Cambridge, MA asked in Child Support and Family Law for Massachusetts

Q: Will I have to pay child support because I make more than my ex?

So my ex and I have never been married and we have never gone to court for any child custody. I plan on taking him to court to do that but my biggest fear is that I’ll have to pay him for child support because I make more than him. Would I have to pay him for child support?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brian Waller
Brian Waller
  • Worcester, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Not necessarily. Child support isn't solely based on income, the biggest factor is which parent has primary physical custody of the child. The child support guidelines also factor in other expenses paid on behalf of the child, like daycare or health insurance.

The way the child support guidelines calculation works, the parent with primary physical custody always receives child support. Even If the parent with primary physical custody also has a much higher income, the calculation works out that the other parent would pay the minimum (currently $25/week). A judge could deviate from this, but that is the starting point.

If custody of the child is shared 50/50, then there would be a much higher likelihood the parent with the higher income would pay child support. You can find child support calculators online, but the calculation can be confusing. An attorney would be able to give you a better answer based on the specifics of your situation.

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