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Child support: Don't underestimate child care costs

The joys of having children bring with them many years of responsibility. Some California couples are lucky enough to be able to afford to have one spouse bear the brunt of being a full-time homemaker and parent. If such a couple decide to divorce, this arrangement may not be sustainable, leaving both parents potentially having to consider the costs of child care as part of the child support arrangements.

The costs of childcare are ever increasing. In California alone, the cost of full time infant day care rose by around 7 percent between 2009 and 2014, from $940 to approximately $1,110 per month. The costs can vary by county, from around $1,000 at the lower end of the scale to $1,500 in more affluent areas. According to recent data, some families could end up paying as much as 20 percent of their household income toward child care costs.

Upon separation or divorce, it may well be a financial necessity for a previously stay-at-home parent to return to the workforce. For parents who have never had to rely on regular day care for their children, these additional expenses can come as quite a shock. Whether the parents share custody of their children jointly, or one parent has sole custody, will determine how child support is calculated.

Many things are taken into consideration for the purposes of dividing property and assessing spousal and child support. For California residents who have to consider child care costs for the first time, it makes sense to gather together as much information as possible in preparation for financial discussions. This will help both parties to get a more accurate view of the sums needed to ensure that the best interest of the children is maintained.

Source: sacbee.com, "Analysis breaks down child care costs by California county", Phillip Reese, April 18, 2017

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