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Can you use child support for childcare this summer?

When the first summer after your divorce arrives, you suddenly realize that you have a problem. In the past, when the kids were out of school, you and your ex took turns watching them. Now that you are divorced, when you have custody, you still have to work during normal school hours.

You know that the obvious option is to put them in childcare when you can't be with them yourself. However, that's not free. Far from it. Childcare can often be incredibly expensive. You understand it -- you don't mind paying someone to take good care of your kids -- but you also know that it's a serious financial burden. Can you use child support funds to help offset that cost if your spouse has been ordered by the court to pay?

Yes, you can. Childcare is a valid use of child support funds. This could include:

  • Sending the kids to daycare
  • Hiring a nanny
  • Hiring a babysitter
  • Paying another stay-at-home parent in your neighborhood to watch your kids along with their own while you are at work

You can use these services in the summer, over some of the school holidays, over spring break and any other times when you have to work but the children do not have to attend school. There truly are a lot of breaks and days off during the year, and parents know that it's complicated to juggle schedules and figure out what to do.

That said, divorced parents don't always see eye-to-eye on how child support money can be used. Be sure you know all of your legal rights.

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