Friday, July 1, 2011

Is Child Support Different if we have Joint Custody?

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are based upon the child(ren) having a primary residence with one parent and spending approximately one third of the time with the other parent.

According to the Guidelines, when two parents share equally, or approximately equally, the financial responsibility and parenting time for the child(ren), the child support shall be determined by calculating the child support guidelines twice, first with one parent as the Recipient, and second with the other parent as the Recipient. The difference in the calculations shall be paid to the parent with the lower weekly support amount.

To make this "cross-guidelines" calculation a little faster and easier, we have created a Joint Custody Child Support Worksheet (also available in a mobile version for use on smart phones).


  1. This is interesting - my (almost ex) wife works part time and the worksheet shows I would owe her $109/week (I'm paying her more than that now). I shared that with a lawyer (non-divorce lawyer) who just went through a divorce and she seemed skeptical that a judge would grant that little of an amount. Is this truly accurate? Also wondering - would a judge not take into account that my wife works part time when the child is 12 and there's no reason for her to not be working full time?

    1. Anonymous,

      Thank you for your comment and question. The calculation of child support in Massachusetts takes into account many factors including the gross income of both parties, costs of health insurance, day care and other items. In addition, it is possible in some cases to attribute income to a parent who is underemployed. Whether or not your support could change requires an evaluation of all of these factors. I encourage you to use our calculator at masschildsupportformula.com or to schedule a free 1-hour consultation here.


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