Q: Under FAM 024(b) section 304 Orders for child care costs - do I have to pay half even if I am not needing child care?
My ex husband needs child care for his weeks when he has our son however I do not need childcare for the weeks when I have our son (we have 50/50), I continued paying it for the remainder of this school year however I no longer wish to pay for something I do not use. am I legally responsible to pay for childcare regardless of my circumstances?
First, start with what the current court order says. If there is no court order, then there is no legal duty for someone in your shoes to pay 50%; however, if there is a court order, then there is a legal duty to pay 50%--it cannot be changed unless there is a new court order to replace the terms. If in fact there is a court order, then there is one of two ways to resolve the problem: 1) "Stipulate" between the two of you that you don't have to pay 50% of the child-care and then submit the stipulation to the judge for final approval; or 2) if you can't reach an agreement, file a petition with the court on this particular issue and ask the court to make the change. (Whether you will win or lose on this issue will depend on your particular set of facts).
I strongly recommend you speak with an attorney, even if for a consultation or legal coaching, because there are other collateral issues you need to consider before "opening the pandora's box." For example, if you are also paying child support, he could use this opportunity for the court to revisit the issue of child support as well. In other words, understand the pros and cons of raising this issue before you take a step to which you will not be able to stop.
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