Child Support – should it include Child Care Costs and the Cost of Travel to Visits in California?by Stewart D. Jenkins on 05/21/15
California dictates factors that a Judge must calculate in Child Support cases in a complex matrix of statutes in its Family Code. Nevertheless, there are factors that a custodial or visiting parent can argue to increase or to decrease the amount of child support to be collected or paid.
For instance Family Code § 4062 requires on request a Judge order that “Child care costs related to employment or to reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills” be paid by a parent. The focus is on employment now, or in the future. In litigation over child support Judges cannot avoid ordering payment of child care costs; unless those costs are unrelated to the custodial parent’s current of future employment. Occasionally a visiting parent can take advantage of this statute.
On the other hand, Judges have the choice of how to apportioning travel for visiting between the parents. This is a discretionary decision. So these kinds of expenses may, or may not, be used to increase or decrease the amount of support paid by a visiting parent. Generally a Judge is looking for extraordinary travel expenses. Costs equating with an ordinary commute that a parent might incur for work are not the kind of expense a Judge is likely to consider to reduce a visiting parent’s support, or to increase a custodial parent’s support if the custodial parent is providing the transportation. Travel from Ohio to California for visits may make a clearer case for an adjustment in support, depending on other circumstances.
An experience family law lawyer can help you review and prepare the kind of evidence need to help a Judge make a favorable decision on these kinds of child support issues.