Payment of child support in Massachusetts

Many issues arise in the course of a divorce, especially if children are involved. Child custody, visitation, and child support are all things that must be addressed. Establishing a child support order is extremely important as it guarantees children have the monetary support they need to thrive. Massachusetts has child support guidelines that generally apply in all cases. A Massachusetts divorce attorney can assist a parent in establishing or modifying a child support order.

The Massachusetts child support guidelines rest on several principles. The guidelines seek to minimize the economic impact on a child’s standard of living, and encourage joint parental responsibility in proportion to each party’s income. They also recognize the importance and cost of health insurance for children, and allow for orders and wage assignments that can be adjusted as income fluctuates. The state guidelines help to provide consistency among cases.

Once a child support order is in place, there are several ways for a parent to make payments. Perhaps one of the most common ways to make payments is through an income withholding order — also known as a wage garnishment. This allows child support payments to be taken directly out of the parent’s paycheck. Garnishments are an excellent way to ensure child support payments are timely made in the correct amount.

Although parents in Massachusetts can generally trust their wages will properly be withheld, that was not the situation for one mother. She says her employer gave her a copy of an income withholding order that listed three girls she had never heard of. The woman’s only child is her 20-year-old son. It’s not known how the mistake was made, but it is reported that moves are being made to correct the error.

Massachusetts residents should rest assure that these types of mistakes are highly unusual. An experienced Worcester divorce attorney can assist a parent in ensuring an income withholding order and wage garnishment is properly in place after the entry of a child support order.

Source: News 4 Tucson, “Wrong parent’s paycheck garnished for child support,” Dec. 4, 2012