The amount of child support a parent must pay is determined by the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Very simply, the guidelines are a formula which calculates child support obligations based on a party’s income, and takes into account whether a party pays healthcare and child care costs, or has other support obligations. In very limited circumstances, the court may deviate from the Child Support Guidelines, allowing one party to pay more or less than the guidelines suggest. The new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines took effect on August 1, 2013. Some noted changes are, lowering the amount of money paid in support for one child and increasing the amount for more than one child, and excluding certain government benefit programs such as Social Security Income and SNAP (welfare) benefits, as part of a party’s income.