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Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Lovin' Series: How long can DOR collect child support for?

Summer is finally here.  The air is humid, the sunblock is out, and it's finally time for vacations and school break.  But enjoying summer too much has its consequences.  Our Summer Lovin' series is about those consequences for Unmarried Parents in Massachusetts:

Summer Lovin' Series #6: How long can DOR collect child support for?

In Massachusetts, child support can continue until the child is twenty-three (23). Except for the absolute maximum of age twenty-three (23), child support does not end upon a specific age but rather when the child becomes "emancipated." Emancipation in Massachusetts is defined in M.G.L. ch. 208 s. 28.

In basic terms child support in Massachusetts stops when the child turns age:
  • 18, unless the child is still principally dependent on the custodial parent (i.e. the child is no longer principally dependent if they've moved out of the home, except for college, is employed full time, is married, of has joined the military);
  • 21, unless the child is enrolled in a full-time undergraduate college program;
  • 23, no matter what.
Kelsey & Trask, P.C. is now offering flat fee representation at DOR support hearings for a flat fee of $750 in most cases.  For teen parents under the age of 18, Kelsey & Trask, P.C. offers free representation for DOR support hearings.

For more information visit our webpage devoted specifically to DOR hearings.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Lovin' Series: Why is the DOR taking me to Court for Child Support?

Summer is finally here.  The air is humid, the sunblock is out, and it's finally time for vacations and school break.  But enjoying summer too much has its consequences.  Our Summer Lovin' series is about those consequences for Unmarried Parents in Massachusetts:

Summer Lovin' Series #5: Why is the DOR taking me to Court for Child Support?

The Department of Revenue (DOR) files child support complaints on behalf of parents when they request it or when they receive services from the Department of Transitional Assistance. DOR hearings typically result in child support judgments, which can last as long as 23 years.  It's important to have representation at this hearing so that the agreements or judgments that are reached are fair to both the parents and the child.

DOR Hearings do not typically include custody and parenting plan negotiations.  Usually a separate Complaint is required to resolve parenting and custody issues, though sometimes they can be settled at a DOR hearing if both parties agree.

Kelsey & Trask, P.C. is now offering flat fee representation at DOR support hearings for a flat fee of $750 in most cases.  For teen parents under the age of 18, Kelsey & Trask, P.C. offers free representation for DOR support hearings.

For more information visit our webpage devoted specifically to DOR hearings.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Lovin' Series: How do Unmarried Parents pay for their Child's Expenses?

Summer is finally here.  The air is humid, the sunblock is out, and it's finally time for vacations and school break.  But enjoying summer too much has its consequences.  Our Summer Lovin' series is about those consequences for Unmarried Parents in Massachusetts:

Summer Lovin' Series #4: How do Unmarried Parents pay for their Child's Expenses?

There are many expenses involved in raising a child, starting with the costs of pregnancy and continuing all the way through college.  When unmarried parents can't agree on how they will divide their child's expenses, then the court can make certain orders regarding support.

The court can order parents to pay child support, extracurricular activities, health insurance, uninsured medical costs, birthing and pregnancy costs, and even education and college expenses.

Child Support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support of the child. To obtain a court order for child support you can request that DOR file a case on your behalf, or you can file a Complaint to establish support in the court yourself (or with the assistance of an attorney).

Child Support is then typically calculated using a formula called the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The formula is presumptive, and Judges can only vary from the formula in specific circumstances. You should consult an attorney to discuss what facts in your case might warrant a variation from the formula.

To view the formula and calculate your Child Support view our Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheets click here.

For more information visit our webpage devoted specifically to information for unmarried parents.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Lovin' Series: How do Unmarried Parents work out Custody and a Parenting Plan?

Summer is finally here.  The air is humid, the sunblock is out, and it's finally time for vacations and school break.  But enjoying summer too much has its consequences.  Our Summer Lovin' series is about those consequences for Unmarried Parents in Massachusetts:

Summer Lovin' Series #3: How do Unmarried Parents work out Custody and a Parenting Plan?

Children of unmarried parents are by default in the custody of their mother. Parents can agree to share custody or arrange for visitation through collaborative negotiation or mediation when appropriate. If they can't agree then the court can create a parenting plan with the filing of a Complaint for Custody and Visitation.

A Parenting Plan is a comprehensive agreement which sets out both the time that children will spend with each parent as well as the rights and obligations of each parent to the children and the other parent during their parenting time. It can include a holiday visitation schedule, pick-up and drop-off locations, and even agreements relating to what will happen if one of the children becomes ill.

Parenting Plans can be made specific in instances where it is necessary to prevent future conflict, and they can be made flexible so that you and the other parent can make agreements outside of the parenting plan in unforeseen circumstances.  You should ask your attorney to see a sample of their Parenting Plan and to explain what each provision of the plan is for.

In addition, using a calendar to visualize proposed parenting plans can be helpful in figuring out what will work best for your family. For that purpose we have created the Parenting Plan Worksheet. You can use the Parenting Plan Worksheet to visualize typical parenting plans, including those recommended by the Massachusetts Model Parenting Plans, or create your own custom plan.

For more information visit our webpage devoted specifically to information for unmarried parents.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Lovin' Series: Who fills out the Birth Certificate when parents are not married?

Summer is finally here.  The air is humid, the sunblock is out, and it's finally time for vacations and school break.  But enjoying summer too much has its consequences.  Our Summer Lovin' series is about those consequences for Unmarried Parents in Massachusetts:

Summer Lovin' Series #2: Who fills out the Birth Certificate when parents are not married?

The Birth Certificate is completed with information provided by the mother of the baby.  If she is unmarried, then she can request the father's name be included.  In order to include the father's name he must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and then his name will appear on the birth certificate.

Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement has significant legal ramifications.  Even if a father is not the biological father, signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement could make him the legal father, with both the rights and obligations of being the father.  (see this previous related post: Could I be Forced to Pay Child Support for someone else's Child?)

For more information visit our webpage devoted specifically to information for unmarried parents.


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