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California Child Support Add-On for Daycare

Oakland, CA |

I understand that as part of an add-on to any California child support calculation that "reasonable" daycare or pre-school expenses can be added to the basic order. However, what constitutes "reasonable expenses"? My ex wants to add on daycare costs (keeping in mind that the daycare is open from 6 am until 6 pm) as well as babysitter costs, as my ex wants to hire a babysitter to pick our child up from daycare at 3 pm (despite the fact that it is open until 6 pm). Generally, would a non-custodial parent have to pay for two babysitters simply because the custodial parent wants to hire multiple babysitters? I prefer that we each be responsible for babysitter costs, assuming that either of us wants to hire one in addition to daycare. The child is 18 months old.

I should add that my current child support order is fixed at a current rate ($1700 per month), with child care costing $1200 per month (and we each pay 50/50, so my $600 per month is already added into the total amount of $1700). Now my ex is wants to modify the current child support order claiming that it now costs $2400 per month for child care, despite the fact that our child attends the same daycare she always has and it only costs $1200 dollars per month (and I have receipts and other documentation to prove the actual cost of daycare). My ex has no documentation to justify the cost of child care and I believe that she is simply doing this because I have a six-figure salary. I should add that we share joint legal and physical custody, so she can't make changes with respect to our daughter's child care without my consent. Does that help?

Attorney Answers 2


The "reasonable" daycare costs are not automatically ordered. You need to check your court orders first for the exact terms of your obligations.

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“Reasonable” is open to definition, and this is usually determined by whatever the judge is persuaded to deem reasonable. You make a fairly good argument for “unreasonable” as to the supplemental baby-sitting. However, you really should speak with an attorney about how to approach this issue. I know you want to support your child but that support should be reasonable and not excessive and indulgent of mom, even if you have a good salary.

Best of luck to you.

This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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