Divorce Mediation Blog

2013 Child Support Guidelines Preview Part 2: Which Comes First? The Alimony or The Child Support?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In an earlier blog entry, we wondered about how various judges might apply what are arguably competing aspects of the presumptive formulae for alimony and child support. Since 2009, the Child Support Guidelines (CSG) have presumptively absorbed the first $250,000.00 of combined family income, while the Massachusetts alimony “reform” statute (eff. 3/1/12), forbids the use of dollars for alimony analysis, when they have already been exposed to CSG treatment. Since neither specifies which calculation comes first, which is the chicken and which the egg?

This is no idle wondering. Given the opposite tax impacts of alimony (taxable/deductible) and child support (not taxable/not deductible), the economic differences in the two approaches can be substantive, even substantial. We noted earlier that judges addressing lawyers’ groups about their own practices in this regard seemed open minded to hearing both sides of the equation. Meanwhile, as Greater Boston and Western Massachusetts divorce and family law mediators, we have been running the calculations both ways all along, not in an undereducated effort to mirror judicial thinking, but to help inform our clients of the differing possible economic outcomes, in seeking consensus on fair and tax-efficient family support arrangements.

The 2013 CSG resolves the question expressly, if not definitively. They state that neither approach is improper, and that under appropriate circumstances, judges may apply either approach. We applaud this approach as it maximizes flexibility, elevating inquiry and analysis over form, in the search for equity and efficiency.

Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


family law arbitrators conciliation Levine Dispute Resolution Matrimonial Arbitration alimony Massachusetts divorce lawyers disputes divorce mediators divorce arbitration medical benefits arbitrators health insurance lawyer-attended mediation alimony statute Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act Baseball Arbitration private dispute resolution Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth Massachusetts divorce and family law mediators Levine Dispute Resolutions Self-adjusting alimony orders divorce process health coverage lawyer child support Cohabitation self-adjusting alimony divorce judgment Massachusetts divorce mediators Massachusetts lawyers arbitration divorce mediations alimony reform legislation MLB labor agreement med-arb traditional negotiations divorce and family law divorce lawyers Uniform Arbitration Act divorce mediator how baseball arbitration works Divorce divorce mediation arbitrator pre-ARA alimony Divorce Agreements SJC family law arbitrator divorce agreement Child Support Guidelines divorced litigation mediation alimony orders family and probate law disputes high-risk methodology Baseball Chouteau Levine dispute resolution Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly family mediation Obamacare Levine Dispute Resolution Center support orders family law Major League Baseball Arbitration annulment General term alimony special master mediations Family Law Arbitration rehabilitative alimony The Seven Sins of Alimony Boston LDRC separation Massachusetts alimony IRC §2704 Baseball Players Alimony Reform Act facilitated negotiations Massachusetts alimony and child support med/arb fraud Same Sex Marriage COLA Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC resolve disputes divorce litigation mediators family support divorce arbitrator divorce arbitrators mediator DOMA alimony law lawyers family law mediation Defense of Marriage Act