For many lucky couples, February marks St. Valentine’s day and often a proposal for marriage. If you are engaged to be married or strongly considering a proposal, you should consider whether your financial or family status warrants a prenuptial agreement. The first step in this process is consulting with a qualified divorce lawyer and family law attorney to learn about your rights and obligations.

A prenuptial agreement or “prenup” is a written contract between two people who intend to marry that provides for the division of assets, treatment of income, and payment or non-payment of alimony or spousal support should the marriage end in divorce. 

Prenuptial agreements also known as antenuptial agreements are more common than you might think. Prenuptial agreements can serve specific purposes that can help individuals regardless of their financial means, and are highly recommended for:

  • elderly couples where at least one or both partners have been widowed or previously divorced
  • couples where at least one or both partners were previously married, especially if there are children from prior marriages or relationships
  • parties who own a business

Prenuptial Agreements often provide for the following in the event of divorce:

  • the waiver of alimony or spousal support
  • the amount of alimony or spousal support or other divorce related payments
  • the identification of pre-marital or separate property that will not be part of the divorce
  • waivers of interests in the other spouse’s probate estate or retirement benefits

Including agreements regarding child related issues such as child support, child custody, or child visitation is not recommended, as they are generally unenforceable during a subsequent divorce.

It is much less stressful to discuss a prenuptial agreement before setting a wedding date. If you wish to learn more about obtaining a prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts or have been approached to sign an agreement and wish to learn more about your rights from a divorce attorney and family law lawyer, please call me at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

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For many couples and families, December and the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year. Couples face each other’s families, friends, coworkers, and parents of their children’s friends and classmates. January begins the new year and represents a time for change. For many couples, the time between Thanksgiving and New Years may highlight or confirm that that their relationship is no longer functioning, and divorce is imminent. If you are strongly considering divorce, taking the necessary first steps in a calculated manner may improve you and your family’s quality of life and future. The first step in this process is consulting with a qualified divorce lawyer and family law attorney to learn about your rights and obligations.

January is also a good time to begin the divorce process for practical purposes. The divorce process in Massachusetts can take anywhere from one day to multiple years depending on how acrimonious the breakup is. Most divorcing couples have to begin with a contested divorce, go through mandatory financial disclosures, and then begin settlement discussions. Sometimes this process can take a few months. January is also a time most people begin to gather financial documentation to prepare tax returns. This makes the process of mandatory financial disclosures easier and potentially more transparent.

If you own a home or have children you may need to relocate to a different neighborhood or town. Divorce is often extremely stressful on children without consideration of a potential move. Uncertainty regarding living arrangements can cause further anxiety. Relocation during the summer is easier for children and lessens the changes to their routine. Packing, selling a home, and moving is also easier when children are out of school for the summer. Filing for divorce, or in the alternative, beginning to negotiate a divorce settlement in January will allow you and your spouse additional time to reach a custody agreement to facilitate the changes to your children’s lives and limit potential stress.

If you are considering divorce and wish to learn more about your rights from a divorce attorney and family law lawyer, please call me at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

When you file an individual bankruptcy case under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you are permitted to retain your primary home and personal property with certain exceptions. Such assets or property you keep is referred to as exempt, and a creditor with a judgment against an individual cannot take or seize it to pay off the debt.

Most individuals file either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is commonly referred to as a “Liquidation” bankruptcy. To be able to file under Chapter 7, you must demonstrate that you do not earn enough income after consideration of specific monthly expenses to repay your debts. This is referred to as the “Chapter 7 Means Test” or the “Means Test.”

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy non-exempt property is sold to pay your debts. If all of your property is exempt no property will be seized. In return, your unsecured debts are terminated. The term “unsecured debt” refers to debt that is not backed by collateral. The most common example is credit card debt. Mortgages are secured debt and will usually remain after your bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a trustee is appointed by the Justice Department to administer the bankruptcy estate. This involves reviewing the debtor’s finances, managing the repayment or redemption by the debtor of non-exempt assets, the sale of non-exempt assets, and distributing the proceeds to creditors.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is commonly referred to as a “wage earner” bankruptcy. Individuals with regular and reliable income may submit a proposed repayment plan to repay all or some of their debts over a time period of three or five years. Plans are based on income, and the amount and types of debts. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the trustee performs the same tasks as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee but also manages and reviews the repayment plan. Typically, if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee objects to a repayment plan, the bankruptcy court will not approve the plan.

