Fathers & Families’ highly-publicized lawsuit against the new Massachusetts child support guidelines was heard in a Boston court today. As of 2008 Massachusetts’ child support guidelines were already among the highest in the country, and the new guidelines raised them right in the face of one of the worst recessions of the past 100 years.
As anticipated, Judge MacDonald heard the arguments from representatives of the Massachusetts Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan and our attorney Gregory Hession, and took the case under advisement.
Over 50 Fathers & Families supporters attended the hearing in support. Our lawsuit has been covered by the Associated Press, the New York Times, CBS, WRKO, the Boston Globe, NPR, Newsweek, and numerous other major media outlets.
According to a recent Fathers & Families press release:
The new guidelines, which affect a quarter million families, were not formulated using the actual costs of raising a child. In some cases, child support orders will triple, even in cases in which the payer is poor and his child is well off. And in high income cases, the child support order for one child could reach nearly $50,000 a year.
The new guidelines will cause almost all child support orders to increase substantially. As a result, middle-class recipients will enjoy a standard of living almost double that of payers who earn about the same amount.
Holstein served on the Massachusetts Task Force that recommended the new guidelines, but authored a minority report dissenting from the main recommendations. Dr. Holstein said, “These increases are radical and unexplained and will harm children. Kids want to live with both parents after divorce, and we all want kids to be well cared for in both homes. But these new guidelines will create a ‘castle versus a hovel’ situation for kids. Kids are saddened and depressed when child-support orders force their Dads to live in poverty.”
HTML clipboardIn 2001, Fathers & Families won changes in Massachusetts law which lower child support by 15%. Our victory saved noncustodial parents over $1 billion–$200 a million a year over five years. That’s $1 billion that non-custodial parents were able to spend on their children themselves.
The anti-father forces struck back, violating the Massachusetts constitution by creating a secret, rigged committee riddled with ideologues to produce the new guidelines, which were then declared to be law by a single judge. Fathers & Families founder Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. sat on this committee and prepared a Minority Report detailing the problems with the new Guidelines.
The April 13 courtroom supporters were organized by Fathers & Families Volunteer Coordinator Cheryl Quiambao (who I’ve dubbed “QuiRAMBO”), who also helped organize our strong showing at 20 Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform Hearings. Massachusetts supporters interested in more activism should contact Quiambao (pictured) at email@example.com.