This article was last updated: Nov. 1st, 2022
Massachusetts child support is calculated using the state Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Sometimes child support can deviate from the amount calculated using this worksheet. Agreeing on a child support deviation isn’t enough to make it legally enforceable. The guidelines calculate a support amount that is meant to be reasonable for the paying parent and sufficient enough for the receiving parent to provide for their child’s basic needs. Every child’s needs are different, though, and sometimes a parent’s ability to pay or financial need isn’t fully reflected in the narrow guidelines. A Probate and Family Court judge can order a child support deviation under certain circumstances to better suit the individual needs of the family and child. Deviations aren’t common, however, and the judge may order one at his or her discretion.
You must demonstrate that a deviation is in the best interest of your child if you are asking the court to allow a deviation from your child support amount. Common reasons for a child support deviation include extraordinary medical expenses for the child or parent, extraordinary costs for transportation to and from parenting time, a child with special needs, a significant disparity between the parent’s two standards of living, or when the paying parent is incarcerated. The deviation must be of benefit to your child for a judge to approve it, even if you both agree on the deviated amount. A deviation can be higher or lower than the standard calculated amount.
Your child support deviation isn’t legally enforceable until approved by a judge. You won’t be able to take legal action against the person paying support if they don’t pay the amount you agreed on. You can take legal action, however, if they don’t pay the amount the Court ordered. Speak with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator if you have questions about obtaining a deviation from your child support calculation. A mediator can help you and your spouse create an agreement on the deviation. A mediator can also advise you on what documents you will need to submit to the court to have your deviation considered by a judge.
Do you have questions about addressing child support in mediation? If so, Mediation Advantage Services can help you. Experienced in complex divorce mediation, Law Office of Polly Tatum can help you and your spouse negotiate an agreement on child support. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (774) 366-3688, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.