Your child’s financial needs can help be met by child support

When parents separate and end their marriages in divorce, children can often be caught in the middle of their parents’ battles. Since their security is paramount in family law cases, judges in Massachusetts evaluate the best interests of the child when they make divorce-related child custody and child support mandates. To ensure that children’s physical and financial needs are met even after the kids’ parents end their relationships, judges carefully assess what sums of money would provide children with enough support on which to live.

Since most parents generally want to do what is best for their kids, complying with support-related orders is generally not a struggle. However, from time to time parents find themselves unable to make full payments of child support for their children. Despite their understanding that child support is an obligation to their children and a legal mandate from their family law courts, some parents cannot keep up with their support orders when lost jobs and financial hardships get in their way.

The Walters Law Offices work with clients who are facing sanctions for their failure to pay child support. In many cases parents who are unable to meet their support obligations are able to modify their child support orders to lower payment amounts. Lowering a monthly child support payment may make all of the difference to a parent who wants to help his children but who is financially unable to meet the demands of his support order.

If you are struggling to keep up with your child support payments, please consider contacting the Walters Law Offices. Our legal team practices family law, including the pursuit of lowering child support orders. Though modification is not available in all child support cases it is a possibility in the courts of Massachusetts and can benefit parents who want to do what is best for their kids.

What if my ex and I disagree about child support?

Massachusetts parents may not always agree about what their shared children really need. One parent may believe that as long as a child has food in his stomach and a roof over his head that his needs are effectively met. The other parent may believe that extravagances are necessary for the child to lead a happy, functional life. From a legal standpoint, what a child legally needs from a child support perspective usually falls somewhere in between these two extremes.

A noncustodial parent’s child support obligation may require a sum sufficient to cover a variety of expenses. Child support may be used to pay for school fees, books and costs associated with participation in extracurricular activities. It may extend to doctors’ bills, hospitalization costs and other fees linked to the care of the child. Child support can also be used for the child’s entertainment and engagement in leisure activities.

When two parents strongly disagree about what child support should and should not be used for, a family court may intervene and help the parties find a resolution to their differences. Family courts work to protect the best interests of the kids who pass through their doors and can settle disagreements between former spouses who cannot manage matters about their kids. While child support does take into account the financial needs and limits of the paying parent, it is utilized to see to it that kids have what they need to thrive.

This blog post only covers a fraction of the discussion one could engage in on the topic of financial matters related to raising child. To handle specific child support questions that readers might have, consultation with family law attorneys can be a good first step. Lawyers who work in the family law field can provide guidance on child support and other topics of interest to their clients.

Must I pay child support if I don’t agree with a planned expense?

Illness and injury are two of the main reasons that Massachusetts parents take their kids to see doctors. When their children are under the weather, parents often look to medical professionals to provide reassurance, care and suggested methods of improving the children’s health. When children are given serious diagnoses, their parents may be asked to take them to different facilities for further evaluation or for the treatment of significant health conditions.

While married parents may be on the same page when it comes to the medical care of their children, divorced parents may not have the same harmonious experience. One parent may support the medical treatment of a child by doctors and other health care professionals while the other may resist such practices and seek other methods for improving the child’s health. One parent may believe that costly medical procedures are important to a child’s care while the other may deem the expenses as unneeded.

When a parent does not agree with a planned expense for his or her child, the parent may believe it is permissible for them to not provide child support for that cost. However, a parent must first look at the child support order or agreement to see if it is required to pay under such circumstances. Child support payments are for the benefit of the kids, and the preferences of the parents generally do not factor into what constitutes the best interests of the children.

These types of situations also highlight the sometimes murky intersection between child support obligations and child custody arrangements. A parent who pays child support and does not have legal custody of his or her child may not have much standing to oppose a planned child-related expense decided on by the other parent. However, a parent with legal custody over the kids and also pays support for them may have more rights to prevent a child from being subjected to a medical procedure they do not agree with.

In the end, a parent should look at the operating child support document that controls the financial responsibility for the kids. Attorneys who work in the family law field can help individuals review such documents and determine their levels of responsibility. How a family’s child support and child custody plans are set up can have bearing on whether a parent is financially responsible for a cost he or she does not believe to be necessary for the child.

A child’s needs are paramount when it comes to child support

For many Natick kids, getting through each day is an adventure of new experiences, appropriate challenges and opportunities for fun. They have chances to play with their friends and to bond with their parents and siblings. Though some children are burdened with stresses through their familial and educational settings, most live the relatively carefree lives that children are meant to live.

Some children, however, struggle with challenges that far exceed the normal problems American children generally face. Children afflicted with significant health and medical problems must endure the physical and mental pain of coping with their ailments in addition to the regular issues children of their age must overcome. When children afflicted with serious medical conditions split their time between two different homes, the maintenance of their medical care can become a struggle for their custodial parents.

