Chief Justice Robert A. Mulligan's
Announcement Regarding the
Child Support Guidelines
I am pleased to provide an update on the ongoing Trial Court review of the Child Support Guidelines. The Office of Child Support Enforcement within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires that each state review its Child Support Guidelines at least every four years. The Child Support Guidelines were last issued by this office in February of 2002 and will be reissued this February. As part of this review, this office solicited comments about the Guidelines from a variety of interested parties. In addition, in September of 2005, this office contracted with Dr. Jane Venohr to gather economic information and prepare an analysis of the cost of living data for Massachusetts and more specifically, the cost of raising a child in this state. Dr. Venohr’s final report was recently submitted and is now available at www.mass.gov/courts/reporteconomiccsg0106.pdf
Given the importance of the Guidelines, I have decided that after the Guidelines are promulgated in February 2006, a thorough review process will be established so that the AOTC can conduct a comprehensive review of the assumptions, information, and methodology for determining Guidelines. Any Guidelines which may be promulgated will invariably spawn criticism, but I believe that it is essential that we conduct an in-depth analysis.
I will continue to provide updates about this important issue.