Child Support – The Good, The Bad and The Necessary

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Child Support

When two partners split and children are involved, child support is a very important part of the separation process that is going to have to be taken into account. Both parents are obligated to support their children to meet their needs. When calculating child support, Massachusetts follows the “Child Support Guidelines” which takes into account the income of the custodial and non-custodial parent. There are several additional factors that are taken into account when adjusting the amount of child support required by one parent like health insurance, child care costs and other child support orders for other minor children. Every situation and family is unique and has differing circumstances, and that is what makes these types of arrangements impossible to give a set answer to as far as “how much” however, the Court will almost always follow the calculated guidelines unless there is a reason to deviate from it. The child support guidelines can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/index.html

On January 1, 2009, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts changed the guidelines that judges use to determine child support. While the old guidelines relied mostly on the mathematical formula to arrive at a support number, the new guidelines give judges more flexibility and discretion. This change should help judges minimize the tax impact on families and create fairer results in application of the guidelines.

Child Support

There are some cases however, when child support is not necessary. For example, if parents have joint physical custody or have virtually equally parenting tim,e there may be no need for one parent to pay child support to the other depending upon the comparative incomes of the parties. Many parents have concerns about help paying for private school tuition, after school programs or other expenses that may not be taken into account in basic child support calculation. In circumstances like the amount may be adjusted up or down to account for the extra costs.

Our firm can help you understand the factors to present to the court in order to obtain a child support order that protects your rights. In addition, we can help you with other aspects of family law that will affect your children’s safety and financial stability.

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Limited Assistance Representation

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Limited Assistance Representation

What is limited assistance representation?

Limited assistance representation (sometimes called “unbundling”) is a way that an attorney can help you with part of your case while you do the rest of your case. For example:

1. You can consult with an attorney to prepare or review your paperwork, but attend the hearing yourself;

2. You can represent yourself through the whole case, and periodically consult with an attorney who can coach you on the law, procedures and strategy;

3. You can do the preparation yourself and hire an attorney just to make the court appearance for you;

4. You may want to do your own investigation of the facts (“discovery”) and ask the attorney to assist you in putting the information in a format which is useful to the court;

5. You may ask the attorney to be on “standby” while you attend the settlement conference yourself.

With limited scope assistance, you may be able to handle the whole case yourself, except for a few technical areas where the attorney can help you. It really is between you and the attorney how much of your case you hire them to do. If you do this, it is important to keep returning to the same attorney. Otherwise, you’re paying a new person to get up to speed on your case each time that you consult. Some areas of the law are extremely technical and it is rare for non-attorneys to effectively handle them. Among these are pension rights, stock options, and business interests. You will almost certainly need the assistance of an attorney if your case involves any of these issues.

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