Health care in American is expensive, and Natick parents dealing with the medical expenses of their ailing children may find that the child support payments they are receiving are insufficient to cover the bills their children’s doctors send. When a child is afflicted by a serious medical condition that imposes emotional and financial strain on his custodial parent’s life, that child may have the right to additional support from his noncustodial parent.

Massachusetts courts look at the best interests of the child in child support cases to determine if the commonwealth’s child support guidelines meet the child’s needs. When a child’s needs change due to medical treatments and doctors’ visits, more support may be warranted to provide him with the care needed to address his ailments. The Walters Law Offices can offer guidance to individuals facing this overwhelming burden. Changing child support orders is possible, and in the case of an ailing child, doing so can serve the child’s best interests.

Can a non-biological parent be required to pay child support?

Last week, this Massachusetts family law blog discussed the circumstances under which a grandparent may secure visitation or custody of his or her grandchild. In many cases, after a divorce the parents of a child share custody of that young person based on a court-approved schedule. In such arrangements, one parent is deemed the custodial parent for physical custody purposes and the other is deemed the non-custodial parent who generally has visitation rights.

Generally, a non-custodial parent is required to pay child support for the financial needs of raising a child. This is because the custodial parent expends many resources, including time, money, and energy, into the direct care of the child. Child support from the non-custodial parent can be used to balance the expenditure of resources provided by each parent.

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Court System website, a non-custodial parent can be required to pay child support. Generally, that parent must be proven to be the actual parent of the child; in some cases where paternity is not established, the first step in getting child support is determining that an individual has a parental relationship with a child. If paternity is proven, initiating a child support request can be somewhat more straightforward.

Adoption and other procedures can create paternal relationships between adults and non-biological children. For this reason, the realm of who pays child support for a youth can become somewhat murky. While paternity is often an important factor in establishing who should pay for the costs of a child, it may not be sufficient for the particular details of every unique family situation. Individuals who need further assistance with complex child support matters may utilize the services of family law attorneys to better serve the best interests of the child.

Source: Massachusetts Court System, “How can I get child support for my child?” accessed April 6, 2015

Our practice can help with your divorce and child support needs

Not every divorce is acrimonious. In fact, many Massachusetts divorces unfold without drama, leaving former partners as respectful acquaintances or involved supporters of their shared children and friends. When couples are able to put their hostilities aside, the potential negative impact that a divorce can have on a couple and those close to it may be mitigated to a manageable amount.

However, there are still some divorce and other family law scenarios that leave individuals battling over particular issues or, in some instances, every possible aspect of their legal dispute. Conflict may not be completely avoidable in all family law cases and, when some parties to a divorce begin to fight, it can be next to impossible to return negotiations to a respectful demeanor. In such cases, the families and friends of the battling parties may feel the stresses of divorce in a more acute way. Many times, an experienced lawyer can help settle these matters in a way that is fair.

Aside from the actual litigants, children may feel the negative effects of divorce more than anyone else. Children can become caught up in the drama between their divorcing parents. Some unscrupulous individuals may even attempt to use their children as bargaining tools in a divorce settlement or other family law agreement.

Even once a divorce is finalized some people have trouble accepting the terms of their divorces and may actively choose to ignore court-mandated orders. The failure to pay child support or the intentional submission of delinquent payments for child support may be ways that disgruntled parents try to take their frustrations out on their former spouses. What these individuals fail to realize is that the ultimate victims of their inappropriate actions are their kids.

Whether you are at the beginning of the divorce process or have already obtained a divorce decree from a Massachusetts court, experienced family law attorneys may be able to help you with your legal issues. Legal teams like those at the Walters Law Office can provide services that promote respectful dialogue between parties during divorce as well as zealous advocacy for clients who require assistance having their child support, alimony and other family law court orders enforced. If you are struggling with a family law issue, please do not hesitate to visit our website on child support and other divorce-related issues

Massachusetts child support guidelines can be overwritten

During their divorce, the parents of a Massachusetts child may decide to settle child support matters related to that young person’s care. Courts generally look to the Commonwealth’s child support guidelines and base their determinations on the factors included therein. However, in some cases, Massachusetts courts can go against the child support guidelines and make their own independent child support determinations, when those determinations serve the children’s best interests.

Under the general laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is a rebuttable presumption that, when applied correctly, the child support guidelines provide the right amount of support for a child. A parent may overcome this rebuttable presumption. Nonetheless, by showing that the support established by the guidelines is either too high or too low for the needs of the child. In those cases, a court must provide several pieces of information to make its own support decision.

