Child Support Deviation for Daycare

September 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

MCA 43-19-103 is an intriguing statute. For those of you who every now and then look at the Mississippi Code, you will find much there that will assist you in advising your clients in child support cases, whether original or modification.

Section 103 sets out the so-called “deviation criteria” upon which a chancellor may rely in finding that application of the statutory child support guidelines in MCA 43-19-101 would be unjust or inappropriate.

In particular, I want to call to your attention that the Mississippi Legislature in 2012 amended the statute to add subsection (i), which reads as follows:

Payment by the obligee of child care expenses in order that the obligee may seek or retain employment, or because of the disability of the obligee.

This subsection allows the judge to find that the child care expenses for employment or occasioned by disability skew the payee’s expenses to the extent that a deviation upward from the guidelines is justified.

I don’t know about you, but when I practiced I saw many cases where the chancellor awarded strictly guideline child support, which was barely enough to pay the custodial parent’s daycare expenses so that she could work in a low-paying job. There was nothing left over to pay other expenses of the child, which fell on the mother to bear.

The most recent case in which a chancellor’s deviation based on daycare expenses was upheld is Marin v. Stewart, a COA case decided September 24, 2013, about which I previously posted here. My earlier post focused on the point that the chancellor is not required to address each and every deviation factor if she concludes that deviation is appropriate, but only those that apply in the case.

Before you launch off into your next child support case — whether you represent the payor or payee —  study Section 103 and see whether there is anything there that will help your case. As I have said many times here before: when you save your clients money, they love you; and when you cost your clients money, they hate you.

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