Parents with young children contemplating divorce have special considerations regarding the care of their children when both parents must work. As many parents can attest, the price of childcare and the lack of availability is a challenge, so both moms and dads typically have to go above and beyond to provide the care their children need despite a divorce.
In the majority of families with children under the age of 18, all parents married or single, work outside the home. That means that approximately 12 million kids under the age of five will need a safe & nurturing place to go while mom and dad are at work.
Unfortunately, that child care comes at a steep cost in the US. Not only are there issues of affordability, but also quality and availability.
In terms of cost, recent research illustrates the hurdle many parents face in affording childcare in this country:
- Many parents with young children hope to set aside money for their child to attend college some time in the future. They may need that money now, instead. The average cost of full-time care in preschool child care centers in the U.S. runs $9,589 a year, higher than the average cost of in-state college tuition.
- In a handful of states, the cost of child care exceeds the median amount people pay for rent. In other states, including Illinois, the price tag for childcare is 90 percent of the typical cost of rent.
- If you are thinking about an in-home caregiver, you are looking at about 30K a year, which is equal to 53% of U.S. median household incomes, making it an unlikely option for many.
For many parents, it is an issue of finding a vacancy for their child in a reputable center. Research indicates that your chances in some states are slim and none:
- There are only 11 percent of child care establishments in the country accredited by the leading associations committed to quality child care. Accredited child care centers and family homes range from a low of 1 percent in some states to a high of 56 percent in others, leaving families to rely on informal care, which may or may not serve their children’s best interests such as providing early learning opportunities to name one.
The gloomy childcare stats and more are part of the recently released Care Index, a data and methodology collaboration between New America, Care.com and others, and are drawn from a variety of sources including proprietary Care.com cost data, a national survey of more than 15,000 affected households conducted in October 2015, as well as data from the U.S. Census, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, among other sources.
The report recommends changes in the way child care is prioritized in the U.S., proposing an early care and learning infrastructure to include public and private investment: better training, pay and professionalization of the teaching workforce; and innovative policies to help make high quality care more affordable and accessible to all families.
Until things improve, the expense and availability of care will likely continue to be a challenge, especially so for parents facing divorce. Provisions for the care of young children should be addressed in a divorce settlement so that one parent is not unfairly burdened financially with caring for young children.
Contact the Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC if you have questions regarding child support, spousal maintenance or other matters related to your divorce. Our experienced attorneys will help you to achieve a fair settlement, positioning you and your family for a brighter future.
Source: New America, “In Depth: The Care Report” accessed September 29, 2016.