support Services and file it with the local Department of Revenue office. This office can then assist the person seeking support with locating the non-custodial parent, establishing paternity and collecting and enforcing child support orders.

Formulas for calculating child support vary from state to state, but in Massachusetts, the judge will consider each parent's income, even if the parents are not employed, as well as the costs of child care, health insurance, and any Social Security benefits a child is receiving. Once the support order is in place, recipients can choose between having payments directly deposited into their bank account or receiving the payments via a child support card account.

There can be situations where a parent who has been ordered to pay support becomes unable to do so because of an adverse financial change, such as a job loss. In such an event, a family law attorney might assist in seeking a modification from the court.

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