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Q:
How do child care expenses get factored into child support calculations?

A:

The costs of child care, such as day care, after-school care, and babysitters, are typically calculated into the final equation when a court tries to determine just how much child support one parent will need to pay to the other parent. In the majority of child support cases, the cost of child care is split 50-50 under the law. However, this calculation can vary state by state.

Calculating Child Care Costs in California

Factoring in the cost of child care is a more complex undertaking than it seems at first glance. It may seem immediately clear that child care costs are in direct support of the child, and thus should be added to child support as any other cost would be. However, such an assumption implies the custodial parent is working outside of the home, earning income, unable to watch the kids at home. When the custodial parent works for an income, the earned funds are then available to support the child, and will affect child support calculations. It can be argued as well that the custodial parent's income also supports the custodial parent too.

You can find various clauses in some states that navigate such a situation by looking at the specific factors, basing legal decisions upon such factors. Many states, however, altogether avoid the confusion by simply setting a legal definite. What that means is the total cost of child care is divided in half, 50-50. Half of the amount is the responsibility of the custodial parent, while the other half is lumped into the remaining child support expenses the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay.

Final Decisions Regarding Child Support

When a court determines child support payments, generally, the following is taken into account:

  • Income or earning potential of each parent
  • Fixed monthly expenses of each parent
  • Number of children

Each state has its own unique formula and calculations, so it’s important to seek the advice of a nearby San Francisco lawyer who can help you determine exactly what child support may be ordered in your California divorce. Without professional counsel to help you make all the proper calculations, you could find yourself coming up short, unable to meet the needs of your children.

Paul Nathan has written a book to help women going through divorce. To schedule an appointment, contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.