Every four years the Child Support Guidelines in Massachusetts are updated by a Task Force appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court. In 2013 the Guidelines were updated and significant changes were made to the formula and to the parenting time language. The Guidelines have been updated again for 2017, and the new guidelines took effect on September 15, 2017.
In part 1 of this blog posting I wrote about the changes with respect to parenting time.
The 2017 guidelines also offered a new formula for children between 18 and 23.
The 2013 guidelines indicated that the formula was not presumptive once a child turned 18, though the statute still allowed for support to be ordered. This left a lot of room for deviation and in many cases resulted in simply a continuation of support at the same amount. The 2017 guidelines require a 25% reduction in the amount of support attributable to a child over age 18. This means that there is a presumptive amount of support owed for children over 18, up until age 23, though the court still has discretion to deviate, and the emancipation factors still apply.
When there are multiple children Table B on the Worksheet indicates how the total percentage is reduced, since only the portion attributable to the adult child should be affected.
This change will certainly lead to numerous modification requests by parents, and I am hopeful that many of them will consider using mediation and filing Joint Petitions for Modification rather than litigating these issues which should be pretty straightforward under the new guidelines.