Child support is measured with the “Child Support Guidelines”; amongst other things, the theory of Child support is to mathematically meld the parents’ households together and then give the Child the benefits of the virtually combined household. From there the Court may deviate, either up or down, if the guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances in your case.
Can I Suspend Visitation Because I’m Not Getting Child Support?
While some states allow a court to suspend visitation to enforce support payments, Massachusetts does not allow this.
Does Custody and Visitation Affect the Amount of Child Support?
Yes. If physical custody is granted to one parent, then the other parent will pay child support. However, a traditional physical custody award assumes that the child spends approximately one third of the time visiting the other parent. If the time spent with parents varies from one-third visiting and two-thirds with custodial parent, then child support may vary from a strict application of the child support guidelines. The child support guidelines call for a different formula when time spent with the child approaches an even split. Furthermore, an argument can be made that failure of a non-custodial parent to exercise his or her visitation rights may result in an increase in child support obligations.
What Effect Does Remarriage Have on Child Support?
In most cases, remarriage has no effect on a prior child support order. However, where the new spouse has high income or assets, this could be different. Child support is based on certain concepts. One of them is that each parent has to use their income for their own living expenses and obligations. While a new spouse has no obligation to support a step child, they do have an obligation to support their spouse. Where the new spouse has enough income to support themselves and the parent, this could mean that the parent has more income available to support the child. As such, a judge could change the child support by considering this factor
I Don’t Want to Pay Child Support Any More. Can I Relinquish My Parental Rights?
Generally, no. The courts will only terminate parental rights when there is another person adopting the child to take over the child support obligation or in extreme cases of abuse. The focus of child support is the child and not the paying parent. Termination of parental rights harms the child by reducing the parents of the child by one. This is considered harmful to a child. Certainly, a child support obligation can be burdensome to a parent. However, the parent does not have the option of eliminating child support by terminating parental rights.