Infinity Law Group MA Divorce App Updated to Reflect New Child Support Guidelines
On October 4, 2021, Massachusetts released a new set of child support guidelines. For those who use MA Divorce, our divorce app, Infinity Law Group would like to confirm that we have updated the app to incorporate all of the changes to the new guidelines.
The recent changes primarily address income amounts and shared parental support contributions in order to more accurately reflect economic changes over the last few years. Below is an overview of the key adjustments as reflected in the app.
Income Types Updated
Many divorced parents receive income from stock options and related employment-based incentives. The new child support guidelines acknowledge that this type of income is becoming increasingly common and require it to be reported for support calculation purposes, so any app users will have to account for it moving forward. This measure deters parents who may try to minimize support obligations by choosing stock options instead of monetary compensation.
Minimum Order Amount Lowered
Under the previous child support guidelines, the minimum order was $25 per week. This amount, which adds up to $100 per month, left some payors unable to support themselves without defaulting on their support obligation. The new minimum amount, which is reflected in the app updates, is now $12 per week, although courts still have the discretion to set a higher or lower amount.
Qualifying Income Amount Increased
Before the update, the existing child support guidelines applied when the maximum combined income of both parents was $250,000. The cap has been increased to $400,000, so parents in a higher income bracket can now accurately calculate their qualifying income amounts in the app.
Any parents with questions about these increases can review the new 2021 Child Support Guidelines Chart.
Child Care Costs Reflect Parental Income
Massachusetts law defines reasonable child care costs as a maximum of $355 per week per child. The new 2021 guidelines use each parent’s proportional income to determine how much they have to pay in child care costs. Before any parent who paid for daycare or any other form of child care only received a 15% credit, so this change may impact the support that payors are expected to make.
Incremental Adjustments Made for Additional Children
Support amounts have been increased based on the number of children. This means that if you have more than one child, you will pay or receive more child support than under the previous guidelines. These changes are reflected in the MA Divorce app, but those who want to review the new adjustment factors may find them in Table B of the 2021 Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
In practical terms, this means that under the 2021 Guidelines, a current child support amount of $250 per week for two children can increase to $280 per week. An order of $250 for three children could rise to $308 per week.
How Do These Changes Affect Your Support Order?
If you are currently under a child support order, please note that it will not automatically change to reflect the 2021 guidelines. Any change in the child support order must be either made by the Agreement of the parents or through a new court order. Talk to a Massachusetts child support lawyer about seeking a modification.
Talk to a Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer About Child Support
If you don’t currently use the MA Divorce App, you may download it via the links below:
If you are a divorced parent in the Boston area and have questions about the 2021 guidelines or wish to pursue a support modification to reflect these changes, contact Infinity Law Group today. We offer a free phone consultation, so please reach out.