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Securing Child Support: What to Do When the Other Parent Refuses to Work



Securing Child Support: What to Do When the Other Parent Refuses to Work

11 July 2023
Securing Child Support: What to Do When the Other Parent Refuses to Work

When it comes to child support in Massachusetts, the income of both parents plays a significant role. If you find yourself in a situation where the other parent refuses to work, you might wonder if you can still receive child support. Fortunately, Massachusetts law provides an option for judges to consider such scenarios. In this article, we will explore income attribution for child support cases in Massachusetts and how it can assist you in obtaining child support even if the other parent refuses to find employment. Dealing with child support disputes can be challenging and complex, so seeking assistance from a family law attorney, who can work in the best interests of you and your children, is highly recommended.

Determining Child Support in Massachusetts:

Child support in Massachusetts is calculated based on several factors, including the weekly income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children. While both parents are expected to contribute to their children’s basic needs, typically only one parent pays child support. This assumption is based on the belief that the custodial parent or the parent with the lower income is already providing an equal or greater amount of direct expenses for the children.

The Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

To determine the appropriate child support amount in each case, courts utilize a document called the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. This worksheet collects information such as the number of children, income for both parents, and potential deductions, such as health insurance premiums or childcare payments. Through a series of calculations, the worksheet helps determine the parents’ income level and the amount of support that should be paid.

Understanding Income Attribution

Under the current system for calculating child support in Massachusetts, it may appear that a noncustodial parent can evade their financial obligations by refusing to work or accepting lower-paying employment. To address this issue, the law allows for income attribution. If a judge believes that a parent is capable of working but chooses not to, they can reasonably estimate the income the parent would earn if they were employed. This attributed income can then be used to determine the child support amount, rather than relying on the actual income of that parent.

However, it’s important to note that if a child support order is in place based on an attributed income, the obligated parent must find a way to pay it. Failure to comply could result in a contempt charge and potential imprisonment.

Seeking Assistance from a Family Law Attorney

Child support cases can become complex and contentious, particularly when one parent is self-employed or attempts to conceal income. Emotions often run high between parents, each with their own idea of what is best for their children. Additionally, lingering issues from a divorce or previous marriage can cloud judgment regarding parental responsibilities.

Massachusetts law provides guidance to establish child support, aiming to remove emotions from the process and ensure children receive the appropriate level of support from both parents. However, relying solely on the court system and laws may not always guarantee a favorable outcome aligned with your children’s best interests. Given the unique nature of each child custody situation, it may be necessary to present your case and fight for your rights.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can significantly improve the chances of a positive outcome in your child support case. Such an attorney understands the Massachusetts child support calculation process and possesses knowledge of various judges and their previous rulings. They can provide invaluable advice on presenting your case and guide you through any disputes that may arise concerning child support. Navigating the family law system or confronting a parent who refuses to work without assistance can be daunting. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is highly recommended to seek help from a reputable family law attorney. At Wright Family Law Group, we are dedicated to supporting you in your pursuit of the appropriate level of child support for your children. Contact us today to learn how our expertise can contribute to a positive outcome in your child support case.  We have offices in Danvers and in Tewksbury.

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