First, the court must provide the amount of support that the guidelines would give to the child in question. Second, the court would have to assert that the guidelines are insufficient to address the circumstances of the particular case. Third, the court would have to offer the case-specific information that would justify overriding the guidelines’ determinations. Fourth, the court would have to show that going against the guidelines served the best interests of the child subject to the support determination.

If a court can establish these four factors, it can make its own support decision about how much financial support a child should receive. The child support guidelines are not always accommodating to the financial needs of every child or the many special circumstances that can arise when parents split while raising a child. Individuals who would like to learn more about child support and the Massachusetts support guidelines can work with family law attorneys who practice in their communities.

Halle Berry’s child support and custody dispute gets specific

How an individual chooses to convey their personal appearance can say a lot about how they want to be viewed by others. People throughout Massachusetts select different styles for their hair, clothing and other visual features in order to best convey the images they want to express. Children often have definite ideas about how they want to look, though often, their desires are tempered by what their parents will allow.

A famous actress and her former partner have recently gotten into a messy dispute over what each can and cannot do to their daughter’s appearance. Halle Berry and her former partner, Gabriel Aubry, recently had representatives in court determining whether Aubry could have their 6-year-old daughter’s hair chemically straightened and lightened. Although a judge determined that neither Berry nor Aubry can change the girl’s hair, the issue does raise interesting questions about what parents may and may not do without the other’s consent.

Berry pays Aubry child support in order to care for their daughter when the child is in Aubry’s custody. According to this judge’s ruling, however, it seems that Aubry does not have full leeway regarding how he can use that money for the child’s care. Some decisions about raising a child must be made collectively between the child’s parents.

While in many cases parents must come together to make important decisions about topics such as a child’s schooling, medical care and religion, this case demonstrates that courts can require parents to work together on matters of apparently less significance. The form of custody that a parent exercises over a child, as well as whether they pay any child support for that child’s care, can factor into how collaborative parents have to be about child-focused decisions. Individuals who have questions about child support or decision-making regarding their kids can work with family law attorneys to address their specific legal needs.

Source: New Pittsburgh Courier, “Judge Orders Halle Berry’s Ex To Stop Straightening, Lightening Daughter’s Hair,” Ruth Manuel-Logan, Nov. 28, 2014

Modification of child support payments sought by actress

There was a time when child support payments were almost exclusively paid by fathers to mothers. As societal norms have changed so too have child support arrangements and mothers sometimes make child support payments to the fathers of their children. This is illustrated by the payments actress Halle Berry currently makes to the father of her 6-year-old daughter. The couple shares joint custody of the girl.

Currently Berry pays her ex $16,000 each month, for a total of $192,000 each year. If the actress has her way however, that amount will be greatly reduced. She is seeking to reduce the payments to approximately $3,000 a month, or roughly $36,000 a year. Accordingly she filed legal documents with the court.

In support of her request Berry alleges that despite being capable of getting a job, he is choosing not to. Instead, she alleges he is living off the child support payments.

In the state of Massachusetts child support payments are determined utilizing mandatory guidelines. Among other things those guidelines take into account the number of children and each parent’s income. In addition, the time a child spends with each parent is relevant. While this case is taking place in another state, those considerations may also be used there.

Regardless of where one lives it is important for parents of children who have a child support order that dictates who gets what, to understand that under certain circumstances an order may be modified. Generally there need to be a major change in the life of one of the parents. As is the case in all other family law matters, child support modifications can be complicated. Accordingly, it is usually a good idea to work with a family law lawyer to try to secure the best possible outcome.

How this matter will be resolved remains to be seen.

Source: BET, “Halle Berry Wants Child Support Slashed,” Moriba Cummings, Oct. 16, 2014

Make sure your child support settlement is fair

There is no question that where family law matters are concerned, those pertaining to children are some of the most stressful. Determining the amount of child support a parent will pay the other is not an exception. While most parents want to be there for their children in any way they can, financial matters are difficult for many to work through. If you are waiting to find out how much you will have to pay, you want to make sure that you are not overpaying. Conversely, if you are a custodial parent, you want to make sure that you are getting a fair share of the other parent’s income to help cover expenses tied to the children.

The amount of child support that will be ordered is not arbitrary. In the state of Massachusetts there are guidelines that must be followed. Among other things, the guidelines take into account the:

  • Number of children involved.
  • Income of each parent.
  • Custody and parenting plan already in place.

In some situations other factors will be considered as well such as college expenses, the cost of extracurricular activities and health care costs that due to medical conditions the child has can be high.

Determining what all should be included in an assessment of assets can be a long and difficult process. This is particularly true when one of the spouses is attempting to hide certain assets to keep them from being included in the calculations.

If you are on either side of the child support equation it is likely a lawyer who handles family law matters could be of assistance. To learn more about child support please see of Web site’s page regarding the matter.

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