How Are Daycare Expenses Handled After Divorce?


The court recognizes that daycare costs typically rise after a Pasadena divorce because there are no longer two parents at home to share the burden of child care. Therefore, the cost of daycare is taken into consideration when determining how much child support is appropriate.

In most cases, daycare costs are split 50/50 if daycare is necessary for the custodial parent to continue working or to attend classes needed to build job skills. This means that half of the cost is the responsibility of the custodial parent and the other half of the cost is added to expenses that the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay. The total of this figure is then used to determine an appropriate support amount.

The cost of daycare is supposed to be split based on a "reasonable amount" that one would expect to pay for care. This is a fairly straightforward calculation if your child is being cared for at an established center, but it can be tricky if care is being provided by a family member or friend. Another possible issue might be if the custodial parent wants a premium daycare service, such as a nanny that also provides help with chores such as cooking and cleaning.

If you are a noncustodial parent urging your ex-spouse to go back to work so that your support payments will be reduced, keep in mind that high daycare costs may offset the benefit of your ex-spouse's employment unless he or she is able to earn an above-average salary. For example, if your ex-spouse incurs daycare costs of $1,500 per month for two children, you are responsible for $750 per month of this expense. If your ex-spouse's new salary only lowers your monthly child support payment by $300, you actually end up losing money by encouraging your ex-spouse to go back to work.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about how daycare expenses will affect child support amounts, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena divorce firm has extensive experience in handling this aspect of a child support case.