Massachusetts Child Support

How to apply for child support in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Child Support Enforcement Division handles all applications for services related to child support. Anyone who wishes to apply for child support in the state must file a request for child support services with the CSER. You can apply for support online or mail in an application. Download Forms.

How to Calculate Child Support in Massachusetts?

Support totals in Massachusetts are determined by factoring together the gross annual income of the non-custodial parent, the gross annual income of the custodial parent, the number of children involved and any support amounts that are paid due to previous relationships.

How to claim and pay child support?

Support payments in Massachusetts are made online, by phone, in person or by mail and received via direct deposit or a Massachusetts debit card.

Child Support Performance Stats for Massachusetts

The Child Support Guidelines Task Force keeps track of the year-to-year performance of the state's support program.

Statistics for Regular On-Time Payments Collection

Other Incentive Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Statewide Paternity Establishment (%) 90.8 95.35 91.51 91.49 90.69
IV-D Paternity Establishment (%) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Support Order Establishment (%) 83.55 84.67 85.78 85.75 87.35
Cost-Effectiveness ($) 5.9 5.64 5.4 5.4 6.03

Total Number of Children in the Child Support Program

Total Distributed Collections and Total Administrative Expenditures ($ Millions)

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total Distributed Collections ($) 604.38 612.78 619.59 626.67 634.75
Total Distributed to Families ($) 562.08 573.07 582.34 592.37 603.16
Total Administrative Expenditures ($) 107 113.31 119.59 120.87 109.71

Average Collections per Case with Collections

Can child support be paid off early

Yes, it is possible to pay lump sums in advance in Massachusetts.

What Will happen if You fall Behind Child Support Payment?

You will face interest and penalties if you fall behind on support payments in Massachusetts.

Can you get alimony and child support at the same time?

Yes, both alimony and child support can be received at the same time in Massachusetts.

Can you stop child support payments?

No, support payments may only be stopped by petitioning the court.

Child Support and Taxes

Child support should not impact the tax situation of the payer or the recipient in Massachusetts.

Can child support payments be claimed on taxes in Massachusetts?

No, you cannot claim support payments on taxes in the state

How does my child support affect my taxes in Massachusetts?

Support payments cannot be claimed as income by the recipient or used as deductions by the payer in Massachusetts. 

Can child support be taken pre tax?

No, you cannot pay child support on a pre-tax basis in Massachusetts.

Can child support Take my federal tax return?

Yes, tax returns may be taken if you are behind on payments.

Paternity Establishment

It is necessary to establish paternity in Massachusetts before any paternal rights can be accessed.

How do you establish paternity?

Paternity can be established by signing a paternity acknowledgement form or asking the court to establish paternity.

What rights does a father have if not on birth certificate?

No rights exist for a potential father until paternity has been legally established.

Can a mother refuse me paternity test?

A court would typically order a test if deemed necessary.

How to establish paternity if the father is deceased?

The DNA of a family member would typically be used.

Can a father get a paternity test without the mother?

DNA testing can only be done on a minor with the consent of a primary legal guardian.

How long does a father have to establish paternity in Massachusetts?

Paternity in Massachusetts can be established until a child reaches the age of 18.

Support order establishment

To establish a support order, file a request for services with Massachusetts’ Child Support Enforcement Division. The CSER will then verify the non-custodial parent’s paternity and file a support order with the courts.

State Child Support orders

You must file a complaint with the Register of the Probate and Family Court in the county where you live if you wish to establish a support order. 

Can child support be modified?

Yes, if a parent feels that a payment amount is not in agreement with what is stated in the Massachusetts child support guidelines.

How do I file for a modification of child support?

You can make a request to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue by mail.

Can a child support order appealed?

Yes, if a parent feels that a payment amount is not in agreement with what is stated in the Massachusetts child support guidelines.

Do you need a lawyer to modify child support?

No, but legal help is strongly recommended.

When can you modify child support?

Requests can be made whenever a parent has discovered that the amount being paid is different than what is specified in the state's child support guidelines or if a significant material change has occurred.

Child support Enforcement

How long does the child support enforcement take?

Enforcement kicks in once a parent owes more than $500 on the last day of a month.

What to do when child support is not paid?

Alert your county support office.

What Happens if I’m not paying Child support?

You may be able to file a complaint for contempt against the non-custodial parent.

How much overdue child support payment can be considered a felony?

Support that is overdue by two years or that totals $10,000 or more.

Can child support debt be forgiven?

The forgiveness or reduction of child support debt in Massachusetts only occurs in a narrow class of cases.

Support Order Termination

How do I stop a child support order?

You must file a Complaint for Modification form with the court that issued the order if you feel that a qualifying circumstance applies.

When Can I Apply for Child Support Termination?

If custody reverses or if a child becomes legally emancipated before the age of 18.

Can the custodial parent close a child support case?

Yes, a custodial parent can opt out by requesting that support services be ended.

When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

When a child reaches the legal age of emancipation or if another qualifying circumstance occurs.

What is the legal age to stop paying child support?

18 years old or when a child graduates from high school.

Massachusetts hearing rights

Both parents have hearing rights in Massachusetts courts when it comes to establishing and modifying orders.

Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

Massachusetts has legal guidelines in place that set norms regarding how much support should be paid and what payments can be used to cover based on the assumption that the non-custodial parent has a child about one third of the time.

