When you've filled in the boxes and clicked on the calculate button, you'll get a rough estimate of the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent.
But note that Massachusetts updated its child support guidelines in 2021, which could result in a different amount of support, depending on the circumstances. You may also use the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet to calculate the basic support obligation based on the current guidelines. This worksheet includes details like adjustments for child care cost, income disparities, and children over the age of 18.
The amount of child support calculated under the Massachusetts guidelines won't necessarily apply in every situation. The state presumes that's the appropriate amount. But you may argue that a different amount would be appropriate in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge makes that decision for you, the judge will have to find that the guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate and that a different amount would be in the child's best interests. Learn more about how child support works in Massachusetts, including factors the judge must consider when deviating from the guidelines.
Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Massachusetts. You'll include your completed Child Support Guidelines Worksheet along with the other divorce papers.
If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services with the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). If needed, the DOR can also help with establishing the child's legal parentage.
The Massachusetts DOR can also help with child support enforcement and with requesting a change (modification) in the existing support amount.