In the event of a divorce, one parent may be ordered by the court to pay child support. Under Massachusetts law, both parents are required to support their children—and this is true regardless of marital status (whether the parents are married, divorced, separated, or were never married). The parent the child lives with is termed the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent may be required to pay child support.
Child support is complicated, but there are several things you should know.
One, child support may be used to pay for housing, food, clothing, education, and insurance and medical costs.
Two, if one parent has received an order for child support and the other parent is not paying it, payment can be compelled. The procedure is to file a Complaint for Contempt with the court. This means that, if the other parent does not obey the child support order, he or she can be held in contempt and is subject to penalties.
Three, the remedy for being found guilty of a Complaint for Contempt can be to pay the amount in full, to make payments toward the full amount, or in severe cases to serve a jail term.
Four, if the defendant is unemployed and unable to pay the required support (and is not disabled), the court will mandate a job search, job training, and community service. Proof of participation must be furnished to the court.
Fifth, if the person responsible for paying child support is found guilty of contempt, the court can order that he or she is responsible for the cost of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses related to initiating the contempt case.
If you are dealing with a child support issue, its best to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to help you navigate the complicated process. Call us to speak with a child support attorney about your case.