Does My Ex Have to Help Pay for Child Care?

Many parents assume that their child support obligation should cover all of his or her responsibility for the child’s expenses. They think that the custodial parent should use the child support payments in order to pay for all other child-related expenses, including the costs of child care. However, this is simply not the case. California child support laws provide that a parent who is ordered to pay child support also may be ordered to pay certain “add-on” expenses for the child, such as child care costs, medical expenses, and expenses for extracurricular activities. Some of these “add-on” costs are mandatory, meaning that the court is required to order them, and other costs are discretionary, which means it is up to the judge whether to order the costs or not.

Under California law, child care expenses are a mandatory add-on to the base child support amount. This means that the court can order a parent to pay child care costs over and above his or her regular child support obligation. In order to qualify, the child care costs must be related to your employment or to reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills.

In most cases, child care costs will be split 50/50 between the two parents, but a court can divide responsibility for those costs differently if it so chooses. The court is likely to order the parent to pay his or her portion of the child care costs directly to the other parent, but the court also can order the parent to pay the costs directly to the childcare provider. This may be a good option if a parent doubts that the other parent is really paying child care expenses, such as in the case when one parent claims that he or she is paying a relative to provide child care.

A knowledgeable California family law attorney can guide you through every step of the child support process, whether you need help paying for child care or money for diapers. We know that you are likely to have many questions, both now and in the future, about various issues related to child support and other family law-related issues. At the Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis & Associates, we have assisted countless clients through court proceedings, no matter what issues your family law case involves. Contact our office today and see how we can help.