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SJC Upholds Child Support Guidelines

BOSTON — The highest court in Massachusetts has rejected a challenge to child support guidelines that a fathers’ rights group says are unfair.

The Supreme Judicial Court Thursday upheld a lower court judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Fathers & Families Inc. and about a dozen fathers against the state’s chief justice for administration and management, who promulgated the new guidelines in 2009.

Fathers and Families sued the state, charging that the guidelines are unconstitutional because they were written by judge, not by lawmakers.

“We want a formula that results in numbers — that is to say amounts of money to be paid — that work well for everybody in the family,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, who runs the group. “We think these numbers can be done much better.”

Holstein was on the committee that helped write the guidelines. He says it’s unfair that a parent who wins custody ends up with about twice as much money as the parent who does not.

“The child sees their dad as a complete loser who has no ability to affect anything in their lives because he’s broke,” Holstein said. “It’s not good for children to perceive one of their parents that way — either their father or their mother.”

The court said the group’s appeal was inappropriate since it’s not connected to any individual case. It did, however, say that opponents will have a chance to challenged the child support guidelines individually.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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