- There is no federal requirement that child care be presumptive – like health care.
- States handle child care expenses in difference ways. However, there appears to be three ways primarily used by states: 1. Amount paid is deducted from income 2. Amount added to award (most popular) 3. Deviation Factor (2nd most popular)
- Here is a list of how states handle childcare expenses.
- No state includes child care expenses in the Basic Child Support Obligation since it can be so variable.
- In Georgia, (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(h)(1)) defines work-related child care costs necessary for the parent’s employment, education, or vocational training that are appropriate based on the parent’s financial abilities and lifestyle of the children.
- Despite being variable, child care expenses are required to be included in the presumptive child support amount (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(h)) and (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(b)(6)).
- These costs are split dollar-for-dollar based on the pro rata shares of combined gross income.
- There is no maximum on child care expenses nor is there an age limit when child care ends.
- The way Georgia (and other states) treats child care (as presumptive) is an issue for both custodial and non-custodial parents. Once child care is added to the worksheet, a modification will be needed if child care expenses change. Often, it costs more to modify child support that the benefit from the change.
- It is also an opportunity for fraud or abuse, as child care expenses may be paid to an individual instead of a business. Because the rules for evidence are very lenient and the judge’s discretion are great, Courts will typically not question the custodial parent’s need to incur even if the parents had previously avoided child care costs.
- Even if one parent can watch the children during the time that child care is needed, Courts will rarely require parent to use the other parent. In my case, I paid $300 a month for a stranger to watch my child even though I could watch him and I had a clause in my divorce agreement called ‘Right of First Refusal’.
- While BCSO is a set percentage based on the combined gross income of parents and the number of children, there is no upper threshold for child care expenses.
- There is no upper age limit when child care ends.
- Child Care expenses are sometimes made using pre-tax money (Federal, State, and Social Security) from an employer sponsored Dependent Care Flexible Spending Amount. While the parent incurring the expenses enjoys the tax savings from such an arrangement, the other parent pays the child care with after-tax money.
- The only data on the inclusion of child care expenses in child support orders is in the Case Data collected by the Georgia Commission on Child Support every four years.
- Georgia should remove child care from final amount of child support.
- Georgia should have a limit of child care expenses – as a % – of the total child support.