Jessica L. Berrien | Family LawJessica L. Berrien | Family Law
Attorney
Jessica L. Berrien
is a Northampton, Massachusetts attorney who represents clients in civil litigation matters including family law, practicing primarily in the Western Massachusetts divisions of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. Attorney Berrien represents egg, embryo and sperm donors in third party ART (assisted reproductive technology) cases.
Practice Areas

Divorce
Child Custody
Child Support
Alimony / Spousal Support
Same-Sex Divorce
Separation Agreements
Property Division
Interstate Removal
Unmarried Partner Disputes
Paternity Actions
Third Party ART
Egg Donation
Embryo Donation
Sperm Donation      
Adoptions

Post Divorce Actions
Modifications
Contempt Actions

Domestic Violence
Restraining Orders
Grandparents Rights
International Kidnapping
Adoptions

Jessica Berrien | Family Law
In Massachusetts, child support is determined either by agreement of the parties or with the aid of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, which provide a formula for computing a child support obligation.

Parents are responsible for supporting their children.  If parents do not live together or are divorced, the parent not living with the child usually pays child support to the other parent.  In Massachusetts, child support is determined either by agreement of the parties or with the aid of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, which provide a formula for computing a child support obligation.  The Guidelines take into consideration the incomes of the parents, the number of children, the children's ages, the cost of child care and the cost of health insurance for the children. 

Child support can be paid directly to the other parent or may be paid through a wage assignment through the Department of Revenue (child support taken directly from the paying parent's employer to the DOR and is then paid to the other parent). 

Child support as with all other issues relating to children is always modifiable at a later date by filing a Modification Agreement (if the parents are in agreement) or a Complaint for Modification with the Probate and Family Court, upon a showing of material change in circumstances, such as a job loss, new job, higher or lower income, illness or remarriage.

If a paying parent fails to make child support payments the other parent may file a Complaint for Contempt with the Probate and Family Court.  A parent may not unilaterally decide to suspend visitations with the paying parent simply because the paying parent is late with or delinquent in making child support payments. 

Child support ends at age 18 but may continue until as old as age 23 if a child resides with a parent and is principally dependent upon that parent for support or is a full time student in college or a post secondary education program.