From time to time Massachusetts residents may read about celebrity child support orders that include payments that extend into the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. These child support orders may seem astronomical to everyday men and women who work hard to provide for their families, but generally the amount of money that a parent will pay in child support will correspond to the amount of income that they earn.
The child support guidelines that operate in Massachusetts factor in the incomes of both of a child's parents. This is because both parents are expected to financially contribute to the upbringing of the youth. A custodial parent is expected to provide financial support for the child that they keep under their roof and a noncustodial parent is expected to pay periodic amounts for the support and benefit of their child.
If a child is not under the care of their parents but instead resides in the custody of the third party, then both of the child's parents may be required to pay child support to the third party for the maintenance of the child. Other factors besides parental income such as the age and needs of the child as well as medical costs may be considered in setting child support payment amounts.
To this end, the more a parent earns as income the more likely it is that their child support payments will increase. This may explain why high-earning celebrities become responsible for large child support obligations. This general overview of the role of parental income in a child support order should not be read as legal advice but rather an introduction to one aspect of the complex topic of child support law.