New Hampshire and Massachusetts both agree that parents have an obligation to provide for their children and in the event of a divorce, or in an unwed family situation, there must be support from both parents.
Child support is payment made from one parent to the other, or the child’s legal guardian, on a weekly or monthly schedule to help with the costs of raising the child. To obtain child support in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the court has to issue a child support order after notice is provided to each of the parents. Child Support Guidelines are then used to establish the appropriate amount of child support paid by one parent to the other after taking into consideration each parties’ gross income, any order support for other children, self-employment and/or state income taxes paid, mandatory retirement contributions, allowable child care expenses and medical support for the child.
The parent who pays child support is often referred to as the obligor and the parent who receives child support is the obligee. While the Child Support Guidelines establish the appropriate amount of child support pursuant to a formula, the amount of child support may change if the parents agree to a support order different from the guideline amount or if a court determines there are special circumstances to warrant a deviation or adjustment. Special circumstances include the following:
- Ongoing extraordinary medical, dental or education expenses, including expenses related to the special needs of a child, incurred on behalf of the involved children.
- Significantly high or low income of the obligee or obligor.
- The economic consequences of the presence of stepparents, step-children or natural or adopted children.
- Reasonable expenses incurred by the obligor parent in exercising parental rights and responsibilities.
- The economic consequences to either party of the disposition of a marital home made for the benefit of the child.
- The opportunity to optimize both parties’ after-tax income by taking into account federal tax consequences of an order of support, including the right to claim the child or children as dependents for income tax purposes.
- State tax obligations.
- Parenting schedule.
- The economic consequences to either party of providing for the voluntary or court-ordered postsecondary educational expenses of a natural or adopted child.
- Other special circumstances found by the court to avoid an unreasonably low or confiscatory support order, taking all relevant circumstances into consideration.
If one parent does not pay his or her child support, the Bureau of Child Support Services (BCSS) in New Hampshire, or the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSE) in Massachusetts, can help families enforce support orders. In addition, the court may enforce those defaulted payments by:
- Order property of the obligor to be sold.
- Order the obligor parent to be jailed until support is paid.
- Order the obligor parent to pay obligee’s costs and attorney’s fees.
- Order the employer to deduct the support from the obligor parent’s paycheck.
- Intercept the obligor parent’s tax refund.
- Suspending the obligor parent’s driver’s license until child support is current.
Smith-Weiss Shepard & Kanakis, P.C. will work with you to resolve your child support issues expeditiously so that both parents rights are protected.