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Child Support

What is Child Support?

"Child support" is money one parent pays the other when parents do not live together. The money is to help pay for your children's needs.

Child support helps pay for your child's:

  • Housing,
  • Health insurance and medical costs, including birth-related costs,
  • Child care costs,
  • Education costs, and
  • Food and clothing.

Massachusetts laws say both parents must support their children. It does not matter if the parents are married, divorced, separated, or never married.

If your children live with you most of the time you are the "custodial" parent. If your children live with the other parent most of the time, you are the "non-custodial" parent.

Usually, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.

Often the court also orders the non-custodial parent to provide health insurance for the children.  The court can only add health insurance coverage to a child support order if health insurance is available at a reasonable cost.

When children are on public assistance like welfare or TAFDC, the state collects the child support. Then the state sends $50 of child support to the other parent. The rest goes to pay back the cost of the public assistance the children get.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

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