Work-Related Child Care Expenses

Utah law allows a Court to issues orders regarding the payment of expenses considered reasonable and necessary. Reasonable and necessary means work-related child care expense for the dependent children. The order for the payment of work-related child care expenses is in addition to the standard monthly child support. Depending on the child and situation, work-related child care expenses can become expensive for any parent to afford alone. Every divorced parent must follow the Court’s orders regarding work-related child care expenses. This is so that no party is solely responsible for those costs.

The Court will determine how to allocate the work-related child care expenses between the parties. The Court will typically order the parties to share those expenses equally. However, a Court may order the costs be split pro-rata according to the parties’ income. This happens if there is a substantial difference between their earning capabilities. The Court will also designate the party who shall initially pay the bill.

The other parent will then need to reimburse the paying parent for his or her share of the bill. Typically, the party who takes the party to the care provider is the party who initially pays the bill. However, the Court’s order will ultimately dictate who is responsible for the initial amount. It is the paying parent’s responsibility to make sure they give a copy of the bill to the other parent.  Then they must request reimbursement for his or her share.

5 Important Tips to Follow When Dealing with Work-Related Child Care Expenses in a Post-Divorce Context

  • The court requires both parties to share child care expenses considered reasonable and work-related. The child care must be necessary for the parent to go to work. The court does not require the other parent to pay for half of the child care expenses for non-work related reasons (such as a babysitter so the other parent can go on a date or church activity) unless the other parent agrees otherwise.
  • Consult with the other parent regarding the care, the cost, payment options, and any reasonable alternatives when determining a child care provider. A parent who unreasonably incurs expenses without consulting the other parent may find themselves solely responsible for the expense.
  • When you receive the bill for the child care expense, immediately send a copy of the bill to the other parent. Do not allow them to accumulate. The Court will generally state that requests for reimbursements must be made within a certain amount of time. A parent who fails to request reimbursement in time may find out that they waived the right to reimbursement by failing to notify the other parent of the expense.
  • Send the request for reimbursement with a copy of the bill or invoice to the other parent via e- mail that way you have a copy of what was sent and when it was sent. You will have proof that you made the request if there is ever a dispute about whether or not you ever requested to be reimbursed.
  • Certain work-related child care expenses can give a parent a refundable tax credit. However, a parent can usually only claim the credit if he or she is claiming the qualifying dependent. Make sure that you work with your attorney and accountant to make sure that you will qualify for the tax credit.
Peter ChristensenWork-Related Child Care Expenses