On February 15, 2002, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts put into effect a revised version of the Child Support Guidelines. The net result of the revision is lower support orders.
At first glance, the changes seem to produce the reverse effect:
The guideline ceiling was raised from $75,000 to $100,000.
Guidelines apply to families with combined gross incomes of $135,000, an increase from the previous $100,000.
Exclusion for the custodial parent has increased from $15,000 to $20,000.
Lower awards can be attributed to two major changes:
First , there is no longer a 10% age increase when the older child is 7 years and another of 5% at 13. Now there is only one increase at age 13 in the amount of 10%.
Secondly, the formula is no longer based on pure percentages. The revision combines a dollar amount, applicable in every income range, and a percentage. The combined effect is an across-the-board reduction in applicable percentages. Consider these comparisons:
Prior to 2/15/02
One child was 27%
Two children were 30%
Three children were 33%
As of 2/15/02
Range for those earning $750/week or more is 22.3% to 23.9%
Range is 26.5% to 28.7%
Range is 29.6% to 31.7%
The new guidelines will not affect families who have existing court orders based on prior guidelines.
If you would like to make an appointment at CMDR to discuss your new obligations under the revised Child Support Guidelines, please call 781-239-1600.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Child Support Guidelines
Effective February 15, 2002