During the bankruptcy process the trustee may liquidate your non-exempt property to pay off your creditors. If only a portion of the value or equity of the property is non-exempt, you have options. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case you must either redeem or repay the non-exempt portion immediately or enter into a short-term payment plan. Otherwise the Chapter 7 Trustee may seize the property and sell the property to pay your creditors. The exempt portion of the proceeds will be paid to the Debtor. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case you may repay the value of your non-exempt assets through your repayment plan or surrender the non-exempt property to be sold by your bankruptcy trustee.

The value of the property you may keep in your chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy is determined by the exemptions you choose use. You may choose to use Federal bankruptcy exemptions or state bankruptcy exemptions. There are advantages to each and the selection should be made based on individual needs.

Federal v. Massachusetts Exemptions & the Homestead Exemption

The Massachusetts bankruptcy exemption for your home or the “homestead exemption” is much larger than the Federal bankruptcy homestead exemption. The “homestead exemption” permits you to protect the equity in your home from creditors. This only protects your interest in a primary residence and does not protect vacation homes or investment properties. If your primary residence is also a multi-unit dwelling, the exemption covers up to a four-unit dwelling. You must live in the home to claim this exemption.

If you file a homestead exemption form in your County’s Registry of Deeds, you may exempt up to $500,000 in equity. Otherwise, the exemption only covers the first $125,000 in equity. The Federal exemption only covers the first $23,675 in equity.

Common Massachusetts Bankruptcy Exemptions

The following is a brief outline of some of the major and most commonly used Massachusetts Bankruptcy Exemptions for personal property or assets:

  • $7,500 – Motor Vehicle
  • $1,225 – Jewelry
  • $15,000 – Household Furniture
  • $5,000 – Tools of Trade
  • $2,500 – Bank Deposits
  • Unlimited – Rights to receive alimony and child support
  • Unlimited – Life Insurance (if the proceeds are payable to a dependent)
  • Unlimited – Most Public benefits and Retirement Account or Benefits. Certain exceptions may apply to contributions to IRAs made prior to the bankruptcy filing.
  • Wildcard Exemption – Up to $1,000 plus $5,000 of the unused portion of your automobile, household furniture, and tools of trade exemptions.

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

The following is a brief outline of some of the major Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for personal property or assets:

  • $3,775 – Motor Vehicle
  • $1,600 – Jewelry
  • $12,625 – Household Goods (furnishings, appliances, clothes, books, animals, crops, musical instruments). No individual item may exceed $600 in value.
  • $2,375 – Tools of the Trade (including implements and books).
  • $12,625 – Life Insurance Policy (loan value).
  • $23,675 – Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice awards with exceptions.
  • $1,283,025 – IRAs and Roth IRAs – Individual Retirement Accounts
  • Unlimited – Retirement Accounts (except IRAs) that are exempt from taxation.
  • Wildcard Exemption –
    • $1,250 plus $11,850 of any unused portion of your homestead exemption
    • The wildcard exemption may be applied to any property you own, and maybe used to avoid repaying the non-exempt equity in the property listed above.

There is no need to dip into savings. Being proactive with bankruptcy may protect your personal assets such as your home, car, and retirement accounts from your creditors.

If you have further questions about filing bankruptcy in Massachusetts, please contact the Law Offices of James Benjamin at 617-431-8071, or visit to learn if bankruptcy is right for you.




The holiday season is quickly approaching. With the holidays comes additional stress for many parents and children either facing a divorce or subject to a parenting or visitation schedule created by the courts or by agreement.

Some parents easily agree on pick-up and drop-off schedules for their children for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and the winter and spring school recesses.  If you have just begun the divorce process it is not uncommon for such holiday schedules to have been ignored. By having a discussion with the other parent or alternatively negotiating through your attorney, a fair and equitable shared holiday visitation and summer vacation schedule can be created. If the parents cannot agree, the court can make a determination.

