Error in Child Support Guidelines Worksheet Published by the Court
PSA: Double Check Your 2017 Child Support Guidelines By Hand And Using Our App
Massachusetts has just published new child support guidelines calculations and as Gabriel pointed out in his Lawyer’s Weekly interview, they’re, well, a little bit complicated.
Several years ago, we created the Massachusetts Divorce App based on a need to be able to quickly generate child support and alimony calculations. Back in 2013, while testing our app update, we found an error in the self-calculating guidelines published by the Courts. This morning, we found one in the new 2017 self-calculating worksheet.
We could go into the details about what we believe is happening but it would be a lot of hyper-technical detail, so we’ll stick to what matters: if line items 4(d) “Payor’s Net Cost” and 4(e) “Maximum adjustment amount” net to zero, the support amount calculated will be incorrect. Using the below sample numbers as an example, since payor’s net cost is (-)56 and the maximum adjustment amount is 56 (-56+56 = 0), the final calculation of $370/week of child support is incorrect. The correct result should be instead $314/week. That’s a significant difference of $56/week or almost $3,000 per year!
This is the only error we’ve discovered in the Court-generated auto-calculating worksheet so far. We hope it’s the only one but until the worksheet is bug free, we recommend running by hand and using our app to double check the numbers.
As mentioned above, the Child Support Guidelines can be a little complicated. In an effort to assist, we’ll be providing a series on how the guidelines work and how to run them by hand.