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How Are Child Care Expenses Divided After Divorce?

It is no secret. Children are expensive. Think about it. Think about what goes into raising and caring for a child, financially speaking. There may be more expenses than you realize. There are expenses that go far beyond providing for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. There are school fees. There are extracurricular fees and associated equipment and supplies fees. There are costs of entertainment. There are also child care expenses, especially if both parents work out of the home. So, how are all of these expenses accounted for after divorce? How are child care expenses divided after divorce?

How are Child Care Expenses Divided After Divorce?

In some cases, the division of child care expenses will be baked right into a child support order that is issued incident to divorce. Child support, while primarily focused on supporting a child’s basic needs, will often include coverage for other child-related expenses. In determining an award for child support, Arizona courts will utilize the state’s child support guidelines to render such a decision. The court will thus take into account several different factors in reaching its determination. These factors primarily include the income level of each parent as well as the ability to pay. Furthermore, the court will consider the financial needs of the child as well as his or her current standard of living. Through a calculation including these factors, the court will determine how much will be paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent after the divorce is finalized.

Child support may include coverage for child care expenses. This is especially true if child care is needed due to the working schedules of the parents necessitating child care assistance. Because of this, child support may include coverage for various types of child care, including nannies, daycare, and babysitters. It may also be used to cover things like summer camp so that the child is cared for during the summer months when school is out of session.

What about those child care expenses that may not have been included in a child support order? What if there is no child support order at all? There will still be child care expenses in many cases. If parents have equal income levels as well as equal parenting time, there may not be a child support order in place. This is because child support obligations are mainly focused on the income levels of each parent as well as parenting time. Usually, the non-custodial parent will have to pay child support to the primary residential parent, but this is not always the case.

In the absence of a child support order or a child support order including child care expenses, or other expenses associated with caring and raising a child, the parents can and should establish an agreement for the division and payment of such expenses. Detail the expenses not covered by a child support order and find a way to divide them accordingly. The more specific you can get the better. This will include detailing how one parent should pay the other parent as well as when such payments are to be made. Address these things upfront and avoid many unpleasant and uncomfortable conversations later on!

Family Law Attorney

For assistance putting those agreements in place that will help you provide for your family and lay the foundation for a positive co-parenting relationship, talk to the dedicated family law team at Cohen Family Law. Contact us today.