Child Support & Contempt

Fall River Child Support Attorney

Located in Somerset, Massachusetts, and representing mothers and fathers in Fall River and throughout southeastern Massachusetts, Miguel Law Offices provides clients with personalized legal representation. I am Jennifer Smith Miguel, a knowledgeable and skilled family law attorney with more than 21 years of experience handling child support issues, including:

  • Establishing child support orders
  • Modifying existing child support orders
  • Paternity testing to determine child support obligations
  • Filing contempt proceedings for nonpayment of child support

Call 508-296-0107 or toll free at 866-360-5082 for a confidential consultation with me, an experienced Somerset child support lawyer, about your case, including issues involving child support payments and contempt proceedings for nonpayment of child support.

Helping You Understand Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

Effective January 1, 2009, new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines went into effect. The principles of the new guidelines remain consistent with the old guidelines; however, there are several different considerations factored in to determine the reasonable amount of support to be ordered. Under the current Massachusetts child support guidelines, there is a mathematical formula that takes into account the following:

  • Health care: Guidelines now recognize the increased costs of health insurance and the impact of mandatory health insurance on citizens in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Joint parental responsibility: Child support guidelines encourage joint parental responsibility and recognize monetary and non monetary contributions of both parents.
  • Income calculations: Unlike the old guidelines, both parents' income — gross income, less health insurance — is now used to calculate the child support obligation.
  • Residence: There is a presumption that the child(ren) subject to the order has a primary residence with one parent and spends approximately one-third of the time with the other parent.
  • Child care costs: Child support guidelines allow both parents to deduct the reasonable cost of child care costs (day care or babysitter).

Even though the guidelines set forth a strict set of factors and requirements, exceptions are possible, and certain circumstances may allow for a deviation from the child support guidelines. As an experienced Bristol County child support lawyer, I will be able to explain the child support guidelines to you, as well as listen to your unique situation and tell you if a deviation from the guidelines may be possible.

Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement and Contempt: Are You Receiving Regular Child Support Payments?

My firm assists in helping clients file contempt proceedings for nonpayment of support. Additionally, I also assist clients seeking contempt actions for failure to comply with court orders and mandates in other family law matters, including failure to pay child support (sometimes referred to as "deadbeat dads" or "deadbeat moms").

A Complaint for Contempt may be filed against a party for willful disobedience of a court order, such as nonpayment of child support, failure to maintain health insurance or for failure to pay uninsured medical expenses.

There is no filing fee for any complaint for contempt relating to issues involving children. If the payor is found to be in contempt by the Probate and Family Court, the judge may order the disobedient parent to pay the other parent's attorney's fees and out-of-pocket costs associated with the litigation. In some cases, the non compliant party found in contempt may be sent to House of Correction as a sanction by the court. I have years of experience representing mothers' and fathers' contempt actions, both prosecuting the contempt or defending against an allegation of contempt. Miguel Law Offices has a proven track record of success in handling these types of actions.

Child Support Modifications

When there is a change in circumstances — such as when a parent loses his or her job or a parent acquires a new source of regular income — the existing child support orders may no longer be appropriate. Child support orders that are less than three years old may be modified when it can be demonstrated that a material and substantial change in circumstances justifies child support modification. Orders that are more than three years old may be modified by applying current child support guidelines. My firm can assist in helping you pursue or challenge a request for child support modification.

Contact a New Bedford and Fall River Child Support Lawyer

To discuss your child support or contempt matter with an experienced family law attorney, please schedule your confidential consultation with me today. Call my law firm at 508-296-0107, toll free at 866-360-5082 or contact my family law office online.