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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26697
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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My ex and I have joint legal custody of our 17 month old daughter,

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My ex and I have joint legal custody of our 17 month old daughter, she has sole physical custody, and i have visitation every other weekend as the dad. Recently my ex has, with out consulting with me, taken our child out of her childcare and place her under the supervision of her mother who lives in the same house as her and recently established a state certified in home day care - citing a decrease in price as the reason. She claimed she was paying $1000 for previous child care and was now being charged $750 by her mother, who again, live in the same hose as she does. 1- is this legal? and 2- recently my childs mom sent me the contract between her and her mother, this contract states that her mom is charging $1000 and not $750, When i asked her for documents reflecting the $750 price, she refused, then stated she never verbally told me the price was $750.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 11 months ago.

Roger : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist.
Customer:

Hey Roger

Roger : 1. Unless the divorce decree mandates that both of you must agree on child care providers, agree on changing the provider, etc., then her changing to her mother is not illegal.
Roger : However, IF you're paying for child care and you're concerned that the mother isn't accepting payment or that the mother is pocketing the money instead of child care, you could ask for proof OR to reduce your obligation.
Roger : 2. You have the right to demand proof of the expense and to prove that this is actually being paid.
Roger : If the mother will not provide this voluntarily, you could file a motion with the court for an accounting of this expense. The judge can and should direct her to provide cancelled checks, etc. to prove this.
Customer:

we were never married. we just signed a joint legal custody agreement AFTER we established child support. And I do pay a large portion of childcare. I have asked her for documentation showing the amount she paid for the previous babysitter, as well as start and end dates. She provided copies of a sheet that laid out price and date, but it didnt look official. When i asked her to provide me the telephone number of the baby sitter, she gave me a non working number, i therefore was unable to recive offical documentation from the baby sitter herself

Roger : Ok. If you don't have a divorce decree, then the child custody agreement would have to provide some language that would make her actions in violation of the agreement in order for you to have traction to contest her changing child care providers.
Customer:

the issue now is that i believe my daughter has been under the watch of her grandmothers in home day care for longer than the mother has told me... she claimed she began with the grandmother october 4th... 2 - she provided me a contract that was $1000, and verbally stated was $750, but now has backtracked. 3 - the mother my daughter and grandmother live under the same roof, it seems fishy that the grandmother can watch the child and fluctuate the price up and down, in addition to that, how do I know the mother is really paying the grandmother the stated amount, she can simply be giving her a check and the grandmother providing a recept and not truly ever be recieving that amount

Customer:

ok got it

Customer:

so even if she provides proof that she is giving her mother checks, the mother can be lying as well. Also, is it legal for her to have the child be watched by the grandmother when they all live in the same home?

Roger : I understand that concern, but none of this is illegal unless there's a court order that says this can't be done.
Customer:

sorry for the length and repetitiveness

Roger : No, that's fine.
Customer:

wow. this is disheartening. she is blatantly going up and down in price and all but verbally told me that she isnt paying her mom the full price in the contract

Roger : Well, if you're not paying the entire amount of child care, or if your obligation/how much you pay isn't changing, then it's not likely going to affect you too much.
Customer:

it just seems like this shouldnt be allowed. but im an idealist i guess. she now has full control on the price of child support. They can decide she is going to charge $1400 and id be obligated to accept an increase in support

Customer:

*if she goes to court for a modification, that is.

Roger : If the mother were to request an increase in child support due to child care costs, you could object based on the fact that it could be done cheaper with a daycare, etc. instead of her mother, that there's been no proof that she's actually being paid anything, and that the mother and grandmother have never been transparent with what is actually paid for child care.
Customer:

got it. well, with regards XXXXX XXXXX She did send me documentation showing the $1000, i have no proof that she verbally stated $750.

Roger : If you can raise the issue that there's an appearance of corruption and untrue disclosures regarding the costs, the judge will require proof to validate any increase before the court would even consider it.
Customer:

Got it! so just so I leave this discussion fully aware of my rights:

Customer:

she can make decisions unilaterally as to where she attends daycare, school, etc despite us having joint legal custody.

Customer:

2 - can I request that the previous baby sitter provide documentation of price and dates attended - through the court (the mother is providing what appear to be forged docs)?

Roger : Unless the custody agreement specifically says that daycare decisions will be made by both of you, then her changing is not illegal, BUT you have the right to challenge the change if you think it is not in the best interest of the child or if there is some other legitimate reason why this should not be allowed. You have the right to challenge anything she does if you don't think it is best for the child.
Roger : Yes, you can ask the babysitter for invoices, pay stubs, etc. If she will not provide this voluntarily, you could file a motion with the court to have this provided.
Customer:

3 - I may file joint physical custody as my daughter gets a bit older. If we do have joint physical custody, who provides financially for day care? is it split? or does the child then go to two seperate daycare locations if I dont want her going to her grandmothers/mom home for child care?

Roger : If you pay child support, that amount you pay goes toward paying child care as well.
Customer:

with joint physical (50/50 split) wouldnt child support be canceled for both parties since physical obligation is split?

Roger : Not necessarily.
Roger : Because there's still a primary parent with 50/50 custody, child support is usually still required by the non-primary parent.
Roger : Unless the time each parent spends with the child is EXACTLY the same and unless both parents make the EXACT same income, the court is likely to order some amount of support.
Customer:

wow. well she makes about 7,000 more than I do, and i plan to request the time be exact.

Roger : In that case, she could end up paying you.
Customer:

ah got it. Would you recommend I hire a lawyer if I decide to seek joint physical custody?

Roger : That's always a good idea.
Customer:

thanks. two more questions with joint physical custody, would the parent with the higher income pay an amount similar to what they would pay if there was not joint physical custody and they did not have 50/50 time spent?

Customer:

and how would child care be divided up? Im not sure youll be able to answer that last question with limited info, so forgie me

Roger : No, the amount would be less because of the 50/50 custody.
Customer:

got it

Roger : Child care would likely be ordered to be split, but it's up to the judge.
Customer:

ahh got it.

Customer:

well. thank you roger for your help

Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26697
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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