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2017 Massachusetts Child Support Calculator
This Child Support Calculator uses the 2017 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, which took effect September 15, 2017. We are still finding some bugs in this calculatorplease let me know if your get any results that differ from those in the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
To use this calculator, simply:
a) Enter a name for yourself and your spouse (fake names are fine)
b) Enter the number of children under age 18 that you have together
c) Enter the number of children you have together who i) have turned 18 but not yet turned 23 and ii) live with you or are supported by you. If a child is still attending high school, treat the child as under 18.
d) Indicate the amount of time that the child spends with each parent by choosing from among 3 choices: about 50% time with each parent, about 1/3 of the time with you and 2/3 of the time with your spouse, or about 2/3 of the time with you and 1/3 of the time with your spouse. Choose the one that is closest to your situation, even if it doesn't match it. Unfortunately, the state does not provide formulas or exact guidelines for any custody percentages except for these three. If a spouse has the child much less than 1/3 of the time, a judge may increase child support above the amount calculated here.
e) Enter weekly income for each spouse and how much each spouse spends per week on childcare and health care and on alimony or child support paid out for a previous relationship or marriage.
To use this calculator, simply:
a) Enter a name for yourself and your spouse (fake names are fine)
b) Enter the number of children under age 18 that you have together
c) Enter the number of children you have together who i) have turned 18 but not yet turned 23 and ii) live with you or are supported by you. If a child is still attending high school, treat the child as under 18.
d) Indicate the amount of time that the child spends with each parent by choosing from among 3 choices: about 50% time with each parent, about 1/3 of the time with you and 2/3 of the time with your spouse, or about 2/3 of the time with you and 1/3 of the time with your spouse. Choose the one that is closest to your situation, even if it doesn't match it. Unfortunately, the state does not provide formulas or exact guidelines for any custody percentages except for these three. If a spouse has the child much less than 1/3 of the time, a judge may increase child support above the amount calculated here.
e) Enter weekly income for each spouse and how much each spouse spends per week on childcare and health care and on alimony or child support paid out for a previous relationship or marriage.
b) How many children under age 18 do you have together?:
c) How many children do you have together (and you are still supporting) that have turned 18 but not yet turned 23?:
d) Which of the following three choices is closest to describing the amount of time the children spend with each parent?
About 33% with Petitioner B and 67% with Petitioner A
About 50% of the time with each parent
About 33% with Petitioner A and 67% with Petitioner B
About 50% of the time with each parent
About 33% with Petitioner A and 67% with Petitioner B
e) Gross weekly income:
Child Care cost each week:
Health Insurance cost each week:
Dental/Vision cost each week:
Weekly alimony or child support paid out to a previous marriage:
Child Support Results and Worksheet Calculations
pays
Below are the calculations that lead to the child support amount. The numbering and description of each line come directly from the Massachusetts Probate Court's CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET, which is a required document for divorce cases. You can use the numbers from this calculator to fill in this worksheet.
Below are the calculations that lead to the child support amount. The numbering and description of each line come directly from the Massachusetts Probate Court's CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET, which is a required document for divorce cases. Because you indicated that each parent will have the children about 50% of the time, you will see two sets of calculations. The first one calculates child support as if had most of the parenting time, and the second one calculates child support as if had most of the parenting time. The actual presumptive ("expected") payment in this 5050 custody situation is the mathematical difference between the two calculated amounts, with the higher income spouse (typically) paying this difference. This calculation is shown at the bottom of the page.
CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATION  to
1. NUMBER AND AGES OF CHILDREN
a. Number of children under age 18
b. Number of children 18 years or older who may be eligible to be covered by this order
c. Total number of children to be covered by this order
Bob, RECIPIENT
Jennifer, PAYOR
2. INCOME
a. Gross weekly income
b. Minus Child care cost paid
c. Minus Health care cost paid
d. Minus Dental/vision insurance cost paid
e. Minus Other support obligations paid
f. Available Income
g. Combined Available Income
h. Share of combined available income
3. PROPORTIONAL SUPPORT AMOUNTS
a. Applicable available income
b. Support amount for one child
c. Adjustment for number and ages of children covered by this order
d. Combined support amount
e. Minus Recipient's share of support
f. Payor's share of support
Bob, RECIPIENT
Jennifer, PAYOR
4. ADJUSTMENT FOR CHILD CARE AND HEALTH CARE COSTS
a. Child care and health care cost paid
b. Payor's share of Recipient's cost
c. Minus Recipient's share of Payor's cost
d. Payor's new cost
e. Maximum adjustment amount
f. Adjustment applied to order
g. Payor's adjusted share of support
5. ADJUSTED WEEKLY SUPPORT AMOUNT
a. Support as % of Recipient income
b. Payor's adjusted weekly support amount
6. ADDITIONAL INCOME ABOVE $4,808
a. Combined additional income
b. Share of combined addtional income
End of CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET
Weekly Child Support Payment from to
This next set of calculations use the same calculations and worksheet as the one above, but this time it treats as having most of the parenting time.
CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATION  to
1. NUMBER AND AGES OF CHILDREN
a. Number of children under age 18
b. Number of children 18 years or older who may be eligible to be covered by this order
c. Total number of children to be covered by this order
, RECIPIENT
, PAYOR
2. INCOME
a. Gross weekly income
b. Minus Child care cost paid
c. Minus Health care cost paid
d. Minus Dental/vision insurance cost paid
e. Minus Other support obligations paid
f. Available Income
g. Combined Available Income
h. Share of combined available income
3. PROPORTIONAL SUPPORT AMOUNTS
a. Applicable available income
b. Support amount for one child
c. Adjustment for number and ages of children covered by this order
d. Combined support amount
e. Minus Recipient's share of support
f. Payor's share of support
, RECIPIENT
, PAYOR
4. ADJUSTMENT FOR CHILD CARE AND HEALTH CARE COSTS
a. Child care and health care cost paid
b. Payor's share of Recipient's cost
c. Minus Recipient's share of Payor's cost
d. Payor's new cost
e. Maximum adjustment amount
f. Adjustment applied to order
g. Payor's adjusted share of support
5. ADJUSTED WEEKLY SUPPORT AMOUNT
a. Support as % of Recipient income
b. Payor's adjusted weekly support amount
6. ADDITIONAL INCOME ABOVE $4,808
a. Combined additional income
b. Share of combined addtional income
End of CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET
Weekly Child Support Payment from to
FINAL CALCULATION OF PRESUMPTIVE CHILD SUPPORT WITH 50% PARENTING TIME FOR EACH PARENT
These calculations find the difference between what would pay if had most of the parenting time and what would pay if had most of the parenting time. The higher income spouse pays this calculated difference as child support to the other spouse.
Presumptive Payment from to
Presumptive Payment from to
pays this amount each week
The 2017 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Fail Math:
The State Child Support Guidelines Worksheet generates the wrong outcomes in all calculations that include children under18 and over18 at the same time
Posted by Professor Benjamin Bailey, September 18, 2017
[email protected]
If you appreciate the work I have done here, I ask that you add a link to this page on your blog, website, or article.
The 20162017 Child Support Guidelines Task Force modified Massachusetts child support laws. One modification specified that the amount of child support for many eligible children between 18 and 22 should be reduced by 25%. Unfortunately, the economic consultants hired by the Task Force failed to do the high school level math correctly, and they created a table of numbers to use in child support calculations in which half of the numbers are wrong.
This means that as of September 15, 2017, every child support calculation that involves a) at least one child under 18 AND b) at least one child over 18 will give wrong results. These errors are most obvious in cases where adding an additional child to the calculator LOWERS your overall support. The Task Force intended for additional children over 18 to increase overall child support, but to increase it by less than it would increase by adding a child under age 18. Instead, in four cases, it actually LOWERS the overall child support award.
The guideline child support amounts are only correct in cases where all the children are under 18, or when all the children are over 18. If both kinds of children—over 18 and under 18—are put into the Child Support Guideline Worksheet at the same time, the presumptive child support outcomes are wrong.
If you would like to see this for yourself, run the following 3 scenarios through the 2017 Massachusetts CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET. The parents’ income stays the same in all three scenarios, and there are 3 children under 18, who remain constant, in all three scenarios. In Scenario 2, a child over 18 is added to the existing 3 children under 18. In Scenario 3, two children over 18 are added to the existing 3 children. Adding children results in actual, total child support decreasing, from $538 in Scenario 1 with 3 children, to $531 in Scenario 2 with 4 children, and $519 in Scenario 3 with 5 children.
