It seems that I have to explain this over and over and over again….and sometimes to attorneys.
Let’s say you pay $1000 per month in child support PLUS $400 DIRECTLY to a daycare center to pay all the monthly daycare expenses. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume child support was calculated with both parents earning the same amount of money (meaning the parents split the total support obligation 50/50.
Question: What is the basic support obligation for both parents? (everything you need to know is in the paragraph above)
Question: What is the total support obligation for both parents?
Answer: $2800 (basic obligation + daycare)
Explanation: Since the non-custodial parent is paying all the daycare directly then that parent must have received a $200 credit (half of $400 since the split is 50/50) meaning his half of the basic obligation must actually be $1200. Since child support in this scenario was based upon the parents having the same income then logically the basic support support obligation of both parent is $1200 x 2 = $2400.
The second answer is easy: $2400 + total daycare
So what happens when daycare is no longer required?
Total support obligation now becomes $2400 ($2800-$400). Parents split the obligation and the non-custodial parent gives the custodial parent $1200….NOT $1000
Bet you thought that once daycare was dropped that the $400 would come off the top and $1000 would be owed. What you fail to realize is that you were already given a $200 credit when you were giving the custodial parent only $1000.
I see it time and time again that judges and attorneys often have a hard time with this.
(Total Support Obligation of Both Parents) x (Your Percentage of Total Income) Minus (Direct Payments)=Child Support
($2800 x .50) minus $400 = $1000
($2400 x .50)= $1200
The reverse works the same of course. If the custodial parents want to use the daycare again, he/she would only get a $200 increase in child support for a $400 expense.
The ONLY time the amounts change dollar-for-dollar is when the custodial parent has no income (which should only occur if he/she is caring for your child while under the age of five). Be sure to appeal anytime a judge does not impute income to a custodial parent who just wants to sit back and collect child support.
And of course, make sure you get a good family law attorney.
If you think this is complicated; try this: Daddy makes $4000/month and Mama makes $1500/month. Daycare is $388 per month paid by Mama. Daddy pays dance lessons in the amount of $30 per week. Daddy also pays Blue Cross for health insurance in the amount of $115 per month. Daddy pays child support for another child from a previous marriage in the amount of $500 per month but it is not court ordered.
Daddy loses in court and mama is made domiciliary parent. There is one child under the age of five. What does Daddy pay Mama in child support?
Once you get the Basic Support Obligation from the statutes then the answer is rather simple.