Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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What if court ordered child support is not paid?

When a Massachusetts couple with children considers divorce, many different factors will each play a part in the planning. In most cases, child support will form a vital part in the post-divorce welfare of the children. Although there are child support guidelines to assist a parent in estimating the amount of child support the court may order, it is not guaranteed income. The U.S. Census Bureau report for 2011 indicated that one-third of court-ordered child support was never collected by custodial parents, and almost half of court-ordered child support payments were not made in full.

The ideal situation for a custodial parent would be to receive the full amount of awarded child support every month; however, these statistics indicates that it may be wise not to rely on child support. Circumstances can change, and even a parent with the best of intentions can be laid off or suffer one of many unanticipated financial stumbling blocks that may render him or her unable to pay the obligated support. In many cases, such situations cause high levels of stress to both parents.

If the paying parent remarries and has to support a family with new dependents, the court may modify the child support to a lower amount, derailing the receiving parent's budget if it was built around the child support. One way of preparing for such situations is for child support not to play the most major part in the budget. Establishing an emergency fund to provide readily available funds to cover day-to-day expenses along with unexpected financial emergencies may be beneficial.

A custodial parent in Massachusetts who feels overwhelmed and disillusioned by solid plans that went off the rail may find comfort in knowing that help is available. An experienced child support attorney can assess the circumstances and assist in identifying the problem. Solutions can be explored to enable the parent to evaluate the alternatives before making an informed decision about the best course of action. Whether litigation is chosen or not, a lawyer can provide the necessary guidance and support to implement the plan to protect the best interests of the children.

Source: divorcedmoms.com, "Child Support: It Isn't Always a Sure Thing", Michelle Cortes-Harkins, Accessed on Oct. 23, 2015

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