One of the topics that I don't think I've ever written on here on our blog is daycare costs. You'd think that somewhere along the line this subject would have come up in relation to a child custody or divorce case. You may be able to search for the word daycare on our blog and have a couple posts come up, but I don't think that the word daycare will appear as the title subject for any of them. Daycare is sort of just one of those topics that we think about as a side issue related to having children in this day and age. It is rarely the subject of primary discussion in relation to a Texas family law case.
However, this subject may become more important during the days of COVID-19. The reason I say this Is that so many things in our world are up in the air right now. Consider that many of you reading this blog post have employment situations that are at best tenuous right now. The pandemic began In mid-March and not only led to many immediate business closures in the retail sector but also precipitated events in the oil and gas sector that led to many firms closing doors , furloughing employees and otherwise having to let go of a large portion of their workforce.
If you ask any person who has gone through a Texas family law case before he or she will tell you that so much of a parenting plan as laid out in a final decree of divorce or suit affecting the parent child relationship depends on consistency both in employment for parents and where your children are on any given day. Your ability to work and earn a living for your family may have been temporarily abended due to the pandemic.
Daycare costs are not commonly discussed as far as a parenting plan is concerned. One can assume that childcare costs on a monthly basis for one child equal child support. However, depending on the type of childcare that you wish for your child to receive the cost may be substantially higher. One people are being stretched in terms of their budget due to the economic shutdown that it is likely that childcare costs may be the first to go. Your budget may simply not allow for childcare to be had right now.
I think that it would be a useful conversation for you and your Co parent to have right now if you would discuss how you all are going to handle childcare and the costs that come with it during this pandemic. What you had been doing prior to the beginning of the pandemic may not work right now. As a result, alternatives may need to be considered at least on a temporary basis. What are the options that you and your Co parent can choose from in order to ensure some consistency and stability for your child during the remaining weeks of the summer?
Working from home? Why not try out a schedule that accommodate your child?
This is the method that I think many of us parents have implemented since the beginning of the pandemic. I can think back to the month of April when my children's school was closed and how my wife and I took the reins on Caring for our kids during the day and picking out activities for them to engage in to keep themselves busy and to learn. Yes, she and I have jobs where we can Somewhat easily divide our day up between Parenting and working. Some of you may have jobs where even if you are able to work from home you cannot devote too much attention to your kids. This is less than ideal and an extended period of time of parenting like this may lead to adverse effects for your children.
However, for a short period of time you and your co-parent should be able to figure out a way to remain productive at work and to take care of your kids. The fact is that many of you would be performing this balancing act right now even if there were no pandemic. After all, it is the middle of summer and unless your kids we're going to a summer camp at this time it is likely that they will be home with you anyways. Don't let the stress in the worry regarding the virus cancel out the commonsense aspects of the situation. If your child would have been home anyways then care for him or her the same way you would have had this pandemic never begun in the first place.
Sharing parenting time with your co-parent likely requires that you and he or she communicate with each other more regularly and with greater consistency. Fortunately for you, technology allows for many ways for you and your child's other parent to work together to communicate updates and strategize on the best way to divide your child's time during the summer. Also, remember that your family court orders what still take precedence for your family absent any other circumstances. This means that unless someone is sick you should look to your family court orders when deciding how to divide up time for your child during the summer.
On the other hand, if your child is ill then the parenting plan from your family court order should go out the window at least temporarily. The health and safety of your child and your family should be your first priority and there is no need to stick to a court order that tells you when possession. Should start and end if your child is sick. For example, you should not feel obligated to do exchanges of possession with a child who was sick. Keeping that child in one location in isolating him or her from other people for the time being it's probably the best strategy. Again, this is not something novel about this pandemic. If your child had bronchitis during the summer, you wouldn't want him or her to have to travel, would you?
Co-parenting as a means of addressing issues in relation to childcare during the pandemic
No matter what your specific financial circumstances are or what they are for your co-parent, there is no better time to work on your co- parenting skills than right now. During normal times it is easier to get away with lackadaisical or no co-parenting at all. You can occasionally speak with your child other parent about updates regarding your child and take no interest in coordinating parenting efforts with him or her and you may be able to get away with that. However, as the old saying goes, when the tide goes out, we can all tell who's skinny dipping been.
What do I mean by that? Simply put, you can take shortcuts when the tide is high, and things are going well because the circumstances in your life have not led to those parenting methods being fire tested. Nobody can really tell during the good and simple times in your family's life what role co-parenting plays. You and your child other parent can raise your children Without much coordination and because times are good, and no problems have arisen It will be difficult to tell the role that co-parenting plays.
However, viral pandemics tend to force you and your child's other parent too proof test the way that you have been raising your child. If you have not been co-parenting and have not been coordinating your efforts in terms of discipline in structure for your child, then any problems that have been laying under the surface may reared their heads during this pandemic. For instance, if you have no backup plans as far as how to care for your child if the costs of childcare become too much for your budget then there is potential problem. Rather than wait until the last minute when there is a problem, I would work with your child other parent to determine if any backup plans for childcare can be arranged.
Simply put, you do not want to wait until the last minute to decide alternative plans for childcare. The worst time to have to problem solve is when you actually have a problem period rather, be proactive in arrive at a solution for this problem before it actually arrives on your doorstep. Yes, this will force you to have actual conversations with your child's other parent. I understand that this is not going to be pleasant for some of you, but I think it is essential in terms of caring for your child properly.
If speaking to your child other parent in person is a problem for you then You are fortunate to be living in the year 2020. We have a great deal of different ways for all of us to communicate with one another that do not necessarily require face to face contact. The telephone, email, text messaging and co-parenting websites all exist and function pretty well depending on your circumstances. If communication is always been a problem for you and your co-parent, why not try out a new method of communication?
What can you do about childcare costs if your divorce or child custody case is ongoing?
On the other hand, if your family law case is not done over with then you still have time to address this issue. Hopefully we never have to consider circumstances like we're living through right now in terms of a significant change to our way of life due to this virus. Though nobody knows what direction the virus will go down and what our national responses to it will be in the future I think it is safe to say that planning ahead for future problems is a good idea.
For instance, if the cost of childcare had been a burden for you and your family during this pandemic then it may be wise for you all to consider what you would do in the future as far as dividing up the costs of childcare. As I mentioned earlier in today's blog post most Family court orders do not take into consideration assigning the costs of daycare to a particular parent. However, if you and your family are in a position Where this is a particularly important topic then you all may want to do so.
What I have seen other families do in regard to primary school is that they will agreed to live within a certain school district so that their child can always attend the same school no matter which home the child lives in- mom’s or dad’s. this way your child can ask them stability and consistency in the future. If your child goes to a particular daycare or school that you all like, then you can think of creative ways to incorporate that structure into your family court orders.
In closing, I believe that communication in regard to the subject is the most important thing for you and your Co parent to work on during the COVID-19 pandemic. The day care costs associated with this time. Will be relatively small in comparison to any improvements that you and your Co parent make in communication. Use this topic as a steppingstone towards better co-parenting and more fruitful and effective communication.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys have experienced handling cases in every area family law, including the one that you and your family are going through currently. A free of charge consultation with one of these attorneys is available in person, via the telephone and using video conference technology. We look forward to discussing your family circumstances with you and talking to you about how our office can best serve you in the future.