Scenario 1:
Number of Children:
3 children under 18
0 children 1823
Income (same in all 3 scenarios):
Recipient income is $500/week; Payor income is $2000/week
Result:
$538 week presumptive child support payment
Scenario 2:
Number of Children:
3 children under 18
add 1 child 1823
Income (same in all 3 scenarios):
Recipient income is $500/week; Payor income is $2000/week
Result:
$531 week presumptive child support payment
Scenario 3:
Number of Children:
3 children under 18
add 2 children 1823
Income (same in all 3 scenarios):
Recipient income is $500/week; Payor income is $2000/week
Result:
$519 week presumptive child support payment
As you can see, adding more children DECREASES the amount of child support ordered. This is a math error. It was not the intention of the Task Force, as described in their actual CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES document.
[email protected]
If you appreciate the work I have done here, I ask that you add a link to this page on your blog, website, or article.
The 20162017 Child Support Guidelines Task Force modified Massachusetts child support laws. One modification specified that the amount of child support for many eligible children between 18 and 22 should be reduced by 25%. Unfortunately, the economic consultants hired by the Task Force failed to do the high school level math correctly, and they created a table of numbers to use in child support calculations in which half of the numbers are wrong.
This means that as of September 15, 2017, every child support calculation that involves a) at least one child under 18 AND b) at least one child over 18 will give wrong results. These errors are most obvious in cases where adding an additional child to the calculator LOWERS your overall support. The Task Force intended for additional children over 18 to increase overall child support, but to increase it by less than it would increase by adding a child under age 18. Instead, in four cases, it actually LOWERS the overall child support award.
The guideline child support amounts are only correct in cases where all the children are under 18, or when all the children are over 18. If both kinds of children—over 18 and under 18—are put into the Child Support Guideline Worksheet at the same time, the presumptive child support outcomes are wrong.
If you would like to see this for yourself, run the following 3 scenarios through the 2017 Massachusetts CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET. The parents’ income stays the same in all three scenarios, and there are 3 children under 18, who remain constant, in all three scenarios. In Scenario 2, a child over 18 is added to the existing 3 children under 18. In Scenario 3, two children over 18 are added to the existing 3 children. Adding children results in actual, total child support decreasing, from $538 in Scenario 1 with 3 children, to $531 in Scenario 2 with 4 children, and $519 in Scenario 3 with 5 children.
Scenario 1:
Number of Children:
3 children under 18
0 children 1823
Income (same in all 3 scenarios):
Recipient income is $500/week; Payor income is $2000/week
Result:
$538 week presumptive child support payment
Scenario 2:
Number of Children:
3 children under 18
add 1 child 1823
Income (same in all 3 scenarios):
Recipient income is $500/week; Payor income is $2000/week
Result:
$531 week presumptive child support payment
Scenario 3:
Number of Children:
3 children under 18
add 2 children 1823
Income (same in all 3 scenarios):
Recipient income is $500/week; Payor income is $2000/week
Result:
$519 week presumptive child support payment
As you can see, adding more children DECREASES the amount of child support ordered. This is a math error. It was not the intention of the Task Force, as described in their actual CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES document.
Where does the error come from?
The errors all come from having the wrong numbers in “TABLE B: ADJUSTMENT FOR NUMBER AND AGES OF CHILDREN,” a table at the bottom of the CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET, which looks like this:
The erroneous numbers are introduced into the Worksheet at Line 3.c "Adjustment for number and ages of children covered by this order." A smaller number in this spot in the Worksheet results in a lower presumptive child support amount, and a larger number results in a larger presumptive child support amount. All of the erroneous numbers in Table B are too small, resulting in presumptive child support numbers that are too small.
This table with errors was created on pp. 2021 of a document called Economic Review of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, 20167, which was created by economic consulting groups. (I wonder how much they were paid?) I will try to explain where their math went wrong later, after I study it.
First, note that the first column (from 1.00 to 1.48) and the first row (from .75 to 1.11) ARE correct. It is only the numbers that result from combining children both over18 and under18 that are incorrect.
