What are considered "reasonable child care costs" for DC child support guidelines?

Asked 11 months ago - Washington, DC

I'm filling out the DC guidelines to figure out the correct amount of child support I should be paying to the mother of our child (http://csgc.oag.dc.gov/application/main/intro.aspx).

For Step 4, it asks to enter "reasonable child care costs". What does this entail? Just nanny/day-care? Babysitters too? How many hours is reasonable if mother is working 20hrs/week? What about diapers, food, clothes, toys for the baby? Are those costs to be included too?
Is it mandatory to fill in this section, or can I leave it blank, and just base it off our incomes and her having sole physical custody? (she earns similar to my 40 hr/week salary - she has a high-paying job)

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Edouard Jean-Pierre Bouquet


    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . Any lawyer would need more details before advising you concerning the particular situation in which you find yourself. Normal living expenses for your child including but not limited to diapers, food and shelter are all included in the basic support figure. Work Related (or education related)child care costs are based on actual experience for a reasonable arrangement and/or costs for a licensed provider. Yes this answer is a bit vague, but the point is that reasonable child care cost for a person making $500,000 per year will be different from someone making $50,000 per year. It really depends on your circumstances. Work hours for the mother and the schedule that you have with your child will also come into play. If she works nights and you are available to care for the child during those times, is third party child care actually needed. The answer to this question is very dependent on the circumstances. Another factor would be does the mother have the ability to work full time and therefore earn more income or is this a full time position that only takes her 20 hours per week to handle? In other words, is she voluntarily reducing her income such that the Court would impute the income to her that she would earn working full time? You should also factor in what you believe to be in your child's best interests. If you believe, at least for now, that it would be better to have mom available to stay home and work only part time so that she can provide some of the daily child care, then this may be an additional cost that you are prepared to incur in the shorter run. Also, let's be clear, this is not for random babysitting so that she can go out to the movies or with her friends. The child care cost must be work or education to enhance employability related.
    You should consult a lawyer who is experienced in family law in D.C. who understands application of the Guidelines.

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