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Can child support be changed in Massachusetts?

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Kristen A. Menard - Family Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Kristen A. Menard

Located in Barnstable, MAMenard Lawyers, LLC

Phone: 508-318-5250
Fax: 508-744-7212

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In short, yes, child support can be modified and reviewed in Massachusetts. However, the standard for that modification is a “material change in circumstances.”

What typically constitutes a “material change”

Valid child support modifications include, but are not limited to,

  • A parent changes jobs, loses their job, or obtains a new one
  • A change in residence for a parent
  • A change to a parenting plan
  • A change in custody or parenting plan for a child or children
  • A change in a child’s life (i.e., if they become involved in extracurricular activities or private school)

 Essentially anything that alters either party’s financial situation can give rise to a modification of child support.

Some other aspects to keep in mind

Now, some parents may use the “change of income” excuse to quit their job, trying to get a lower support amount. However, that often doesn’t work, and a court’s present mandate can remain intact.

Secondly, though the notion of child support obligations subtracted from gross income may seem reasonable, different kinds of employment or income can change the respective financial considerations. Self-employed people, for example, have the ability to write off expenses resulting in reduced income for IRS purposes. However, many of these expenses are not deductible for child support purposes, and would need to be ‘added back’ to the income to be able to determine the appropriate level of child support. Having an experienced legal advocate who can read a profit and loss document and examine a tax return properly can provide a more educated outlook and outcome for child support payments.

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