Unless you and your child(ren)’s other parent have an extremely amicable relationship having a holiday and vacation schedule in a divorce judgment or paternity / parenting judgment may help avoid later conflict. It can be beneficial to also include all major three-day weekends, full uninterrupted blocks of a week or two for travel in the summer, parent and child birthdays, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and other religious holidays. The schedule can be in place in the event of a disagreement. Parents are free to temporarily agree to different times but are encouraged to do so in writing. If you and your co-parent are in complete agreement and wish to make permanent changes to the holiday visitation schedule the process is extremely straightforward with the assistance of competent counsel.

If you are considering divorce and are unsure how it may affect the holidays for your children, or you wish to create or modify a current holiday visitation or summer vacation schedule for your children, please call 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

If you are an owner of a failing or closed business and have incurred significant debts that you are now unable to repay you should be aware of an exception to the income eligibility rules for filing bankruptcy.  Many business owners take out commercial or business loans to purchase vehicles, equipment, obtain inventory and supplies, or pay day to day office expenses. These debts are treated differently than consumer debts when determining your eligibility for filing bankruptcy. You may be able to discharge or terminate your obligation to repay such business debts without making any payments.

When you file for bankruptcy you are permitted to retain property required for everyday living. A reasonable home, furnishings, vehicle(s), clothing, retirement savings and other items are not subject to sale under this process. If you have property that is not fully exempt due to its value, you may need to repay a portion of the value to your creditors in order to keep the asset.

The vast majority of individuals file either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case you must submit a repayment plan based on your available income after paying living expenses and debts including mortgages, car payments, student loans, back taxes, and other similar obligations. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve a long-term repayment plan. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy your unsecured and secured debt with some exceptions is discharged or terminated, and your secured creditors may only collect against collateral. There is no repayment plan based on your income.

To file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass a means test demonstrating you do not earn enough income after consideration of specific monthly expenses to repay your debts. If your household income is below your state’s median household income over the past six months you typically pass this test. If you make more than your state’s median income, expenses such as housing, automobiles, utilities, student loans, tax payments, alimony or spousal support, child support, child care, health care, and other essentials are considered to determine if you have disposable income available to pay back your creditors.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the median household income standards as of April 30, 2018, are as follows:

1 Member – $62,660
2 Member – $80,180
3 Member – $98,758
4 Member – $123,864

If your annual household income is below the standard, you are likely eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that will not require a repayment plan. If your income is greater, you may still be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after consideration of your monthly expenses.

If you have available income each month to repay creditors, you may need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is typically called a “repayment” bankruptcy. You submit a proposed repayment plan to repay all or some of your debts over a period of three or five years. Plans are based on income, and the amount and types of debts. There are benefits to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy as repayment plans allow for the payment of back taxes and past due mortgages or car payments to avoid foreclosure or repossession.

There is an exception to the rule requiring a means test if your debts are primarily related to a business. The means test only applies when the majority of debts are consumer debts. The Bankruptcy Code defines consumer debt as “debt incurred by an individual primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose.” See 11 U.S.C. § 101(8). If your debts are primarily commercial in nature, you may be exempt from the means test referenced above. If some of the business debt could potentially be identified as consumer debt, a debtor will need to be able to show evidence that the obligation was incurred for commercial purposes. The courts, the Justice Department, and trustees look closely at debts classified as business or non-consumer debt. If you have a business loan from a bank or an auto loan on a commercial vehicle this may be obvious. If you have incurred credit card debt on behalf of the business, this may require further review.

If you are struggling as a result of debts associated with your business, you may be able to discharge or terminate these debts without a repayment plan. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts and wish to speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney, please contact my office at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.



On December 22, 2017, Congress approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), that made changes to the Internal Revenue Code that will significantly affect child tax credits. Beginning this year, there are changes to the child tax credit that may materially impact the tax benefits of divorced and/or single parents who are able to claim their child(ren) on their tax returns. This may be a good time to review divorce, paternity, child custody, and child support judgements that indicate which parent may claim the children for tax purposes. With resulting changes to taxable income, it may be beneficial to renegotiate either child support or tax treatment of children. This can be accomplished with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney and your accountant.