Massachusetts Child Support Coverage

What is child support meant to cover?

Support is intended to cover the majority of a child's needs in Massachusetts.

Does Child Support Cover Medical Care Expenses?

Yes, insurance coverage or medical payments are included when support orders are created in Massachusetts.

What if Both Parents are working, will Child Support Cover child care services?

Yes, daycare costs are shared as needed.

Are Car Maintenance Costs Covered by Child Support?

Yes, transportation costs can be covered.

What is Considered Basic Entertainment for Child Support?

Internet access, visual entertainment, tickets for events and more.

Are College expenses Covered by Child Support in Massachusetts?

No, but college contributions can be ordered in some cases.

Are Extracurricular Activities covered by Support?

Yes, fees for extracurricular activities are often covered.

Are School Related Costs Covered by Child Support?

Yes, fees related to school costs can be covered.

Massachusetts Child Support Offices

Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Child Support Enforcement Division N/A N/A (800) 332-2733 https://www.mass.gov
Metro Regional Office - Boston 100 Cambridge St. , 5th Floor, Boston, MA N/A (617) 626-2700 https://www.mass.gov/locations/metro-regional-office-boston
Central Regional Office - Worcester 67 Millbrook St., Suite 300, Worcester, MA N/A (508) 792-7300 https://www.mass.gov/locations/central-regional-office-worcester
Southern Regional Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA N/A (774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton

County Child Support Offices in MA

County name Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Worcester County Worcester County, MA Central Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Worcester 67 Millbrook St., Suite 300, Worcester, MA 01606 N/A 1(508) 792-7300 https://www.mass.gov/locations/central-regional-office-worcester
Suffolk County Suffolk County, MA Metro Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Boston 100 Cambridge St., 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114 N/A 1(617) 626-2700 https://www.mass.gov/locations/metro-regional-office-boston
Essex County Middlesex County, MA Northern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Woburn 100 Sylvan Road, 100 Trade Center, Suite 760, Woburn, MA 01801 N/A 1(781) 376-1000 https://www.mass.gov/locations/northern-regional-office-woburn
Middlesex County Middlesex County, MA Northern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Woburn 100 Sylvan Road, 100 Trade Center, Suite 760, Woburn, MA 01801 N/A 1(781) 376-1000 https://www.mass.gov/locations/northern-regional-office-woburn
Norfolk County Barnstable County, MA Southern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Hyannis 60 Perseverance Way, Hyannis, MA 02601 N/A 1(508) 771-2414 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-hyannis
Plymouth County Barnstable County, MA Southern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Hyannis 60 Perseverance Way, Hyannis, MA 02601 N/A 1(508) 771-2414 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-hyannis
Bristol County Barnstable County, MA Southern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Hyannis 60 Perseverance Way, Hyannis, MA 02601 N/A 1(508) 771-2414 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-hyannis
Barnstable County Barnstable County, MA Southern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Hyannis 60 Perseverance Way, Hyannis, MA 02601 N/A 1(508) 771-2414 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-hyannis
Dukes County Barnstable County, MA Southern Regional Child Support Enforcement Office - Hyannis 60 Perseverance Way, Hyannis, MA 02601 N/A 1(508) 771-2414 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-hyannis
Norfolk County Bristol County, MA Taunton Child Support Enforcement Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA 02780 N/A 1(774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton
Plymouth County Bristol County, MA Taunton Child Support Enforcement Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA 02780 N/A 1(774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton
Bristol County Bristol County, MA Taunton Child Support Enforcement Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA 02780 N/A 1(774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton
Barnstable County Bristol County, MA Taunton Child Support Enforcement Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA 02780 N/A 1(774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton
Dukes County Bristol County, MA Taunton Child Support Enforcement Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA 02780 N/A 1(774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton
Nantucket County Bristol County, MA Taunton Child Support Enforcement Office - Taunton 540 Myles Standish Blvd., Taunton , MA 02780 N/A 1(774) 299-6400 https://www.mass.gov/locations/southern-regional-office-taunton
Hampden County Berkshire County, MA Pittsfield Child Support Enforcement Office 703 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA 01201 N/A 1(413) 443-1009 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-pittsfield
Hampshire County Berkshire County, MA Pittsfield Child Support Enforcement Office 703 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA 01201 N/A 1(413) 443-1009 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-pittsfield
Berkshire County Berkshire County, MA Pittsfield Child Support Enforcement Office 703 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA 01201 N/A 1(413) 443-1009 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-pittsfield
Franklin County Berkshire County, MA Pittsfield Child Support Enforcement Office 703 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA 01201 N/A 1(413) 443-1009 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-pittsfield
Hampden County Hampden County, MA Springfield Child Support Enforcement Office 1 Federal St., Building 103-2, Springfield, MA 01105 N/A 1(413) 784-1025 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-springfield
Hampshire County Hampden County, MA Springfield Child Support Enforcement Office 1 Federal St., Building 103-2, Springfield, MA 01105 N/A 1(413) 784-1025 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-springfield
Berkshire County Hampden County, MA Springfield Child Support Enforcement Office 1 Federal St., Building 103-2, Springfield, MA 01105 N/A 1(413) 784-1025 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-springfield
Frankiln County Hampden County, MA Springfield Child Support Enforcement Office 1 Federal St., Building 103-2, Springfield, MA 01105 N/A 1(413) 784-1025 https://www.mass.gov/locations/western-regional-office-springfield