Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Child support: Negotiate to get extras included in settlement

Massachusetts couples who are considering divorce will likely be prepared for a significant change in their respective finances. For this reason, many people plan their post-divorce finances timely to serve their unique needs. Along with budgeting and working out ways to limit expenses and boost income, help may be available from public benefits or food banks. Those who will receive child support will have several aspects that will need planning.

When working on drafting or negotiating a settlement agreement, it may be appropriate to ask for a cost-of-living clause to be included. This will ensure that an increased support payment will cover the increased cost of living and the additional expenses related to children as they grow older. Such a clause will also help keep up with inflation.

It may also be a good idea to discuss insurance with the parent who will pay child support. Adequate disability and life insurance can ensure that the child support payments will not stop if something happens to the paying parent. Although the guidelines for child support do not cover the child's education post-high school, negotiations may result in saving or payments for the child's future -- either vocational training or college fund -- to be included in the settlement agreement.

The support and guidance of an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney may be invaluable during negotiations about child support. If a couple struggles to reach an agreement, a lawyer may arrange for the assistance of a professional mediator to facilitate negotiations. A mediator may not give legal advice, but both parties may have their legal counsels present to provide valuable input.

Source: smartaboutmoney.org, "Prepare a Post-Divorce Spending Plan", June 29, 2016

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