Many judgments of divorce, paternity, child custody, child visitation, child support or related modification judgments provide for which parent gets to claim the child(ren) on their tax returns. Often if there is more than one child the deductions or credits are split equally between the parents.

Before the TCJA, the child tax credit was potentially worth up to $1,000 per child, if the parent(s) were eligible. This was a credit only and was not refundable. The TCJA doubles the tax credit for 2018 to $2,000 per child. Up to $1,400 of the credit amount is now also refundable, unlike previous years. Unfortunately, these changes may not result in a lower tax bill or higher tax refund for all eligible parents as the TCJA also eliminates the personal exemption for every taxpayer and each of their dependents (children).

If the tax advantage of being able to claim the child credit now differs materially as a result of the changes in the tax laws or the financial situations of either parent, it may be possible to negotiate a better agreement with regard to child support and child tax credits with the assistance of experienced legal representation.

If you wish to explore the modification of your current child support order or modify your judgment with regard to the parent who gets to claim the child for tax purposes, please call 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

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Marriages are all different. Some marriages are strong and can handle multiple stressors and survive. Others are more fragile and may not survive one or more major stressors or traumatic events without ending in divorce. Often couples have one or major stresses that cannot be fixed with financial planning, counseling, bankruptcy, medical treatment or time and result in divorce. If you have decided to file for divorce in Massachusetts, these are some common issues you may be discussing with your divorce attorney:

  1. Infidelity or Adultery

Some couples are able to recover from infidelity. Often the damage to trust cannot be repaired. Massachusetts is a no-fault state. This means that when you file for divorce you may indicate it is due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In other states, this is often called irreconcilable differences. This means the relationship has deteriorated to the point the couple can no longer live together as spouses.

While the act of adultery in itself is not a basis for receiving a larger share of the marital estate during divorce or custody of the children, it may be relevant to the division or award of marital assets and child custody and should be discussed with your divorce attorney. If the unfaithful spouse spent large sums of money on their mistress, lover or paramour, the faithful spouse can seek to be credited for this waste of the marital resources. If the lover or paramour is a criminal, prone to illicit drug use, or engages in behavior that is otherwise not appropriate for children, this will be considered in determining child custody.

  1. Job Loss or Unwillingness to Work 

A major loss of income is typically a large source of stress for a marriage. It is not uncommon for couples to argue when they were accustomed to a certain lifestyle and are now required to cut back on expenses. Often it can take years to reestablish the same salary. This can take a serious toll on a marriage.

In some instances, spouses lose their jobs and do not seek further employment either out of a desire to remain home with children or in some instances outright laziness. The Courts will consider if a spouse has voluntarily taken a lower paying job, left the workforce, or taken a part-time job against their spouse’s wishes and without regard to the families’ financial condition. This can serve as a basis for imputing or attributing greater income when the Court makes determinations about child support, alimony or spousal support, and the division of marital assets. This is not a consideration when the loss or reduction of income is not intentional.

  1. Illness or a Traumatic Incident

Sudden illness or a traumatic event may test a marriage. Often one party has difficulties recovering from the illness or incident, and it can have long-term effects on a relationship. In other instances, a spouse may disapprove of the response taken by their partner, causing disappointment, loss of trust or hurt feelings. Often families recover from these events, but the financial and emotional effects linger for years to come, and can result in divorce. If a partner is unable to physically care for a child due to an illness or injury or suffers mental health issues that impede their ability to supervise children, the Court will consider these issues when making a child custody determination.

  1. Special Needs Children and/or Caring for Elderly Parents 

Families are often faced with stresses resulting from caring for special needs children and declining elderly parents. Special needs children often require significantly more time and resources. Caring for elderly parents may result in an additional member of the household or time away from children and/or spouses. It is not uncommon for these issues to factor into a divorce. When making a child custody determination, Courts will consider a parent’s ability to care for a special needs child. The Court may also award additional child support to cover the expenses associated with a special needs child.

