When a couple with young children gets divorced, the higher-earning spouse is generally required to pay child support in addition to alimony. The money paid in the form of child support payments is meant for the expenses associated with raising young children.
Child Support in Massachusetts
Under Massachusetts law, a wide range of factors need to be taken into consideration in order to determine which parent pays child support and how much should they pay. These factors include:
- The number of children the couple has
- Whether the child or children will be staying with one parent (sole custody) or with both parents for equal lengths of time (joint custody)
- The current income or potential income of each parent
- The expenses associated with daycare and child care
- The amount of alimony paid by one spouse to the other
- If the spouse who pays the alimony has other families and whether they provide financial assistance to those family members
For a divorced couple, child support can be just as contentious an issue as alimony. They might find it hard to trust each other and, as a result, might not be able to come up with a child support agreement which is fair to all the parties involved – the parents as well as the children.
For these types of couples, divorce mediation can be a preferred option, since it can help them resolve the issue of child support without antagonizing each other.
How Child Support Mediation Can Benefit Divorced Couples
Child support mediation encourages you and your spouse to focus on the present and the future, rather than getting fixated on each other’s past mistakes. The mediator can help you understand that child support is not merely a financial issue, but rather, a tool to provide your children with the care and support they need and ensure their wellbeing.
Utilizing the state’s child support guidelines to come up with a child support agreement is a good idea, but it does not always work. The guidelines are standardized for the average couple and might not address the unique concerns and needs of your family.
Mediation, on the other hand, is designed to reward creativity and innovative thinking when it comes to resolving parental issues. In the presence of a Massachusetts child support mediator, you and your spouse can be candid with each other, address each other’s genuine concerns regarding your child’s future, and come up with a child support agreement that you both agree with.
For instance, you and your spouse can contribute equally to your children’s life insurance and health insurance plans. Or you can choose to pool your income – with the higher-earning parent paying the larger share – to pay for the wide range of expenses associated with your children’s education.
Child’s Interests Above All Else
Generally, if the parent who pays alimony and child support is not satisfied with the arrangement, they might delay their payments or choose not to pay at all, in which case external enforcement might be necessary.
When parents come together and cooperate with each other to come up with a mutually beneficial agreement, the parent who pays child support need not be coerced or threatened with legal consequences. They will happily pay their share, knowing that they are investing in their children’s futures with each payment.
Most importantly, child support mediation can iron out the differences between you and your spouse and help you maintain a cordial relationship with them even after the divorce. As a result, your children are assured of two loving and equally caring parents, which is what they need the most in their life.
Speak to a Child Support Mediator in Massachusetts
A child support mediator from Shapiro Mediation Services can be a dependable and knowledgeable partner in a time of need. To learn more and speak with a child support mediator in Massachusetts, call us at (339) 298-7733 or complete our online contact form.