Home Alone: Divorce Edition

Parents do not always agree how to raise their children. While child rearing disagreements are certainly not unique to divorced parents, such disputes can be more difficult for divorced parents to resolve if they no longer respect or trust the other party’s opinion or, for whatever reason, they are unable to effectively communicate with one another.  Additional challenges are presented when the financial resources of the parents change after divorce and decisions affecting a child have financial repercussions, as is the case with child care.

When the parents of younger children divorce, the non-custodial parent may be required to pay a pro rata share of the child care expenses incurred by the custodial parent, in addition to child support. For example, if the non-custodial parent earns $70,000 per year and the custodial parent earns $30,000 per year, the non-custodial parent will be responsible for 70% of the child care expenses incurred by the custodial parent. In such a case, the non-custodial parent, who bears the greater financial burden associated with child care, and who may already feel that he or she does not have enough left of his/her paycheck, after paying taxes, child support and child care, may be more eager to end child care than the custodial parent. In such an instance, the non-custodial parent may seek court intervention to terminate his/her obligation to contribute to child care for their child.

Oftentimes, parents start to question the need for child care after a child reaches twelve years of age. There is no law, however, that conclusively determines the age that child care ends; rather, the Court will have to determine what is appropriate for the child at issue, giving due consideration of the child’s age, maturity level, the amount of time, and the time of day that the child will be left home alone. For this reason, many parents may feel they require the assistance of counsel, whether they are the parent seeking to terminate the obligation or the parent defending against such an application.

Petroske Riezenman & Meyers, PC can help. Contact us at (631) 337-1977 to schedule a consultation.