In Massachusetts Courts.

A  major concern when parents divorce is protecting the emotional and financial well-being of their children.

child support

Massachusetts' Family courts determine child support amounts, based on established guidelines (online worksheet). The will courts consider the following when determining child support:

  • Gross weekly income of each parent;
  • Earning capacity of parent;
  • Whether he or she is currently unemployed;
  • Which parent provides health insurance for the child;
  • Age of each child.

Clients typically have many questions regarding child support, and there are often issues that arise after the court order, due to changes in financial circumstances.  We can answer such questions and will represent you and your children's interests.

Non-Payment of Child Support

When one parent fails to make child support payments, the custodial parent and child suffer. There are various methods for Child Support Enforcement, including:

  • Wage Garnishment/Assignment (Withholding amounts from paycheck of non-paying parent).
  • Suspension of business or professional licenses;
  • Suspension of driver's license;
  • Possible incarceration in jail.

There are both state and federal laws addressing non-payment of child support. If the location of the non-paying parent is unknown, it may be possible to locate him or her through the Parent Locator Service. This service allows a parent to access information obtained by the federal government. Information can be gathered through tax refunds, the IRS, Social Security Administration, and more.

Child Custody in Massachusetts: What's Best for the Children ?

child support

Whenever children are involved as part of a divorce, another important aspect will be child custody. Every family situation is different, but it must always be decided where, and with whom, the children live, who makes the critical choices about their upbringing, and the degree of contact they should have with each parent?

Ideally, parents are both able to decide these questions together, reaching the arrangement that's best for their children. Sometimes, however, that becomes a point-of-contention, to where custody issues must then be settled in Massachusetts Family Court.

Legal custody means who makes the major decisions about issues such as education, health, medical care, emotional development and religion. (An important exception is that even a parent with sole legal custody can't take the children from Massachusetts permanently without the prior permission of the other parent or court.) Physical custody refers to the time the child spends with each parent. Joint legal custody, in which the decision-making responsibility is shared by both parents, is quite common.

Generally, one parent is awarded sole physical custody of the children, meaning the children will live with the "custodial parent", who is in charge of making day to day decisions concerning the child. The "noncustodial parent" is granted visitation rights, which could mean children spends several hours, weekends or blocks of vacation time with that parent. Supervised visitation may be ordered whenever there are concern over child-safety.

Parents may under certain circcumstances have shared physical custody.  this is where parents have nearly the same parental time with the child.  Where there is shared physical custody the child support can go under the child support guidlines, or there may be no child support order if the parents' incomes are nearly identical. 

Child custody laws in Massachusetts emphasize the needs of the child, and which parent is most capable of meeting those needs. The best and least disruptive living arrangements for children, as well as recognition of a child's ongoing relationship with both parents, are issues considered by the courts. Some factors that will be weighed, include:

  • Adjustment to family, school, and community;
  • Current relationship status with both parents;
  • Any history of abuse, drugs or abandonment;
  • Which parent has been the primary care-giver.

It should be noted that Massachusetts law does not grant preference to one parent over the other, solely based on gender.  As a Guardian Ad Litem Attorney Barboza has been appointed by courts to investigate child custody cases.


On March 1, 2012 an new alimony formula became effective in Massachusetts. Prior there was no set law for determining alimony payments and duration. Before March There are several types of alimony: General alimony; Rehabilitative alimony; Reimbursement alimony and Transistional alimony.

The amount and duration of the alimony is now governed by law. Attorney Barboza can assist you in determining which form of alimony is appropriate for you.

For help resolving Alimony, Child Support or Child Custody matters, or legally enforcing court orders for you or your child's benefit, please contact Attorney Barboza.

scales of Justice Philomena A. Barboza is a lawyer dedicated to providing you with legal representation that is aggressive, compassionate and affordable.
Reasonable attorney fees and payment plans.

Call today: 508-536-3115<

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