Massachussets Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

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Massachussets Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

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.

Massachusetts Support Enforcement Measures

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.

  • Inclusion on Massachusetts’ “Ten Most Wanted for Failure to Pay Child Support”
  • Income Withholding
  • Liens placed upon all property and rights to property
  • Levy of funds directly from bank accounts
  • Federal and state tax refund Intercept
  • Denial of either reissuance of their U.S. passport or issuance of a new passport
  • Unemployment compensation intercept
  • Workers’ compensation lien
  • Suspension or revocation of the parent’s professional, recreational or driver’s license(s)
  • Submission to four national credit reporting bureaus
  • Insurance claim intercept
  • Public pension intercept
  • Lottery winnings intercept

Who Can Enforce Court Ordered Child Support in Massachusetts?

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.

Full Time Equiv. Staff 865
Total Caseload 268,640

1 U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Boxscores for FY 2005

Interest on Missed Child Support Payments

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 Statute of Limitations on Back Child Support Payments (Arrears)

Massachusetts does not impose a statute of limitations on enforcement of child support orders.

Massachusetts Statute of Limitations for Determination of Paternity

Massachusetts does not impose a statute of limitations on determination of paternity.

Age of Emancipation / Age of Majority in Massachusetts

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.)

How Are Child Support Payment Amounts Determined in Massachusetts?

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.

Custody and Visitation Issues

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.