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I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Unpaid child support a major problem in Massachusetts

If there is a child support agreement between Massachusetts parents who are no longer together as a couple, it is important that it is adhered to. If there is a change in circumstances and accompanying problems with the supporting parent making the required payments, rather than simply not make them, it is important to try and find a way to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, the reality is that many parents supposed to be paying support throughout the area are not doing so.

An investigation has found that more than 50 percent of parents who do not have custody but are ordered to pay child support are behind by at least $1,000. This information comes from the Department of Revenue (DOR) for Massachusetts. Almost 6,000 of these parents have allowed their delinquent payments to surpass $60,000. The investigation uncovered an estimated 59,000 cases in which the supporting parent was behind by an amount larger than $1,000. The authorities stated that they try to collect that which is owed and violators will be confronted by child support enforcement.

The DOR of the state published the worst offenders from 1992 to 2009 listing parents who owe the most money. They have since stopped the practice. As part of the investigation, it did reveal cases with the highest amounts owed without going into specifics as to identification. The numbers are striking: approximately 29,000 parents are behind by $1,000 to $10,000 comprising 25 percent of parents; 24,500 owe between $10,000 and $60,000, comprising 21 percent; and 5,800 owe an amount greater than $60,000, making up 5 percent. The agency has said that there has been an increase in collections by 14 percent in the past seven years, but that is a relatively small amount considering the number of parents who are behind.

Massachusetts has a program to get that which is owed through income withholding, license suspensions and other means. Extreme instances might lead to law enforcement forcibly bringing the owing parents to court. While the information as to the number of noncustodial parents who are behind on child support is eye-opening, it being brought into the open does not help a vast number of custodial parents who are still waiting to receive what they are owed. Parents who are having issues collecting unpaid child support should considering taking steps on their own by considering contacting an attorney experienced in helping pursue delinquent payments.

Source: myfoxboston.com, "FOX25 Investigates: Thousands of New England parents behind on child support," Eric Rasmussen, Feb. 25, 2016

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