Calculating, Requesting, and Paying Child Support in Massachusetts

Quick Tips on the Massachusetts Child Support Process

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The state of Massachusetts uses specific guidelines to determine child support. Parents who want to estimate either how much child support they owe, or how much child support they will receive, should use Massachusetts’ interactive child support calculator, which is provided by the state.

Tips for Making Support Calculation Estimates

Only use the Massachusetts child support calculator provided by the state’s Department of Revenue. Third-party child support calculators may not provide users with a reliable, accurate child support estimate. Even the Massachusetts child support calculator is an estimate only.

In order to use the calculator, you will need to know the gross weekly income of both parents, including wages, tips, bonuses, self-employment earnings, investment income, and all other sources of income.

You will also need to know about certain expenses for each parent, including child care, health insurance, and dental and vision premiums, and other child support obligations.

Tips for Receiving Child Support

Become familiar with Massachusetts’ child support guidelines, which outlines what level of payment a parent must make or receive based on various factors like income and expenses.

You can file for child support services online through the Department of Revenue. When filing for child support, provide as much detailed, accurate information as you can about the other parent and your children. You will need your social security number, too.

The state of Massachusetts prefers to distribute child support payments electronically. As such, parents receiving child support in Massachusetts will be asked to receive payments through direct deposit or a Massachusetts debit card. You can still get paper checks, but you must demonstrate an inability to access the funds, for example, you have a physical disability, a reading or language barrier, or you live and work more than five miles away from an ATM or bank where you can get the funds.

If you are receiving child support payments, you are responsible to notify the Massachusetts Department of Revenue of changes to your name, social security number, driver's license number, address or telephone number, or employer changes, including the address of employment.

Tips for Parents Who Owe Child Support

You can make child support payments online through the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Also, your payments can be withheld from your paychecks if you choose or a court order mandates it. Do not send payments directly to the other parent. If you do, there will be no record of your payment and you may be considered delinquent and enforcement will take action. Do not pay with cash, and keep your canceled check or money order receipts. Print your social security number on your check or money order.

Be aware that the state of Massachusetts charges interest on unpaid child support. If you have difficulty paying child support, consider requesting a child support modification. The state considers situations like new military orders, updated paystubs, bank statements, and income tax returns, application for public assistance, costs of health insurance, unemployment benefits, workers' compensation claims, or documentation of disability or an injury.