To the editor:
This month, the Massachusetts Bar Association made public their recommendation that the Massachusetts Child Support guidelines should undergo an intensive review by December of 2002. The Boston Bar Association and the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers have now publicly endorsed the Massachusetts Bar Association's recommendations.
These recommendations come at the 11th hour of the chief justice's quadrennial review of the guidelines, which now appears "dead on arrival."
The Mass. Bar Association deserves to be recognized for its courage and integrity on this matter, as does the BBA and the AAML.
The state must now follow through on what the bar associations are recommending and conduct an in-depth review of the child support guidelines. The result of such a process must be a formula that is reasonable and objective in its basis. The public and the legal community must be told what the child support guidelines assume and what they are based on, so it is clear when such a formula should be used or set aside.
Family courts are now in limbo. The major bar associations have publicly criticized the child support formula as having "serious problems" and are calling for an in-depth study immediately. This leaves litigants and their advocates applying a formula that has now lost its credibility. Hardly a comforting thought if you are going to court.
David B. Weden, III