For working parents, finding child care can be a scramble; especially for single parents. Whether you’re using a licensed day care, a nanny, a friend or relative, you’ve gotta find a person who’s trustworthy, available, and affordable. If you’re a single parent, absorbing that cost without help from the other parent, is just not in the cards. So, how do you get the other parent to help you with child care costs, when that parent may not be supportive of your day care choice? What if the other parent refuses to help contribute to the cost of child care? In addition to the stress of locating an appropriate child care provider, how do I deal with the headache of working with my ex to help pay the cost?
Fortunately, the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines make this task manageable by including child care costs in a child support determination. Minnesota Statute §518A.40 requires the Court to order that child care costs be divided between separated parents based on PICS (the parents’ proportionate share of income).
Ok, fair enough, but, how do I prove that I have a child care cost, before I ask my ex to contribute? Getting a receipt from a licensed day care center is one thing, but, if I am paying my neighbor’s teenager to be a nanny for the summer, my ex might not accept that this is a valid child care expense.
This question has been asked of the Minnesota courts, and, the good news is that there is law to presumably lend some help on this issue. Minnesota Statute §518A.40, subd. 3 says that in order to make a parent responsible for contributing to child care costs, the court must require documentation of child care expenses.
But, there is no definition provided by the legislature of what documentation of child care expenses means. Recent case law suggests that some examples of what courts will accept as “documentation of child care expenses” include:
-an affidavit from the parent verifying child care costs paid
-documentation from the care-provider showing rates charged for child care
-signed statements from the child care provider, listing billing rates
-receipts showing payments made
-copies of canceled checks made to child care providers
-registration forms submitted to child care providers
The courts have even gone so far as saying that we don’t need documents to show amounts ‘actually spent’ on child care. It is enough to show evidence of anticipated costs.
This is helpful in cases where child care expenses fluctuate throughout the year (for example, in cases where summer child care is needed when the child is not in school). So, it can be enough to provide to provide documentation of future or ‘prospective’ child care expense to have the court order contributions from the other parent. For example, showing a list of rates charged by a child care provider, to show a court what you will be spending on child care, can be enough to make the other parent contribute to that cost.
So it is possible to have the court order that the other parent help with day care costs, even if the other parent doesn’t necessarily agree on your choice of day care provider. However, there must be some evidence that expense has been incurred, or will be incurred, in order to get the court’s help.
If you are faced with the challenge of getting help from the other parent when paying for child care, please consider contacting us for assistance.
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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.