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Parents must pay child care costs as well as basic child support

Every family in New York has a different financial situation which governs how they live their lives. What type of lifestyle the family lives and what the children are used to having all depends on the parent's income. Sometimes, one parent works and one stays home with the children, and in others both parents work. So, this means that in some situations the parents have to pay for child care as one of their monthly expenses and in other situations they do not have child care costs.

This is true whether the parents are still married or whether they are divorced. If the parents are divorced, they may have a child support order which governs the parent obligation for the financial needs of the children. This order will state the amount of basic child support a parent will pay to the other, but basic support does not cover child care costs. So, the child support order will also include a clause for how much each parent will need to pay for any child care costs.

Each parent will pay a pro rata portion of the child care costs. Generally, this pro rata portion is determined based on the percentage each parent earns of the couple's combined income. So, if one parent earns 60 percent of the couple's combined incomes, that parent will pay 60 percent of the child care costs and the other parent would be responsible for the other 40 percent. These child care costs must be incurred because of the parent's work or school schedule and not simply a sporadic cost when a parent needs someone to watch the child from time to time.

Many people who are divorced in New York have young children who are not able to care for themselves. Oftentimes, these parents need child care so they can go to work or school. This is an extra expense and not included in a basic child support calculation. Therefore, it is handled separately and each parent will be responsible for a portion of it.

Source: www.nycbar.org, "Child Support: Questions and Answers" accessed on Jan. 23, 2018

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