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Child support issues in guardianship cases

This blog has on previous cases discussed how relatives of Massachusetts children can use legal guardianship as a process to get authority to take care of their loved ones if their parents are unable or unwilling to do so for any number of serious reasons.

Financial help is available to guardians even if their guardianship is private and is not done through the Department of Children and Families. Specifically, guardians can ask a court for an order requiring both parents to pay child support to the guardians for the support of the parents’ children. Like any other child support order, if the parents do not pay, then the guardians can ask the judge to impose a range of penalties on the parents, including jail time in the most serious cases.

Although this child support money is supposed to go to the necessary costs of caring for the child, it can still serve as valuable financial aid for a guardian who is willing and ready to help their young relatives but who may be of limited means. It is also only fair that when a guardian steps in to take care of a child, the parents should contribute to some of the guardian’s costs.

Child support for guardians will be calculated under Massachusetts’ Child Support Guidelines in these types of cases, except that both parents will be ordered to pay the guardian since neither parent has primary custody of the child. A guardian’s income does not factor in to the child support formula in these sorts of situations.

Being a guardian can be both time-consuming and expensive, but a guardian can seek help from the parents in order to defray some of his or her costs. Although this is a fair result, it is still a good idea for a guardian to speak with an attorney about the process of getting an order for child support.