Standard for Modifying Child Support: Case Law Update

Hello World,

Whether you are paying or receiving child support in Massachusetts you will want to take a few minutes to read this post.

Last week, in the case of of Morales v Morales, the SJC clarified the standard for modifying child support in Massachusetts. Specifically the Court found that a “child support order shall be modified ‘if there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from application of the [Massachusetts] child support guidelines.”‘

The general standard for modifying a Judgment is a “material or substantial change of circumstances.” However the Morales Court clarified that in modifying child support the courts should use the inconsistency standard. Arguably this is a much lower (i.e. “easier”) standard to meet as one party theoretically need only show that any  inconsistency (no matter how big or small) exists between the current order and what the Massachusetts’ Child Support Guidelines would provide for as opposed to a “material or substantial” (i.e. “large”) change of circumstances. 

Bottom Line: If you are paying or receiving child support  please give me a call and we can discuss / explore options for potentially increasing or decreasing your child support order.

I wish you all the best,


Carter Clunan & Robbins LLC

5 Turner Street

Waltham, Massachusetts 02453

(T): 781-647-8100

(F): 781-647-402



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