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A recent case from the Appeals Court takes on the issues involved in a removal case.  When a parent requests permission to move out of state, the court must determine the real advantage to the moving parent and balance it against the best interests of the child and the other parent.  In Murray v. Super the courts reviewed the components, also including the interests of both parents.  In this case, the children has significant relationships with the father, spending about one third of the year with him.

The court also addressed the difficult issue of support received by the mother by her husband, and whether it should count as income for the child support guidelines.

 “…The Masschusetts Child Support Guidelines (2009) (guidelines) detail the types of income that can be considered in calculating child support. See guidelines § I-A. The father contends that the funds received by the mother from her husband are specifically contemplated by the guidelines, which provide that income may include “[s]pousal support from a person not a party to this order.” Guidelines § I-A(18) Alternatively, the father argues that the income falls under the catch-all provision, covering “[a]ny other form of income or compensation not specifically itemized above.” Guidelines § I-A(28). The mother contends that the guidelines prohibit from consideration contributions of a present spouse in calculating a child support obligation. Contrary to the position of each party, the guidelines do not reflect a direct prohibition on contributions from a present spouse, nor do they include a direct command to include them. Rather, “[t]he guidelines and our case law leave the definition of income flexible, and the judge’s discretion in its determination broad.” Casey v. Casey, 79 Mass. App. Ct. 623, 634 (2011). Nevertheless, that discretion is not without bounds…”

That issue is not one we can provide a black and white answer to, although it is asked many times.

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