My partner and I have separated. My former partner is currently paying child support for our children but I cannot afford the costs to put our children in daycare. What do I do?
The Federal Child Support Guidelines and the courts have recognized that child support is the right of the child. The courts have also stated that parties have a dual obligation to support their children. This is also true for daycare costs or what is often commonly referred to as section 7 special or extraordinary expenses. While a child’s parent usually pays child support, expenses for daycare and other activities are often overlooked. These expenses are in addition to the amount of child support required by the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
Moreover, daycare is not the only expense that that you and your former partner may have to share in proportion to your respective incomes. The following expenses are also considered special or extraordinary expenses.
- that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
- health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
- extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;
- expenses for post-secondary education; and
- extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
Not every extracurricular activity that a child participates in will be considered an extraordinary expense. Besides the best interests of your children, there are a variety of factors the courts will examine to determine whether a particular extraordinary expense should be incurred.
Some of these considerations are:
- the amount of the expense in relation to the income of the spouse requesting the amount, including the amount that the spouse would receive under the applicable table or, where the court has determined that the table amount is inappropriate, the amount that the court has otherwise determined is appropriate,
- the nature and number of the educational programs and extracurricular activities that the child is already participating in,
- any special needs and talents of the child or children,
- the overall cost of the programs and activities, and
- any other similar factor that the court considers relevant.
In your situation it would be appropriate to gather documentation from the potential daycare provider such as the cost for providing childcare. Once you have this information, you can ask your former partner to assist you with daycare expenses if it incurred so you can find employment, attend training or require the care due to an illness you are experiencing. If your former partner is still unwilling to provide assistance for the costs of daycare you may need to explore other avenues such as starting a court process or mediation. Contact us to obtain additional information.
Caution: This is not legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. To ensure your interests are protected, formally seek advice from a lawyer.