There is an end in sight when it comes to daycare expenses. But parents don’t always agree on the age at which daycare is no longer necessary. Daycares are usually licensed to take children up to and including the year they turn 12 years old. Some parents are comfortable leaving a child alone at home as early as age 10; some prefer to have them in care until age 12. Perhaps a parent feels that it is not necessary to pay for before and after school daycare for an 11 year old, if the child is alone for only a half hour. Maybe it makes a difference if the child would be left alone before, or after, school.
Childcare then becomes not only a financial issue, but a parenting decision. If possible, include a provision in your separation agreement about when you expect payments for daycare to cease. Knowing how long each of you is prepared to contribute to childcare impacts both the child and the parent and should be part of any settlement discussions.
As in most custody and access cases, the facts are specific to your situation and decisions are best made by you, the people who know your children best. Whenever possible, try to prevent future arguments by planning ahead and negotiating child support issues, including when the childcare obligation ends, well in advance. Separation agreements should look to the future and deal with foreseeable situations comprehensively.