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The legal obligation of parents to contribute to the economic maintenance of their children. In Massachusetts, if a child is a full time student, is dependant on the parents for support and is not emancipated, child support can continue until the child reaches age 23.
Both parents must provide support for their children no
matter if married, divorced, separated, or not ever having been
Child support helps pay for your child's needs and welfare
- Health insurance and medical costs,
- Food and clothing
Child support is determined by the parents financial
statements filed with the court and other material factors ( see
below) . Child support can me modified under material change of
conditions of either party.
Your Conduct With Your Children
Ordinarily parents make decisions about their children
together. But when parents divorce, the hostility between
them sometimes causes them to disagree on what is best for
the children. In addition, divorce presents a whole new set
of child-rearing challenges. Even the best parents may find
it useful to consult a child development expert for help in
meeting these challenges.
Issues related to children can
present challenges for your lawyer as well. While your
lawyer's loyalty is to you, your lawyer also has an
obligation as an officer of the court to keep the best
interest of the children in mind, even if that interest is
inconsistent with yours.
The behavior of parents before and after divorce has a
great influence on the emotional adjustment of their
children. The following guidelines may be helpful:
Put your children's welfare first. Never use your
children as a weapon against your spouse.
Be sure your children have ample time with the other
parent. They need it.
Visitation should usually not take place in the
Don't introduce your children to your new romantic
interest until the children have adjusted to your separation
and your new relationship is stable.
Don't bring your children to court or to your lawyer's
Keep to the schedule. Give the other parent and the
children as much notice as you can when you will not be able
to keep to the schedule. Be considerate.
Be flexible. You may both need to adjust the schedule
from time to time.
Giving of yourself is more important than giving
material things. Feverish rounds of holiday type activities
during every visitation period or lavish gifts may be viewed
as a crude effort to purchase affection, and is not good for
Do not use your children as spies to report to you about
the other parent.
Do not use the children as couriers to deliver messages,
money or information.
Try to agree on decisions about the children, especially
matters of discipline, so that one parent is not undermining
the other parent's efforts.
Avoid arguments or confrontations while dropping off or
picking up the children and at other times when your
children are present.
Don't listen in on your children's phone calls with the
Maintain your composure. Try to keep a sense of humor.
Remember that your children's behavior is affected by your
attitude and conduct.
Assure your children they are not to blame for the
breakup, and are not being rejected or abandoned by either
Don't criticize the other parent in front of your
children. Your children need to respect both parents.
Do not let guilt you may feel about the marriage
breakdown interfere with discipline of your children.
Parents must be ready to say "No" when necessary.
You are only human. You cannot be a perfect parent. When
you make a mistake, acknowledge it and try to do better next
I want to move out of state and take our child with
Will I be able to?
Whether a parent is allowed to move away with a child
depends on the law of your state and the facts of your case.
In some states, to move your child without court permission
is a crime.
2013 Child Support Guidelines
The amount of child support which you will have to pay or be
entitled to receive will vary from state to state, and
sometimes between regions within a state. It will depend on
income, the custody arrangement, and other factors. The
amount of child support is usually determined by guideline
formulas. These formulas have the advantage of making the
amount of support more predictable and the disadvantage of
being too rigid, and therefore inappropriate in some cases.
Summary of State Law