Massachusetts Courts allow for the filing of a Joint Petition For Modification Of Child Support Judgment, when both parents agree that an adjustment to an existing child support judgment is warranted. Recent amendments to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines provide that a child support judgment may be modified when "there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from the application of the Child Support Guidelines." Modifying child support by joint petition may streamline uncontested support modification actions, as the Court may address such matters administratively and without the need for a hearing.
To initiate the administrative handling of a child support modification action, petitioners must comply with Court procedural rules (i.e., Supplemental Probate Court Rule 412) that require that petitioners complete and file with the Court a Joint Petition For Modification Of Child Support Judgment, together with (i) a copy of the Judgment that petitioners seek to modify (ii) complete signed Financial Statements for each petitioner, with attached W-2s and 1099s from the preceding year; and (iii) a completed Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. In addition, if the child support order sought to be modified is being paid through wage assignment, petitioners are required to submit an Order for Support Health Insurance and Income Assignment.
When filing a Joint Petition For Modification of Child Support Judgment, petitioners need not mark the matter for a hearing at the Court. Rather, if the filing package is incomplete or the Court otherwise determines that a hearing is needed, the Court will notify the petitioners of the date and time of a hearing.
For further information regarding the filing of a Joint Petition For Modification Of Child Support Judgment refer to Supplemental Probate Court Rule 412.