Morales v. Morales, SJC 11104

A recent family law decision on material change of circumstances–Morales v. Morales, SJC 11104 The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a divorced parent no longer needs to prove a substantial change in circumstances to modify a child support order. The SJC instead focused on the language of Massachusetts General Law chapter 208, §28, which provides that modification may be made “if there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from application of the child support guidelines”. This standard is known as the inconsistency standard and will be the standard that Massachusetts judges should apply to all child support modification cases going forward. In Morales, the previous child support order required Father to make weekly child support payments to Mother for the care of their child. Approximately one year after the order for support entered, Mother requested modification based on Father’s recent job promotion. The Probate and Family Court found that this did not constitute a “material and substantial change in circumstances” and dismissed the complaint. The Appeals Court affirmed in an unpublished decision. The SJC remanded the case for consideration based on the inconsistency standard rather than the material and substantial change in circumstances standard.

Contact Us