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Massachusetts child support guidelines: Interest on late payments

As many parents know, paying child support is not always easy. This is not generally because of a lack of willingness to pay, but rather financial inability. Those who do find themselves behind on payments may face numerous difficulties, as payees and the state will do everything possible to enforce support orders. To serve as encouragement to make ordered payments, Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines allow for interest charges to be added to arrears if they are collected by the Department of Revenue.

Adding interest to late payments is actually something that is done in most states. Every state sets the interest amount it believes is acceptable. Listed charges range from zero percent to 12 percent. In Massachusetts, the rate is set at .05 percent for arrears, retroactive support and adjudicated arrears.

So, at what point will interest start to accrue? When a payer is more than $500 behind on payments and the arrears are collected by the Department of Revenue, interest may be added to the amount that is past due. 

If a parent is behind on child support because of a lack of monetary means, he or she can seek to have a support order modified. Doing so is possible if certain circumstances are met, all of which are laid out in the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Without getting a modification, qualifying for exemption or failing to have an interest waiver approved, a payor will continue to accumulate debt at an increased amount until his or her support payments are once again considered current. Legal assistance is available to those who need to address any child support issues.

Source:, “Interest On Child Support Arrears“, Accessed on July 31, 2015


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