If you are thinking about divorce, you may wonder who pays for child care once you separate. Your children may need extra child care because you and your ex are living separately. Someone must pay for the care and costs can be expensive depending on where you live and your child’s individual needs.
Children and Divorce
You may worry that you will not be able to afford child care if you do separate and divorce. Divorce can be a stressful process, especially when finances come into play. Worrying about child care costs could affect your relationships, so it’s best to learn more about where this money might come from.
In North Carolina, parents who are separating and divorcing need to consider who will have custody of their children. It’s usually best to make a formal custody agreement, with the help of the court and your divorce lawyers. Without a formal agreement in place, it could be easy for your spouse to take advantage or not be held accountable for sticking to the agreed upon terms. You may not think now that you will ever disagree about decisions regarding your children, but things can change during separation and after divorce.
In addition to child custody, you need to consider child support. Child support is a series of payments made by one parent to the other parent to pay for expenses associated with raising a child or children. Determining who will pay child support and how much depends on many different factors that the court considers. For example, the court may consider both parents’ income and potential income, any responsibility for other children or pre-existing child support obligations, child care costs, education costs, health insurance and health care costs, and more.
Your need for child care when you are not available to care for your children may matter in a child support decision. Notice that the cost of child care is one of the factors that the judge may consider. For example, the cost of daily day care or a regular babysitter could be important. For that reason, it’s important to talk to your divorce lawyer about your need for child care if you are seeking child support payments.
Paying for Your Child’s Expenses After Divorce
After you have settled child custody and asked the court to award child support, what’s next? Practically, how do you pay for child care and other expenses? If you are the custodial parent for your child or have a shared custody arrangement where you spend more time with the child, it’s more likely that you will be receiving child support payments from your ex. You should use these payments to cover expenses that your child has, such as day care or other child care. The support payments are not intended to pay for all of your child’s needs since the awarded support amount factors in your income and ability to pay for part of these needs too. You will need to pay out of pocket for some of your child’s expenses if you are the custodial parent.
If you are the noncustodial parent or you share custody, you may be paying child support. Remember that these child support payments are for the benefit of your child. Since you may be spending less time with him or her, the payments cover the expenses that you might otherwise be paying out of pocket if the child lived with you. Child support payments are separate from any alimony or spousal support payments. The spouse receiving child support should use the payments to cover your child’s essential needs.
Need Help With a Child Support Issue?
Unfortunately, you may run into problems with child support. Maybe your ex-spouse hasn’t been making payments. Maybe the payments aren’t enough to meet your child’s essential needs. Maybe your income or circumstances have changed. If so, it’s time to consult a divorce lawyer about your options. A Divorce and Family Law lawyer who is knowledgeable about child support issues can evaluate your situation. You may have the ability to seek a child support modification from the court, or you may have other ways to proceed. Talk to an experienced divorce attorney to find out more.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you are considering ending your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.