Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Covers Fathers & Families’ Child Support Lawsuit


Lawyers Weekly USA reporter Julia Reischel recently did a piece for the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on Fathers & Families’ highly-publicized lawsuit against the new Massachusetts child support guidelines. The suit has been covered by the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, NPR, Newsweek, Psychology Today, and many others.

Massachusetts’ child support guidelines are already the highest in the country, and the new guidelines raise them, just as we’re in the middle of one of the worst recessions of the past 100 years.

Reischel writes:

Fathers & Families, which advocates for the rights of non-custodial parents, filed a lawsuit against Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan and trial court judges alleging that recent changes to the child support formula are unconstitutional.

In a press release, the group argued that “the guidelines are a radical increase in child support implemented at the worst possible moment, as businesses shut doors and layoffs surge.’

Holstein served on the task force, headed by Mulligan, that crafted the new guidelines, but he wrote a dissenting opinion about the guidelines that resulted. Since the new guidelines took effect on Jan. 1, Holstein has led Fathers & Families in an energetic campaign against them, which has garnered considerable media attention.

To read Reischel ‘s full article or to comment on the piece, click here.

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.’

Learn more about the guidelines by reading Holstein’s minority report here.

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