The new guidelines, for the first time, will address some of the longstanding concerns many of us have had. For one, I see the task force has for the first time made it clear how to determine child support when there is joint physical custody. It is good to see that the task force this time included Fathers and Families founder Ned Holstein, as well as many of the usual participants (attorneys and judges and other family law establishment people). After I have time to give it a complete review, I will post my analysis. But right away, after a quick scan, I can already say it is a wonderful improvement over the guidelines that are currently in effect. Have a read for yourself and tell me what you think: http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/guidelines.pdf.
Excerpt from Press Release of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court:
Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan today announced the promulgation of revised Child Support Guidelines to be effective on January 1, 2009, based on a comprehensive review of the guidelines by the Child Support Guidelines Task Force he appointed in 2006. The 12-member Task Force was chaired by Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey.
The report recommended significant, broad-based changes intended to make the guidelines more simple, clear, comprehensive and consistent with economic and societal changes of the last two decades. The report of the Task Force, available at www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport, explains the rationale behind the guidelines to assist attorneys and litigants in understanding and using them.
The recommendations include provisions that place greater value and emphasis on the involvement of both parents in the lives of children; consider the increase in health insurance costs and the requirement of mandatory health insurance in Massachusetts; provide greater guidance relative to when a child support order should be modified; and set forth specific deviation factors for deviation from the guidelines. These guidelines will apply to the circumstances of many more families in the Commonwealth.
For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.