More and more schools have decided to remain closed longer leave parents baffled on how to handle child care during COVID-19. When dealing with custody arrangements, child care can present it’s own challenges – especially childcare during COVID-19. Now what?
The first thing you should do is read your Settlement Agreement and Order. Child care, during actual working hours, for a working primary residential parent, is a mandated statutory add-on to child support. But, you may, in your settlement agreement, have opted out of that statuary provision. Alternately, you may not be the Primary Residential parent. You and your child’s other parent may be 50/50 joint residential parents and may have agreed in your stipulation to each provide child care for the children during your individual parenting time. So, first step is to review your Agreement or Order.
But, no matter what your agreement or court order, you can apply to the Court for a in the event of an unanticipated and substantial change of circumstance. And certainly, no one can argue the pandemic crisis we are currently facing is not an unanticipated and substantial change of circumstances!
If you think you have a case for modification of your support order to provide for reimbursement of child care costs, or other unanticipated expenses, consider filing for that relief. There will almost certainly be a huge backlog getting before the Court to hear your modification application, but when the Courts do begin hearing cases any decision made in your favor will be retroactive to the date of filing. Thus, it would be in your best interest to make your application as soon as reasonably possible and to keep very careful records and receipts for the child care expenses that you incur
As always, our team of experienced attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm is on standby to answer any questions you may have about your custody arrangements and how they are impacted by COVID-19.