How to Demand and Collect Child Support in MA
Simply put, child support is paid for the care of a child. In Massachusetts, what this means more broadly is that the non-custodial parent—the parent the child does not live with—is responsible for the financial support of the child, or children. Keep reading to learn who qualifies for child support in MA and how you can be sure that you are getting everything your kids deserve.
Who Handles Child Support in Massachusetts?
The Child Support Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR/CSE) is in charge of managing child support in the commonwealth. These are some of the CSE's functions.
- Gets child support orders
- Assist parents in changing support orders
- Ensures parents are paying the mandated support
Who Can Get Child Support?
Parents everywhere are responsible for supporting their children, from birth until they're 18. You don't have to be divorced to collect child support. Separated couples and single parents are all eligible to receive financial support from their former spouse or partner. In fact, the custodial adult of any minor child—a grandparent or guardian, for example, may be qualified to receive support from one or both parents.
If you and the child's other parent were never married, you can still get financial support. Paternity has to be established, either by a voluntary admission or by a court-ordered DNA test.
If your ex balks at paying support, remind them that in Massachusetts, judges will throw deadbeat parents in jail.
How Do I Know How Much I’ll Get in Support?
In order to qualify for child support in MA, you must provide the primary residence for your kids. This means that they spend over 237 nights in your home every year and no more than 128 with the other parent.
The support guidelines recommend that the non-custodial parent pay a certain percentage of their gross (before taxes and deductions) income towards child support. This percentage is based on several factors, such as total parental income, and the number of children a couple has.
How the Math Works
This is a really simplistic example of how Massachusetts calculates the amount of support. DoNotPay can help you with estimating the amount; our system makes sure that all the numbers are entered correctly into the formula.
This is the basic formula.
- Enter the gross income of each parent
- Subtract the following costs:
- Child care, including daycare, after school, summer camps, and enrichment programs
- Health care costs, including vision and dental
- Previous orders of support for other children
- Add the joint parental incomes to determine total family income
- The Commonwealth uses a chart to figure the amount of support owed.
- The court-determined amount is allocated to each parent in proportion to their income
- The higher-earning parent's percentage is the presumed support paid on the child's behalf.
Other factors can change the equation, such as if one parent is carrying the child on their health insurance, or if someone in the household is receiving social security or disability benefits.
How Do I Request Child Support?
The first step in getting support is to file a complaint in court. The complaint is simply a written request for support, and you can file it online, or at the registry of the Probate and Family Court for the county where you and your kids live. The DOR/CSE can also help you file the complaint during normal business hours.
What Documentation Do I Need?
You'll need some documentation to back up your claim for support.
- Certified copy of the child's birth certificate
- Copy of marriage certificate if you have been married to the other parent
- Your photo ID
If you're filing online, be prepared to upload the documents. Whether you file the complaint online, ask the DOR/CSE for help, or go to the courthouse, there is a lot of information you'll need, such as your ex's current address, social security number (SSN), your kid's dates of birth and SSNs, proof of bills, and other information that will help the courts decide how much support you can receive. There is a $100 filing fee, so be sure you get all the squares filled out correctly.
How to File a Demand Letter for Late Child Support Payments Using DoNotPay
If you want to file a demand letter for late child support payments but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 3 easy steps:
- Search child support on DoNotPay and enter the details of the person who owes the payments.
- Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.
- Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.
DoNotPay also has guides for the child support of other states:
Why Use DoNotPay to File a Child Support Claim in Massachusetts
The reason why DoNotPay has been successful with its continued service is due to the fact that it is:
- Fast—You don't have to spend hours trying to solve the issue
- Easy—You don't have to struggle to fill out tedious forms or keep track of all the steps involved in solving your problem
- Successful—You can rest assured knowing we'll make the best case for you
DoNotPay Works Across All Government and Business With a Click of a Button
We can help smooth out the rough edges of dealing with bureaucracies and red tape, whether you need help with child support or renewing your car registration.
In the private sector, DoNotPay can help you figure out the best virtual credit card, find the cheapest tires near you, and just about anything else you can think of. We're a lot like Google, but take it a step further and can help you accomplish something, not just find the tire dealer.