Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

In the State of Maryland (USA), is it possible for a non-custodial parent to initiate an investigation on how child support payments are being used by the custodial parent as it pertains to daycare? I ask this because I've been hearing of too many cases of custodial parents using their live-in parents as daycare providers (when they are typically unlicensed) against the non-custodial parent's wishes in an attempt to get an increase in child support that they would receive, knowing that their live-in parents aren't really charging the custodial parent at all to watch the child. Honestly, I feel that (1) having that type of daycare for your child shouldn't be allowed by the Court of Law, being as though this type of daycare setup is going to be partial to the custodial parent because of the daycare provider(s) living in the household with the custodial parent anyway, which in turn opens up doors to loopholes in allowing the custodial parent to provide a "paper trail" solely to give the Court the "impression" that they are paying for this daycare, only to stop that trial once the child support is enforced, pretty much allowing the custodial parent to "pocket" money for a service that they ultimately are not contributing to as it is calculated in child support, (2) the daycare being provided to the child should be by a licensed and impartial daycare provider and lastly, (3) the custodial parent should also be making sure that if they are in fact paying their parents for the daycare, they're to make sure that their parents are paying taxes on this money, which in this case is considered "taxable income" (as licensed established daycare providers/facilities typical have to pay taxes on their earnings as well). It is not fair to the non-custodial parent when you have custodial parents out there that are that methodical in using their own children for unfair financial gain. Any help provided on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. :-)

Asked on 3/16/16, 6:51 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

If the amount you are paying was in part based upon an expense for child care, you can certainly challenge this if there is some indication that the custodial parent is not actually incurring this expense. You would do this by filing a motion to modify child support. But before you take that step, you should ask the custodial parent to give you particulars about the facility where he/she claims the child(ren) are being taken care of. If they claim the children are being taken care of by live in relatives who are being paid, I think a judge would look askance at that arrangement. Even if the relatives aren't live in, you would be entitled through pre-hearing discovery to explore this arrangement, and might well have a good argument for a reduction in your payment. I suggest you consult with an experienced family law attorney for further information, guidance and potential representation.

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Answered on 3/17/16, 9:01 am

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