Clients often contact our firm with questions of whether the use of a nanny or babysitter must be taken into consideration when calculating child support. Some clients are concerned that their spouses are attempting to receive credit for free child care and/or child care that is provided either inconsistently or for recreational, as opposed to work-related purposes. Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines do provide that work-related child care expenses are a factor that can be used to determine the adjusted child support obligation. However, it is important to define what exactly is considered a “work-related child care expense.” Work related child care expenses are those that are necessary for the parents’ employment, education, or vocational training and are determined by the court to be appropriate to the parents’ financial abilities and to the lifestyle of the child if the parents and child were living together.
O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(1).Further, if a child care subsidy is being provided pursuant to a means-tested public assistance program, only the amount of the child care expense actually paid by either parent or a non parent custodian will be included in the child support calculation. O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(1)(B).Furthermore, if child care is provided without charge to the parent, the value of the services will not be an adjustment to the basic child support obligation. If child care is or will be provided by a person who is paid for his or her services, proof of actual cost or payment must be shown to the court before the court includes such payment in its consideration of child support. O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(1)(D).NOT ALL CHILD CARE EXPENSES QUALIFY FOR INCLUSION ON THE CHILD SUPPORT WORKSHEETIn short, to receive an adjustment to the basic child support obligation for a child care expense, it must truly be work-related, appropriate to the parties’ financial abilities, and also appropriate to the lifestyle of the child if the parents and child were living together. Beyond these factors, a parent cannot receive the adjustment if he/she does not actually pay for the work-related child care and he/she must provide the court with proof of payment of said expense. In cases involving child support, where expenses such as work-related child care can be used as adjustments that can drastically affect one’s child support obligation, it is important to have the counsel of an experienced family law attorney to ensure that the child support assessment is based on reliable and admissible evidence. Contact The Faucette Law Firm LLC at (770) 485-6620.