  1. Debt or Overspending

Divorcing couples may argue about debt or overspending. Often spouses disagree about household spending and overspend and incur debt. In other instances, debts may have accumulated due to a failed business, illness, a traumatic event or loss of employment making it difficult to pay off the resulting obligations. If one spouse incurred the debts without consulting with the other, this can often lead to strife. If the couple has become insolvent or no longer able to pay debts when they become due, filing a bankruptcy may be an option to alleviate these issues. If the cause of the debts is a spouse who is spendthrift or a person who spends money in an extravagant and irresponsible way, there may be no means to control their behavior. Courts have the ability to consider a spouse’s conduct when dividing marital assets and debts. This can include awarding more property or making one spouse solely responsible for a debt.

  1. A Failed Business

Starting a business is often difficult. Often the founder does not have income for a long time. If the business is not successful, the founder may lose the entire investment. If the spouse of the founder did not fully support the decision, this can often cause a rift in the marriage leading to divorce. When going through the divorce process, it is important to determine if you became personally liable for any portion of the debts associated with your former spouse’s business. Even if you guaranteed loans for your spouse’s business, the Court may order that your spouse be responsible for the debt.

  1. Becoming Empty-Nesters

Often couples do not divorce until their children have finally left the home. Many spouses stay in bad marriages for financial reasons and/or for the benefit of their children. Divorce is often expensive and can result in less money being available for children and/or retirement. Some parents choose to stay in a marriage to ensure stability for their children. When both spouses have worked throughout the marriage this can make a divorce an easier process when child support and child custody are no longer issues. If one spouse stayed home to take care of the children and has not rejoined the workforce, they may be eligible for long term alimony, making the divorce process more complicated.

  1. Abusive Behavior

Abusive behavior from a partner should never be tolerated. Often partners give their spouses an option to seek counseling in the hopes of saving the relationship. Sadly, many spouses stay in physically or emotionally abusive relationships for too long. Unfortunately, the law does not directly protect spouses from long-term emotional abuse. If the pattern of emotional abuse may be established through evidence, the Court may consider this during a child custody determination.

Spouses will have an easier time confronting physical abuse. Spouses or other members of a household may seek a protective order pursuant to Chapter 209A of the Massachusetts General Laws. You do not have to have a divorce case pending. The case will be heard in the Superior Court, Boston Municipal Court, or the Probate and Family Court. If you have been physically harmed by your partner/spouse or member of your household, or they have threatened you with imminent bodily harm, please contact the police or see the link below for more information:


Sometimes these issues resolve themselves over time. Otherwise, they may lead to a lingering toxic relationship. If your marriage cannot be repaired through treatment or counseling, you should consider freeing yourself of these stresses through divorce.

Couples divorce for many reasons. If you are having many of the issues listed above, are considering divorce, and wish to learn about your rights from a divorce and family law attorney, please call me at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

On December 22, 2017, Congress approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), that made significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code that will affect alimony or spousal support going forward. If your divorce is already final you should not be concerned. If you are contemplating divorce or currently in the middle of a divorce, and are concerned about paying alimony or spousal support, you should consider how the change in the tax code may affect your taxable income.

Under the outgoing version of I.R.C. § 215 a taxpayer was able to deduct “alimony or separate maintenance payments” from gross income. The new tax law repealed this deduction for any divorce judgment or separation agreement executed after December 31, 2018. This will not affect modifications of older judgments. The repeal of the deduction will not apply to any divorce or separation agreement executed on or before December 31, 2018, and modified after that date unless the modification expressly indicates it is subject to the new rule.

If you became divorced prior to the this change in the law, the tax deductibility of your alimony will not be affected, and you may modify the payment amount or duration. If you or your spouse file for divorce or if your divorce is filed and finalized prior to January 1, 2019, the old rule still applies. If you are divorced after January 1, 2019, alimony, spousal support or separate maintenance payments will remain taxable income for the paying party and will be a non-taxable support payment to the recipient.

Often the spouse who pays alimony or spousal support is in a higher tax bracket. The spouse that pays the support will no longer benefit from the tax deduction and will have to pay taxes on income used to make alimony or spousal support payments. The party that receives the alimony or spousal support will not have to pay taxes on these payments. This means there will be potentially less net income available to you, your former partner, or your children. This loss may evidentially be mitigated by a future Court decision or the state legislature in Boston, but no change has occurred yet.

