MA Family Law: Inconsistency Standard v. Material Change of Circumstances

What standard must a Probate and Family Court use when faced with a modification of a child support order when the case is within the Child Support Guidelines?  The trial judge in this case dismissed the modification complaint because, although the ex-husband’s income had increased, she found there was not a “substantial and material change in circumstances.”  Notably, the judge’s decision did not mention the “inconsistency standard” in G.L. c.208, s.28 which states that a modification is appropriate “if there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from applying the Guidelines.”  Nevertheless, the Appeals Court affirmed her judgment.  The SJC, however, reversed; it held that the “inconsistency standard” rather than the “material change in circumstances” applies where modifications of child support within the Guidelines are concerned.  Morales v. Morales, 464 Mass. 507 (March 12, 2013)