The Unbearable Cost of Daycare to the Non-Custodial Parent with Limited Means

Since the Child Support Standards Act, it has been clear that a parent's income would be used to calculate child support. In most cases, a parent who is chargeable with supporting a child or children will have to pay 17% of the parents' gross income minus FICA. If the parent is a low earner or has limited means, the parent may lose 20% of their income to taxes, 17% to CS, and then be faced to pay pro rata daycare above and beyond child support.

For example, if a mother and father separate or divorce and both have an income of $40K, the parent that does not get custody must not only pay taxes and pay 17% of income to child support but also be liable for approximately 50% of daycare cost. In our situation, daycare can cost upward of $350-$400 per week depending on the age of the child and geographical location. For a parent earning $40K, the extra $200 a week or &10K/year in daycare will break that parent and will be an absolute untenable obligation.

A parent's duty to pay their pro-rata share of daycare is not, in most cases, open for discussion. In fact, it is statutory with more and more parents working (FOX News reported that more than a third of mothers across the United States are employed full time away from home) being that there is more daycare. The increase cost of daycare is a function of supply and demand but also a function of high insurance costs and licensing requirements as well as the economic reality of the amount of space needed to care for a group of children. $400 a week for a 3-4 year old child in full-time daycare is not unreasonable. If the business model includes the cost of the daycare center/space/environment, insurance, salary, utilities, etc., therefore, more and more non-custodial parents are being forced to pay for daycare as a result of the increase in working mothers and/or families with 2 people employed full time away from home. Fifteen years ago, there was less daycare in divorcing couples as custodial parents were not working and spending time away from home as they are in today´s economy. Even the current unemployment statistics are favorable to females and unfavorable to males. 11% of males where only 7% of females are unemployed: therefore, the child support that often allotted to the non-custodial parent combined with daycare has become more and more of an economic possibility. Both the CSSA that provides for a percentage from gross income for each child together with the statutory obligation to include daycare costs pro-rata above and beyond child support have made non-custodial parents with modest incomes unable to meet their own expenses. CSSA, for the most part, is not negotiable and starts as a minimum together with daycare which is a statutory obligation. These 2 numbers taken together may cause the average person to be unable to support their own lifestyle.

At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., we have been handling hundreds of divorce and family law cases each year for well over a decade. We have 9 attorneys and a full staff of paralegals who are completely and wholly dedicated to divorce and family law. Mr. Salamone's cases have been featured in network news, and we are arguably the largest Suffolk/Nassau matrimonial firm. Mr. Salamone's successes in trends in custody and support cases are a result of his direct involvement in those cases.