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Attorney Gregory P. Lee

  • Child support is to assure that children are given a stable and healthy home environment.

  • Unless the custodial parent is clearly misusing support money, the court requires no accounting.  If rent, groceries and other necessities are paid for, the purpose has been served.

  • Failing to pay court-ordered child support  can have serious consequences, including incarceration for civil contempt  and criminal non-support.
Child support flows from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.  It is intended to help the custodial parent pay for shelter, clothes, food, heat, electricity, and other necessities. Massachusetts has long employed  the “Child Support Guidelines” to determine how much support should be paid.  Judges rarely deviate from the Guidelines.

On occasion, a child has unusual needs, or a parent has unusual resources.  The Guidelines may not apply in such cases.

The Guidelines assume that both parents will work when able, apart from those who have very young children residing with them.  Even custodial parents are obligated to support themselves, and to help support the children. 

Most child support is collected through the Department of Revenue/Child Support Enforcement Division.  This complies with Federal mandates, and also helps the non-custodial parent avoid a mistake.

The Probate and Family Court takes a failure to pay child support very seriously.  In Contempt actions, the court will set arrears and repayment schedules, and order the delinquent spouse to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs for the custodial parent.  Parents without employment can be ordered to seek work through supervised programs.  Delinquent parents can be jailed when they obstinately refuse to meet their obligations.

The Department of Revenue also assists in the collection of delinquent child support.

Failure to provide court-ordered child support is also a crime which can be prosecuted through the criminal court system.  This is a separate route to fines, criminal probation, and incarceration.



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