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Massachusetts Child Custody & Massachusetts Child Support

As in family courts around the nation, Massachusetts courts strongly urge parents to cooperatively work out a resolution to raising children that is in the children’s best interests. If parents are unable to agree, the court will get involved and decide issues of custody, visitation, and support with the best interests of the children in mind. The following are the laws governing child custody and support in the state of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Child Custody:
Massachusetts courts will prioritize lessening the emotional impact on children of the divorce above all else. If the parents cannot agree on a plan for custody, the courts will decide what is best for the children and will give importance to such factors as a history of violence or abusive conduct of either parent, as well as the willingness of each parent to encourage the maintenance of a relationship between the children and the other parent.
Massachusetts Child Support:
An official set of child support guidelines usually determines the amount, frequency, and types of child support. Child support is based on a set of formulas tied to adjusted gross income, and on a case-by-case basis, the court can include add-ons beyond the base requirements of the guidelines. In general, each parent’s income is considered in relative proportion, and the support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain correct proportion and provide for the needs of the child.
These guidelines are not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties’ financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a different standard from the guidelines will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child(ren).

A Massachusetts divorce lawyer can help you sort through your rights and responsibilities when it comes to childrearing after a divorce, and serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement.