- Executive Office of the Trial Court
- Probate and Family Court
Media Contact for Trial Court Issues New Child Support Guidelines
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey today announced the promulgation of amended child support guidelines and guidelines worksheet, which take effect on June 15, 2018. These amendments are a result of a Trial Court review conducted after issues were raised regarding the application of the adjustment factors for children 18 years of age or older, and the adjustment for child care, health care coverage, and dental/vision insurance costs when parents share financial responsibility and parenting time approximately equally.
The June 2018 amendments eliminate counterintuitive outcomes in support orders for four or five children, at least one being 18 years of age or older. The age adjustments in the September 2017 Table B were based on applying the 25 percent discount listed in the guidelines in equal proportion to the number of children 18 years of age or older. The age adjustment percentages in the June 2018 Table C are based on applying the 25 percent discount to the oldest children last. That is, the 25 percent discount is applied only to the increases in child support for additional children, rather than to the overall amount of support. Children 18 years of age or older are accounted for last in this calculation to fully preserve the increases in child support for additional younger children. Because of the change in the application of the adjustment, some child support orders will increase if there is at least one child 18 years of age or older.
The redesigned worksheet allows for one worksheet to be used regardless of whether the parenting plan is shared, split, or approximately 2/3 and 1/3. It is no longer necessary to use multiple worksheets to determine the child support amount when there are shared or split parenting plans.
The June 2018 amendments do not address the 2018/2019 changes to the federal tax code with regard to alimony and dependency exemptions. These will be examined by the next task force.
The amended guidelines and the fillable worksheet will be posted on mass.gov on May 22nd. A memo from an economic consultant that explains the adjustment factors in detail will also be posted on May 22nd.
UPDATE: The Child Support Guidelines have been posted and are available online at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/child-support-guidelines.