If you are planning or in process of a divorce, based on recent changes in tax law, it is in your financial interest to determine the advantage of finalizing the divorce before or after the end of calendar year 2018. The tax treatment of alimony and spousal support payments may differ substantially for those divorced before or after the end of the year. If you wish to learn more, please call me at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

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Are you only able to pay the minimum payments on your credit cards?

If you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you may be able to discharge or terminate these debts, without paying any money back. If not, Chapter 13 bankruptcy permits you to enter into a payment plan and stop the accrual of interest and penalties.

Has your car been repossessed?

You may owe money to the bank or leasing company, and may be subject to a lawsuit and/or wage garnishment. Bankruptcy protects you, and you may even be able to get your car back and seek a loan modification.

Has your bank or mortgage company threatened you with foreclosure?

Bankruptcy temporarily stops the foreclosure process and may provide you with additional time to negotiate a loan modification or in some limited circumstances get rid of a home equity line of credit.

Are you being threatened or sued by a creditor for failure to pay?

Depending on your income and expenses, bankruptcy may eliminate or reduce the amount of money you owe.

Do you owe back taxes? 

Before discussing a payment plan with Internal Revenue Service you should find out if the taxes you owe can be discharged through bankruptcy.

Are you living paycheck to paycheck due to overspending and credit card debt?

It may take many years to pay off all of your debts. Depending on your income, bankruptcy may provide you with a clean slate or the ability to consolidate your debts without paying interest and penalties.

Are you the owner of a struggling business that may be forced to close soon?

There is no need to dip further into savings. Being proactive with bankruptcy will protect personal assets such as your home, car, and retirement accounts from creditors.

Taking the First Step

If you wish to explore filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts, please contact the Law Offices of James Benjamin at 617-431-8071, or visit to learn if bankruptcy is right for you.



The Executive Office of the Trial Court of Massachusetts located in Boston, Massachusetts, is responsible for creating child support guidelines and worksheets for calculating child support payments in paternity, divorce, and other family law cases. New guidelines will be going into effect on June 15, 2018. These amended child support guidelines do not reflect a change in the Massachusetts child support law as written. The child support guidelines continue to presume that children have a primary residence with one parent and spend approximately one-third of the time with the other parent. The amendments represent a change in the presumptive or default calculations of the amount of child support to be ordered by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts. Judges have the discretion to order more or less than these amounts based on the specific facts of the case. Otherwise, the Probate and Family Courts must order the amounts set forth in the guidelines and accompanying worksheets, unless the parties agree otherwise.

On September 15, 2017, child support guidelines were issued that created changes factoring in college aged dependent children. The 2017 child support guidelines created a small presumptive decrease for financially dependent children attending college or university who were over the age of 18 and under the age of 23. Additionally, presumptive calculations based on parenting time were removed from the child support worksheets.

Prior to these changes in 2017, the Massachusetts child support guidelines were last changed as of August 1, 2013. These guidelines included a presumptive reduction of child support based on parenting schedules that were more than one-third but less than one half of the time for the parent who is not the residential parent, or a nearly fifty-fifty or equal parenting schedule.

Effective June 15, 2018, new Massachusetts child support guidelines and worksheets will go into effect that retain the consideration of college aged-children and again consider parenting time or the parenting schedule. The worksheets will again consider parenting schedules with equal or close to equal parenting time. The worksheets also create a presumptive calculation for when there is more than one child covered by the child support order, and each parent provides a primary residence for at least one child. This covers instances where children of the same parents do not share the same parenting arrangement or schedule. Unfortunately, this update does not take into account the changes in Federal tax law resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Whenever the child support guidelines are amended, there may be a basis for reducing or increasing a child support order. One of the grounds for filings a Complaint for Modification of child support is that there is now a difference between the amount of the existing child support order and the amount that would result from application of the current child support guidelines.

If you are a party to a child support order by a Massachusetts Court and wish to discuss the potential increase or reduction of your child support payment, please call me at 617-431-8071 to schedule a consultation.

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