What is Child Support?
"Child Support" is money a parent pays to support their children when their children don't live with them. They pay the other parent or another person who is responsible for taking care of their children. Parents do not pay child support to their children. The money is to help pay for your children's needs.
Child support helps pay for your child's:
- 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.
Usually, the court will order the other parent to pay at least $80.00/month. In rare cases, if the other parent has very little money, the court might not order them to pay any child support at all.
If the other parent is not working, the court may order them to do job searches and to report their job search efforts to the court.
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.