Trial Court Issues New Child Support Guidelines Effective August 1st
Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan today announced the promulgation of revised Child Support Guidelines to be effective on August 1, 2013, based on a comprehensive review by the Child Support Guidelines Task Force he appointed in 2012. The Task Force that conducted the review, which is required every four years, was chaired by Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey.
The Child Support Guidelines are used by Trial Court judges in setting temporary, permanent or final orders for current child support, in deciding whether to approve agreements for child support, and in deciding cases that are before the court to modify existing orders.
“The Task Force has worked diligently to develop guidelines that account for the economic realities facing families,” said Chief Justice Mulligan. “I greatly appreciate their commitment to ensuring the well-being of children across the state.”
“These guidelines provide Trial Court judges with tools to determine child support in a way that is transparent and economically sound,” said Chief Justice Carey, who also chaired the Task Force four years ago. “This Task Force has invested tremendous energy in analyzing the data and producing guidelines based on the current economic climate for families raising children in Massachusetts.”
Key changes made to the guidelines are summarized on the next page. The review process included input from the public and the bar, and reviewed case files, economic analysis, as well as judicial and staff commentary. The Trial Court also retained the consulting services of Dr. Mark Sarro of Watermark Economics and Mark Rogers of Rogers Economics as consultants to gather information and provide an analysis of cost of living data relative to raising a child in Massachusetts. They focused on differences between current cost data and that used for the Guidelines promulgated in 2009.
In addition to Chief Justice Carey, the 2012 Task Force included Hon. Anthony R. Nesi, First Justice of the Bristol Probate and Family Court, John Johnson, Chief Probation Officer of the Hampden Probate and Family Court and Evelyn J. Patsos, Esq., Family Law Facilitator and Deputy Assistant Register of the Worcester Probate and Family Court. The Task Force was assisted by Trial Court attorneys Ann Archer and Christine Yurgelun.
Additional information on the quadrennial review of the state's Child Support Guidelines can be found at http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/index.html.
If you have any questions on these new guidelines and impact in your particular situation you should discuss with your legal counsel.