Child support can be difficult to calculate and even more difficult to enforce. If you are owed child support or if you owe child support it is important to find out what the law requires. Massachusetts residents can reach out to the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSE) of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) for assistance.
Who Needs to Pay Child Support?
The parent that does not have primary custody of the child has to pay child support to the other parent. If the non-primary parent does have more than general visitation where they share responsibility with the other parent more than one-third but less than 50%, then that is taken into consideration when calculating the amount of child support.
How Can I Apply for Child Support?
If you are not married to the other parent, you will need to apply online on the DOR website or through the mail. Otherwise, if you are going through a divorce, you can just fill out the forms along with your divorce complaint and submit them to court for child support. Either way, you will need to fill out financial forms for yourself and make sure they are completely honest and accurate. The other parent will have to be served with the child support papers, and they will also need to submit their financial information.
What If I Refuse to Pay Child Support?
Not paying child support can cause the court to take the money directly from your paycheck. The court might also hold you in contempt, which could lead to you being arrested. Other consequences that you may face for not paying are having your bank account drawn on, having a lien placed on your property, seizure of your tax refund, suspension of your license, a negative report to credit bureaus.
Can Visitation Be Withheld If I Do Not Pay?
Child support and visitation are not tied together. So, even if you are behind on child support, the other parent cannot stop you from visitation with your child. If the other parent does interfere with your visits, you can go to court to have them enforced.
How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
If you want to put an end to child support, you have to do it legally through the court. Trying to handle this outside of court can cause serious problems for you. To stop child support payments you have to go back to court to modify the order.
You can ask the CSE to submit modification papers to the court on your behalf. Otherwise, you can file with the court yourself with either a complaint to modify the amount or a joint petition with the other parent to replace the current order with a new child support agreement.
Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?
Legal representation is essential whenever you are facing something as difficult as establishing or modifying child support. If you are dealing with a child support matter, you need to consult with a Massachusetts child support lawyer immediately.