Middlesex County Child Custody Lawyer

Assisting Parents Throughout Central Massachusetts With Custody And Child Support

Massachusetts law calls for acting in the best interests of the child when determining custody and visitation. The court reviews the specifics of your family's situation and makes a decision based on what will benefit your child the most.

Of course, a family court judge does not know your child as well as you and the child's other parent does. That is why we strive to reach an agreement on custody and child support issues through negotiations. By resolving these important matters without litigating, parents retain more control over the structure of their child's post-divorce life.

The court does attempt to keep both parents involved in a child's life, although it does not automatically aim for a 50-50 split in terms of actual time with a child. Whether you expect to work out custody and support arrangements with your child's other parent, or you feel litigation may be required, it is critical to enlist the services of an experienced Middlesex County child custody attorney.

In addition to initial child custody and support orders, we represent parents seeking modification of custody or support when there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

The legal team at the Law Offices of Renee Lazar in Bedford, Massachusetts, works to ensure that children benefit from the best that both parents have to offer.

We will work with you and your child's other parent to develop a parenting plan, which is merely an agreement that outlines a parenting arrangement used by both parents. Parenting plans typically outline the following aspects of a child's custody and visitation:

  • Where the child will live
  • Who has the child on which days
  • Who makes major decisions regarding education, health care, welfare and other aspects of a child's life
  • What will happen if one parent's situation changes

Lexington Child Support Attorney

Child support in Massachusetts follows a formula that is spelled out in the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are applied whether the parents are married or unmarried, and they are designed to provide the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents remained together.

The court determines the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent will pay based upon the parent's adjusted gross income and the number of children involved.

Key changes to the new child support guidelines effective August 1, 2013 include:

  • Income from the means tested benefits such as SSI, state cash assistance programs and food stamps are excluded for both parties from the calculation of their support obligations.
  • A new formula is provided for calculating support where parenting time and expenditures are less than equal (50/50) but more than the assumed standard split of two thirds/one third.
  • Guidance and clarification is given in the area of child support over the age of 18 where appropriate. While the guidelines apply, the court may consider a child's living arrangements and post-secondary education. Contribution to post-secondary education may be ordered after consideration of several factors set forth in the guidelines and such contributions must be considered in setting the weekly support order, if any.
  • Reference is made to the 2011 Alimony Reform Act; the guidelines does not, however, provide a specific formula or approach for calculating alimony and child support in cases where both may be appropriate.
  • Availability of employment at the attributed income level must be considered in attribution of income cases.
  • The guidelines makes clear that all, some or none of the income from secondary jobs or overtime may be considered by the court, regardless of whether this is new income or was historically earned prior to dissolution of the relationship.
  • Circumstances justifying a deviation are expanded to include extraordinary health insurance expenses, child care costs that are disproportionate to income or when a parent is providing less than one-third parenting time.

We can answer your questions regarding child support and child custody during a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our experienced family law lawyer.