SJC Clarifies Child Support Modification Standard of Review

posted Mar 13, 2013, 9:58 AM by Andrew Kenney   [ updated Mar 13, 2013, 10:12 AM ]

This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court clarified the standard of review to be used by Probate & Family Court judges when reviewing a complaint for modification of a child support order.

In the case of Morales v. Morales (SJC-11104, March 12, 2013), the SJC ruled that a trial court judge’s denial of a divorced mother’s request to modify a child support order was in error because the judge applied the “substantial and material change in circumstances” standard of review, rather than the statutory “inconsistency” standard.  In so ruling, the SJC has made it clear that when the Child Support Guidelines apply to a child support modification proceeding, including one that seeks to modify an order that is less than three years old, it is not necessary to prove a substantial and material change in circumstances.

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