Channel WCN

The Latest in Law

Aug 6, 2021 | Family Law

Important Changes to Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines


On August 2, 2021, the Executive Office to the Trial Court published new Child Support Guidelines. The new Guidelines become effective on October 4, 2021. There are significant changes to the calculation of support as compared to the previous Guidelines published in 2018.

If you are a payor or recipient of child support, we want you to be aware of the following major changes:

1.       Increased Maximum Income Level: Previously, child support orders were presumptively based on the first $250,000 of combined available income of the parents. Under the revised Guidelines, that amount is increased to $400,000 in combined available income. For many of our clients, this change will significantly increase presumptive child support orders.

2.       Larger Incremental Increases for Additional Children: Previously, incremental increases in support for the second, third, fourth and fifth child were 25%, 10%, 5%, and 2%, respectively. Under the revised Guidelines, those increments increase to 40%, 20%, 10% and 5%, for the second, third, fourth and fifth child. Again, these changes will significantly increase presumptive child support orders for our clients with more than one child.

3.       Apportionment of Child Care Costs between Parents:  Under the 2018 Guidelines, the parent paying for child care received, at a maximum, a credit of 15% of the child care cost paid as a deduction from his/her gross income. Under the new Guidelines, parents will share the cost of child care in proportion to their incomes, up to a maximum of $355 per child, per week. For our clients with young children, this change is significant.

These changes are not automatic; one parent will need to file a Complaint for Modification to alter an existing Order. The new Guidelines will apply to any new Order entered after October 4, 2021. As such, these changes are likely to lead to a large volume of Complaints for Modification seeking to apply the new Guidelines to an existing Judgment, and also impact the conversation for families currently in the process of a case involving child support.

Attorney Erin Nielson discusses these changes here:

Channel WCN Posts