What is Child Support?
"Child support" is money paid by one parent to the other to provide for their children's needs when the parents do not live together. Massachusetts law requires that children be supported as much as possible from the resources of their parents. The payment of child support by a parent is one way in which that policy is carried out.
Parents are responsible for the support of their children whether they are married, divorced, separated, or never married to each other.
Usually, the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not live with the child) pays child support to the custodial parent (the parent who has the child living in his or her home). Often, in addition to child support, the court orders the non-custodial parent to cover the children on his or her health insurance plan, when it is available at reasonable cost, as required by law.
When children receive on public assistance ("welfare" or "TAFDC"), the state collects the child support from the non-custodial parent. The state sends $50 per month of the child support to the parent and children who are receiving public assistance. The rest of the child support goes to repay the state for the cost of public assistance.