Our Vancouver child support guideline lawyers at MacLean Family Law Group know that child care costs can be a difficult task for a single parent when trying to balance work and family life. The financial strain on most single parent families makes staying at home almost never an option as both parents need to provide proper care and security for their child in two homes after separation.
If you have a child support guideline child care special expense issue that needs to be addressed, click here to consult one of our highly rated Family lawyers at 1 877 602 9900 to book an initial consultation at any of our 4 offices in BC.
Child care costs can be a contentious issue amongst divorced parents, especially when one or both parties require child care. The defining point which determines if and how a paying parent contributes to the recipient’s child care costs is the necessity of the child care as well as the reasonableness of the expense related to the means of the parties and the child and the pattern of spending prior to the separation. Is it due to a parent working or simply because s(he) would like a break from the day to day life of parenting?
Section 7(3) states: Subsidies, tax deductions, etc.Preschool costs can be another difficult issue for separated parents. While most children attend preschool for 10 months, some parents choose to have their child attend for a longer period of time, even having them cared for by a daycare before or after preschool. The same rule applies in this situation; There has to be a necessity due to the recipient parent’s employment for costs to be incurred by the paying parent, unless s(he) agrees to pay. Under Section 7 (1) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines: child care expenses incurred due the recipient parent’s employment, illness, disability or reeducation or retraining should be shared in proportion to the parents’ incomes. Any subsidies or tax credits must also be taken into account before the final amount required by each parent to pay is determined.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), in determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1), the court must take into account any subsidies, benefits or income tax deductions or credits relating to the expense, and any eligibility to claim a subsidy, benefit or income tax deduction or credit relating to the expense.
When parents have split custody or have shared custody of their children, the courts must address several other key points in determining the sharing of costs:
8. Where each spouse has custody of one or more children, the amount of a child support order is the difference between the amounts that each spouse would otherwise pay if a child support order were sought against each of the spouses.
9. Where a spouse exercises a right of access to, or has physical custody of, a child for not less than 40 per cent of the time over the course of a year, the amount of the child support order must be determined by taking into account
(a) the amounts set out in the applicable tables for each of the spouses;
(b) the increased costs of shared custody arrangements; and
(c) the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and of any child for whom support is sought.
If you have a question about how costs are apportioned to each parent in split or shared custody cases call us immediately as there are important and distinct differences than sole custody with granted access.
Children deserve the best financial support available to them and both parents have a duty to contribute to their children’s financial needs but in many cases the costs of running two households can make money tight. This makes child care costs a dual responsibility of the parents. For this reason, it is important for a recipient parent who requires child care for employment, particularly when his or her employment is sporadic, to provide proof of this necessity. In the case of Kardash v. Kardash, 2006 SKQB 236, a wife who worked as a Care Aide on a casual basis was ordered to provide proof of employment to the husband when costs were addresses to him for child care. Mr. Justice Gunn states at para. 14:
(14). Kimberly’s family has provided child care in the past and and do so presently. Both parties are desirous of that continuing. The payment for child care has
been somewhat irregular. Darren shall pay his pro rata share of the child care
expenses required to permit Kimberly to be employed. However, his payment
will be based on the provision of receipts setting out the times and dates child
care was provided, along with a work schedule setting out the dates and hours
worked by Kimberly.
When planning daycare and child care and determining the costs, remember:
a. You cannot expect the other parent to pay for child care when you want a day off from child raising. This is simply one of the cons of being a single parent and makes child care costs on these occasions your sole responsibility.
b. Child care tax credit or subsidy is NOT for the benefit of the custodial parent but rather the benefit of the child. These are to help relieve some financial burden off BOTH parents.
c. Consider allowing or arguing that the other parent should have the first option to provide child care when it is needed. This allows the child extra time with that parent and reduces child care costs for both parties.
d. Seek help from family who may be willing to help with child care as this also can reduce costs and allows the child more interaction with extended family members.
e. Document proof of all child care costs paid and on which dates and record proof of employment for all the days child care is needed.
f. Ensure that all subsidies are applied for by the parent who requires child care and both parents should have proof of this documentation. The paying parent should also ask for proof of any tax credit the recipient parent has received as this affects the amount of child care costs that s(he) will be obligated to pay.
g. Both parents should try to agree on who will be the child care provider and aware of his or her costs. A judge can and will make this decision for you if this issue ends up in court.
h. Consult a parenting coordinator or mediator for child care disagreements between you and the other parent when they cannot be resolved amongst yourselves. This can save both parties time and a large amount of money than if they went to court.
If you have a child care issue that needs to be addressed, consult one of our highly rated Family lawyers at 1 877 602 9900 to book an initial consultation.
Romney Burkett Legal Assistant