Even if the non-custodial parent lives outside the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law requires cooperation between states. The non-custodial parent is legally required to make regular child support payments, regardless of where they live.
If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures in accordance with Federal and Massachusetts child support law to collect regular and past-due payments.
The Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement Division is the state-run child support enforcement office for Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is required by federal law to provide services through Child Support Enforcement Division (DOR/CSE) and is funded by the federal government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
|MASSACHUSETTS DOR/CSE CASELOAD STATISTICS1|
|Full Time Equiv. Staff||865|
1 U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Boxscores for FY 2005
The state of Massachusetts allows for interest to be charged on late child support payments, retroactive support, and adjudicated arrears at a rate of 12% annually. Depending upon payments received, obligors might not be assessed interest or might be eligible to apply for a waiver under certain circumstances. (M.G.L. c.119A, s6(a) 830 CMR s119A.6.1)
Massachusetts does not impose a statute of limitations on enforcement of child support orders.
Massachusetts does not impose a statute of limitations on determination of paternity.
The age of emancipation in Massachusetts is 18 years of age. (M.G.L. c. 4, s 7)
Duty to provide child support is usually discontinued at age 18, but the court may order a parent to pay support beyond 18. Support may be extended until the child turns 21 if the child lives with the parent receiving child support and depends on that parent for support. If the dependent is enrolled in school, the order may be extended until the age of 23. (A court may also order that child support continue indefinitely for a child with disability.)
The basic child support obligation in Massachusetts is determined in accordance with the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The basic child support obligation is divided between the parents in proportion to their adjusted actual incomes and is calculated as a percentage adjusted for the number of children referenced on the order.
Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. The court determines both and will usually order the non-custodial parent to pay support and the custodial parent to make the child available for visits.
The custodial parent must obey the court order for visitation, even if the non-custodial parent cannot or will not pay child support. The court can enforce any of its orders against either parent.