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Consider child care when deciding on a custody arrangement

When you and your ex are trying to work out a child custody agreement, you're largely considering when each of you will be in charge of watching the kids. Don't forget that you may not always be able to do so. In that case, you'll need to consider childcare. To avoid future disagreements and conflicts, address this up front as part of your parenting plan.

For example, maybe you're splitting custody 50/50. Does that also mean that childcare costs will be divided in half?

On one hand, an even split does make sense. It's just another cost of raising the kids, which you would have shared if you were married.

On the other hand, though, that split could be decidedly unfair. What if you rearrange your work schedule so that you don't need childcare, but your ex does. Then your ex wants you to pay half of the cost of childcare while he or she has the kids. As you can imagine, you may be outraged by the idea. It's best to determine the financial obligations for childcare during the divorce negotiations.

Another thing to consider is who has the legal right to pick the kids up. What if they get out of school before your ex gets out of work? Are you comfortable having a third party -- like the babysitter -- pick them up from school? Do you want this to be the same person every time, or can your ex pick different babysitters based on who is available? Do you want to screen these people? After all, even if you don't need childcare, these adults are still taking care of your kids.

In short, it's wise to consider all of the realities of watching the kids, come to an agreement, and be sure that your legal rights are protected.

Source: Livestrong, "Rights Regarding Child Care in Dual-Custody Arrangements," Carissa Lawrence, accessed May 26, 2017

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