Child Support & Modifications

Child Support & Modifications

In this guide, we'll go over details on Child Support law.


What Is Child Support?

Child support is money a parent pays to support their children when they do not live with them. The money is used to help pay for the children’s needs. It can be used for the child’s: 

  • Housing 
  • Health Insurance
  • Education 
  • Food & Clothing 

How is Child Support Determined?

Child support in Massachusetts can be determined via the Child Support Guideline Worksheet.  

 

WHAT YOU NEED:  

To get a child support order, you need to file a complaint (a written request of what you’re seeking) in court. Start in the Registry of the Probate and Family Court for the county where you live.


Forms to File for Each Situation (you can search the internet for each form name/number):

If you are married to the other parent   

  • If you’re married and filing for a divorce 
  • If you’re seeking a divorce, see our divorce pamphlet. 
  • If you want to file for separate support but don’t want a divorce, see separate support for information and forms. 
  • You will need to file: a Complaint for Separate Support (CJD 102)  
  • A Copy of Civil Marriage Certificate
    • A certified copy comes from your town or city’s clerk or by the registrar of vital records  
  • A Financial Statement 
    • An example of a financial statement are income statements  
    • If you have children with your spouse, you will also need to file 
    • an Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings (OCAJ-1 TRC IV)  
    • a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (CJD 304

 If you are NOT married to the other parent  

  • If the other parent hasn’t signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (a legal form signed by the mother and father, acknowledging they are the parents of the child) or been determined by a judge to be the parent: 
  • File: a Complaint to Establish Paternity (CJD 106) in the county where the child lives. 
  •  

 If paternity has been established by a voluntary acknowledge or a court judgment  

  • File: a Complaint for Support, Custody, Visitation (CJD 109) in the county where the child lives. 

 

(Content Adapted from Mass.gov https://www.mass.gov/orgs/child-support-enforcement-division)


Suffolk Probate and Family Court

24 New Chardon St.

Boston, MA 02114

(617) 788 - 8301

M-F 8am – 4:30pm

Communities Served: Boston, Brighton, Charlestown, Chelsea, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Revere, Roslindale, South Boston, and Winthrop.

 

Middlesex Probate and Family Court

208 Cambridge Street 

Cambridge, MA 02141

(617) 768- 5800

M-F 8am – 4:30pm

Communities Served: Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn.

 

New Bedford Probate Court

505 Pleasant Street

New Bedford, MA 02740

(508) 999-5249

M-F 8am-4:30pm

Communities Served: Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, Acushnet, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Freetown, Mansfield, North Attleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Westport.

 

(Content Adapted from Mass.gov: https://www.mass.gov/child-custody-and-parenting-time)


How To Modify/Change Child Support

There are two ways to modify child support 

  1. Ask the Department of Revenue (DOR) for help 
  2. File modification forms on your own  

 If you ask the Department of Revenue (DOR) for help  

      • You will need to send them paperwork that will explain why the amount should change  
      • Examples of paperwork are:  Paystubs 
        • Bank statements 
        • A letter of unemployment benefits  
      • After sending the paper, the DOR will decide if it makes sense to ask the court for a change.  
      • They will notify you by letter if they can or cannot help  

How To Contact The DOR:

Mail the forms and any other necessary documents to the DOR at:  

DOR/CSE 

P.O. Box 7057 

Boston, MA 02204

 

If you file for modification on your own 

  • You will need to file 
    • A Complaint for Modification OR 
    • A Joint Petition / Motion to Change a Judgment/ Temporary Order  You can file these at your local probate courthouse  

How To Pay

If You Have Been Ordered To Pay Child Support Through Income Withholding:

  • Your employer will take the money from your paycheck  
  • They will send the money to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR).  
  • DOR will then send the payments to the other parent.  

 If You Haven't Been Ordered To Pay Child Support By Income Withholding:

  • You must send your payments directly to DOR. 

 

WAYS TO PAY

  • Online 
  • By mail 
  • In-person 
  • By phone  

 

(Content Adapted from Mass.gov https://www.mass.gov/orgs/child-support-enforcement-division)