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Cavanagh V. Cavanagh: New Child Support and Alimony Rules


In Cavanagh v. Cavanagh, the court established three guidelines to be used when calculating and setting alimony and child support payments in Massachusetts. The three guidelines are:

1. That both parties' income should be considered in determining the amount of support;

2. Maximums for the amount of alimony should exist based on the length of the marriage; and

3. Child support calculations must include both parents' incomes, as well as consider each parent's other financial obligations, such as taxes or other court-ordered payments.

When interpreting this case law in light of § 53(a) of the Massachusetts General Laws, courts will take into account all statutory factors enumerated therein including but not limited to: (1) the length ofd three guidelines to help courts in Massachusetts determine alimony and child support orders. First, when calculating alimony and/or child support payments, both parties must be given full disclosure of their respective income sources – including any gifts or inheritance amounts received. Second, the court must take into consideration the statutory factors enumerated in § 53(a) of the Massachusetts Alimony and Child Support statutes. Lastly, the court must take into consideration each party's present and future financial circumstances when determining an alimony or child support order.

Prior to Cavanagh v. Cavanagh, courts would consider a number of different factors when determining an alimony or child support order including length of the marriage; age and health of both parties; earning capacity of both parties; contribution either party has made to their career development; division of property; parent's responsibility for children under 18 years old, among other things.

Income sources that may be taken into account include income from wages and salaries, investments, pension, royalties, income from rental properties and any other sources of income. Additionally, any gifts or inheritance amounts received by either party must also be disclosed to ensure an accurate calculation of a child support and/or alimony order.

Cavanagh v. Cavanagh is important for all individuals living in the state of Massachusetts as it sets forth clear guidelines for how courts should calculate alimony and child support payments. It is paramount that those who may be affected by this case law are aware of their rights in matters such as alimony and child support calculations. In addition, parties should understand what factors will go into consideration when determining an alimony or child support order. Being familiar with the relevant facts before entering court proceedings can help ensure that a fair and just order is reached.

Ultimately, Cavanagh v. Cavanagh has established clear guidelines for alimony and child support calculations that must be followed in Massachusetts courts. This ruling will especially affect divorced couples who are trying to determine a fair agreement on alimony or child support payments in Massachusetts. It is important they fully understand the implications of this case law to be able to make informed decisions when making such arrangements.  ​