Children are always a priority to an attentive and active parent. After a divorce, that focus is intensified. No active and attentive parent wishes to lose access to their children. Due to the amount of attention the divorce process puts on children, their basic needs are detailed, including their needs regarding child care.
Whether you are a married, single, or divorced parent, no one wishes to be away from their children for an extended period of time, but work is a necessary part of providing a life for your children. In order to be able to do that, qualified and responsible individuals need to be put in charge of their needs temporarily until you or your co-parent are available to pick them up.
Child care statistics
This makes child care a required part of the parenting experience. As a divorced individual, you are in good company in needing the services of child care. According to a study by the United States Department of Commerce, the need for child care is broken down based on the age of the child, and of the 744,000 preschoolers with separated, divorced, or widowed mothers who also are employed, 22 percent of them are enrolled at a day care center, 8 percent of them are enrolled in a nursery/preschool, and 7.5 percent of them are enrolled in Head Start Schools.
Of the 606,000 separated, divorced, or widowed mothers who are not employed, 7.5 percent of their children are enrolled in daycare, 4.1 percent of them are enrolled in a nursery/preschool, and 5.5 percent of them are enrolled in Head Start Schools.
In the grade-school aged demographics of children of separated, divorced, or widowed mothers, school and multiple after-school arrangements were a common statistical trend.
For children whose parents work, child care is an important part of their lives. Paying for child care can be an expensive, but necessary part in calculating the costs of raising a child.
According to the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, the average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year or $972 per month. The average price ranges from as low as $3,582 per year or $300 per month, to $18,773 per year or $1,564 monthly.
Child care and child support
The inconsistency of what to expect in payment can leave parents with more questions than answers, especially when the parents are divorced. Because of how emotional the divorce experience can be, child support can consequently become a highly-contested subject and a never-ending struggle between co-parents.
Many payors feel that they are paying too much in child support, just as many payees feel that they are not being paid enough in child support. The calculation of child support varies by state, but presumptively, child support is dictated based on the needs of the child, as well as the payor’s ability to pay.
Among costs, such as clothes, food, shoes, etc., child care is another highly contested issue, especially for noncustodial parents who work from home. They believe that if they have the ability to work from home, they should not have to pay for the costs of child care.
However, many custodial parents contest that claim, finding reasons that exist within their custodial agreement and parenting plan, in order to justify why the noncustodial parent that works from home cannot be the one watching the child or children during the day.
Suspicion and questions
The reason behind the suspicion that the paying parent is paying too much is that they believe that the receiving parent may spend the funds on something other than the child. Whether the allegations are legitimate or not, the issue of child supervision while a parent or both parents are at work still is need of solving.
Many also question the type of child care service that is being employed. Co-parents may have different opinions on child care. Some may have a preference of location or a preference regarding the service’s focus area. Some may lean more educational, while others may look to a more active experience for their child through a particular activity or day-camp.
Whatever the disagreement regarding child care may entail, it is important for both parents to put their children and their needs first. Taking the emotions and personal history out of the equation will allow both parents to see the bigger picture, rather than just one point-of-view. In doing so, co-parents have a better chance of forging a more civil and communicative rapport moving forward.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.