Enforcing Massachusetts Child Support
Establishing a Child Support Order
Child Support is money paid by one parent to the other parent for support of the children. On January 1, 2009 Massachusetts enacted new child support guidelines. The state listed eight factors why they implemented the guidelines [click here to review the guidelines]. The guidelines determine the amount one parent will pay the other parent. Unless the parties make a joint income of greater than $250,000.00 per year and there are not other deviating factors, then the parties will pay and receive child support based on the guidelines.
Processing Child Support Payments
Once child support is ordered by the court then the payor must pay the payee. It is best to manage the payment of child support by using the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). DOR will keep a ledger of all payments by the payor. Additionally, the court can order that the payor’s employer to pay the child support obligation directly to DOR.
It is also in the best interest of the payor to use DOR to pay child support. DOR keeps track of all payments and a payment history can be viewed on their website. Any dispute about whether or not a payment has been made can be cleared up by looking at the DOR payment history. The payor does not have to deal with proving payment to a child support payee alleging that they never received payment.
If a payor falls behind on child support payments, then the payee can file a Complaint for Contempt. The payee should wait until the payor has missed two payment cycles before filing the Contempt. A party who files the Contempt may request that the court order the other party to pay court costs, missed wages and attorney fees.
A party that is found in Contempt by the court may be put in jail until the party is able to pay a set amount of past due child support as ordered by the court.