New Haven, CT asked in Family Law and Child Support for Massachusetts

Q: Can wife’s ex-husband just stop paying child support and decide what he’s going to pay? In MA

He said he’s going to stop paying for 21 year old who is going in to her 5th year of full time college. She still resides with us and we pay a 99% of her expenses. He said he’s going to cut child support in half because the have two children. He said he went to lawyer and because he has two new children his portion would be reduced if they went to court. A. Can he just stop paying for the one child? B. Does having new children effect the rate of child support he was originally paying? C. How is that calculated using the MA child support worksheet?

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

A: The ex-husband can't unilaterally make changes to child support, no matter the reason. It can only be done via a court order. That court order could be the result of a written agreement by the parties to make changes or from a judge after a hearing, but the ex would be in contempt if he just changed the amount.

Regarding the child that is 21, he would need to get an order to stop support, but if it is paid through DOR then DOR may stop it automatically on the child's 21st birthday. That should only happen if there is one child though, as DOR wouldn't be able to calculate support for the remaining child.

Regarding children he had AFTER the 2 children with his ex-wife, they are not a justification for a reduction of support. If the wife was seeking an increase in child support, the subsequent children can be used as a defense to an increase. The judge would have discretion on how to handle that issue given the other moving parts.

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