Even cursory examination of Table B shows that the numbers don’t make sense. As you can see, numbers in the first row grow larger as you move to the right, and numbers in the first column grown larger as you move down. This makes sense, because as you have more children, child support payments increase. But if you look at the rows that start with 1.25, 1.38, and 1.45, the numbers start going down when you add more children!!
A more complicated way to see it is to think about how much you get for adding a child. If you have one child under 18, you get “1”. If you have two children under 18, you get “1.25”, which is 25% more. So adding a second child (under 18), gets you 25% more than you would get for just having one child.
If you have a child under 18 and you add a child over 18, you should get almost as much as for having 2 children under 18. You should get exactly 25% less for adding the child over 18. This means you should get 75% of the “under18secondchildincrease”. In other words, you should get 75% of .25 (this is the standard increase for a second childsee below), which is .1875, rounded to .19. So the number in Table B for 1 child under 18 with 1 child over 18 should be 1.19, in the spot where the current table has an erroneous 1.09.
This table with errors was created on pp. 2021 of a document called Economic Review of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, 20167, which was created by economic consulting groups. (I wonder how much they were paid?) I will try to explain where their math went wrong later, after I study it.
First, note that the first column (from 1.00 to 1.48) and the first row (from .75 to 1.11) ARE correct. It is only the numbers that result from combining children both over18 and under18 that are incorrect.
Even cursory examination of Table B shows that the numbers don’t make sense. As you can see, numbers in the first row grow larger as you move to the right, and numbers in the first column grown larger as you move down. This makes sense, because as you have more children, child support payments increase. But if you look at the rows that start with 1.25, 1.38, and 1.45, the numbers start going down when you add more children!!
A more complicated way to see it is to think about how much you get for adding a child. If you have one child under 18, you get “1”. If you have two children under 18, you get “1.25”, which is 25% more. So adding a second child (under 18), gets you 25% more than you would get for just having one child.
If you have a child under 18 and you add a child over 18, you should get almost as much as for having 2 children under 18. You should get exactly 25% less for adding the child over 18. This means you should get 75% of the “under18secondchildincrease”. In other words, you should get 75% of .25 (this is the standard increase for a second childsee below), which is .1875, rounded to .19. So the number in Table B for 1 child under 18 with 1 child over 18 should be 1.19, in the spot where the current table has an erroneous 1.09.
What should the numbers in Table B look like?
The numbers for Table B are not hard to calculate. I have not had math since high school, but I was able to put formulas into a spreadsheet and generate the correct numbers in about 15 minutes. (How much did the economic consultants get paid?)
The correct numbers for Table B should look like this:
The correct numbers for Table B should look like this:
As you can see with even a quick scan, the numbers always go up if you move to the right across a row. In other words, you always get more child support if you have more children. This is the intention of the child support law.
A little explanation of the logic and math:
Child support does not double for having two children instead of one, or triple for having three children instead of one. Child support increases by a percentage that decreases for each successive child. Assuming the children are under 18, it increases by 25% for a second child; 10% for a third child; 5% for a fourth child, and just 2% for a fifth child. These rates of increase have been set by law since at least August 2013.
The 2017 law specifies that children over 18 should count for 25% less than younger children in child support calculations. Thus if one moves from 1 child under 18 (which generates “1” in Table B), one simply has to add 75% of the normal 25% increase.
You can see these formulas by downloading the spreadsheet here that I used to make these Table B calculations.
I will add more later.
If you appreciate the work I am doing here, please add a link to this page on your blog or website: http://www.amherstdivorce.com/machildsupportcalculator.html
A little explanation of the logic and math:
Child support does not double for having two children instead of one, or triple for having three children instead of one. Child support increases by a percentage that decreases for each successive child. Assuming the children are under 18, it increases by 25% for a second child; 10% for a third child; 5% for a fourth child, and just 2% for a fifth child. These rates of increase have been set by law since at least August 2013.
The 2017 law specifies that children over 18 should count for 25% less than younger children in child support calculations. Thus if one moves from 1 child under 18 (which generates “1” in Table B), one simply has to add 75% of the normal 25% increase.
You can see these formulas by downloading the spreadsheet here that I used to make these Table B calculations.
I will add more later.
If you appreciate the work I am doing here, please add a link to this page on your blog or website: http://www.amherstdivorce.com/machildsupportcalculator.html
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