If your child is one of the 11 million kids who attend day care in the U.S., you are likely aware just how costly child care expenses can get. In fact, child care expenses can frequently be a family's largest expense, costing more than rent or a mortgage, utilities, and gas or transportation, and even a year of college tuition at most public colleges, according to Child Care Aware of America, a national nonprofit that promotes affordable and accessible childcare in the U.S.
When parents go through a divorce, the question of who will be footing the bill for day care can be a major concern, especially when a divorce means parents may need to rely on childcare even more than before the marital dissolution. Setting up to separate households can be expensive, and parents may even need to work more hours than they did prior to the divorce.
Your divorce attorney in DuPage County can go over your child care expenses with you and ask the court to make sure the day care costs are specifically addressed by your divorce decree or child support agreement.
What Factors Will the Court Consider When Determining Who Pays for Day Care Tuition?
In determining the portion of day care costs each parent is responsible for paying, the court will consider several factors, including:
- Spousal and child support;
- Each parent's income and financial resources;
- The cost of the child care arrangements and whether they are reasonable under the circumstances;
- Whether either parent is attending school.
Right of First Refusal in Illinois
The court will also consider the so-called "right of first refusal," and whether the parents have agreed to this provision in their divorce settlement or parenting plan. In the case of a right of first refusal agreement, the parent with a greater degree of parental decision-making responsibilities may be obligated to offer parenting time to the other parent before making certain childcare arrangements.
Who Decides Child Care Arrangements?
The parent with decision-making responsibilities decides on the child care arrangements. If parents share responsibilities - even if they do not have equal parenting time - they typically must agree on important decisions such as child care arrangements. If the costs of the childcare arrangements are unreasonable, the court may only order that the support-paying parent pay a portion of childcare costs that would be considered reasonable for the type of childcare provider and the specific metro area.
If you are a parent unhappy with your child's day care and cannot come to an agreement with your child's other parent, your DuPage County family law attorney can help you decide how best to address this matter - whether through negotiation, mediation, or in court.
Consult an Experienced Child Support and Custody Attorney in Illinois
While daycare expenses can be staggering, childcare decisions are some of the most important choices parents make for their children. One of our passionate Wheaton family law attorneys can be by your side as you budget childcare expenses and ask the court to assign daycare costs fairly.