Jane Does Well Org Submits Urgent Public Testimony to Child Support Task Force
By: Jane Does Well
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Feb. 15, 2021 - PRLog -- Last week the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines task force held 3 days of public forums and invited the public to comment on its policy. 9 out of 10 comments were devastating accounts (mostly mothers and attorneys representing low-income families) of dire circumstances due to insufficient child support orders, the court's refusal to order alimony for low-and middle-income custodial parents and diminishing support when a child turns 18. All of these policies were the direct result of the last review in 2017.
The stories were heart-breaking. Care-taking parents are depleting retirement savings and taking on loans to make ends meet. In 2017, the Task Force also added additional burdens to parents in need by alleviating the non-custodial parent's obligation to equally share medical expenses and childcare expenses (which makes it possible for care-taking parents to work.) Care-taking parents now pay 85% of these costs. Another devastating blow to care-taking parents was the 25% reduction in support once a child turns 18; the court presumed the child "may" be away at college. For a court that claims to be the arbiter of evidence and fact, it was a new low to change policy without any evidence or facts of whether a child is "away" at college.
There were also several comments about the conflict of interest of the consultant hired to create the economic review. Several comments refuted the consultant's findings and pointed out that the consultant is a for-profit lobbyist serving the interests of child support obligors. The criticism of the Task Force included concerns about the use of public funds and the lack of transparency during the entire process.
Jane Does Well highlighted several recommendations they previously submitted to the task force aimed at benefitting families and also shared their compelling research on how and why Massachusetts stands alone in the child support arena:
Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that revokes a party's right to spousal support because they also care for children.
Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that arbitrarily and presumptively decreases child support when a child reaches a certain age without evidence or facts.
Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that sets adjustments to child support for multiple children 50% below national standards and adjoining state benchmarks.
Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that places a 15% cap on the non-custodial parent's child support obligation for medical and childcare expenses.
Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that uses public funds to hire for-profit consultants that represent a special interest that benefits from reduced child support.
Child Support policy in Massachusetts, once the shining example of 'the best interest of the child', is now an outlier. It has become nothing more than a failing, secretive process lacking accountability and undermined by special interests.
Jane Does Well advocates for women and children. Please contact us with your stories and concerns.