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Sharing Custody

Parents who share custody of a child can receive Child Care benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria. When a child's parents live separately and it is not a temporary absence, each parent must apply for Child Care separately and you must determine their eligibility separately.

The Parent's Need

Consider each parent's need for child care, and only approve each parent for the time the parent has physical custody of the child and meets the need factor for Child Care. It does not matter whether the custody arrangement is voluntary or court ordered.

A child should never be approved for greater than 31 days of child care in a month. Ensure that the total number of days on both cases does not exceed 31 when approving Child Care in a joint custody situation. You also cannot use a blended or weekly rate in this situation.

Consult any existing cases where the child is already receiving care prior to approving Child Care benefits to ensure you do not approve too many days.

You may find the other parent's case by

  • Using the FIND IMS transaction and at minimum the child's first and last name to locate the case.
  • Using the PY IMS transaction and the child's Social Security number (SSN) to search for the case.
  • Using PY or FIND with the parent's information to search for cases they might have shared with the other parent.

Since Child Care eligibility does not require a SSN, you must use a name-based search to find another parent's case.

Example 1:

Hazel, aged 23, and her two children Marcy, aged 3, and Donovan, aged 1, apply for Child Care. During the interview, Hazel explains that she separated from Darwin, the children's father, and lives with her parents. Hazel wants to attend a GED program at the local university. Her proposed schedule is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM. Searching IMS using the children's information, you learn that Darwin is already receiving Child Care for these children. He currently receives a full-time 14. His case noted schedule shows he is working Saturday through Monday 8 AM to 5 PM. Hazel explains there is no formal custody order, but Darwin has the children on weekends. When can Hazel qualify for Child Care?

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 AM to 5 PM. She does not qualify for Child Care on Saturday because the children are in their father's custody during that time. Code Hazel for a full-time 14 rate. 

Example 2:

Isaac, aged 19, applies for Child Care for his six-year-old daughter Nancy. Isaac shares custody of Nancy with Katie. Their divorce agreement grants Isaac and Katie custody on alternating weeks. Nancy is currently attending the first grade from 7:30 AM to 2:55 PM, Monday through Thursday. Isaac is working 9 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday. He reports he needs 15 minutes of travel time. Isaac's preferred daycare provider picks up children from Nancy's school and drives them to the child care facility. Katie is not seeking Child Care. What time could you potentially approve Isaac for Child Care?

There are two alternatives to subsidized child care in this example: Nancy's school and her mother's custody. Isaac may not receive Child Care while Nancy is at school or with her mother. Nancy's school eliminates Isaac's need from 9 AM to 2:55 PM, and Katie's custody eliminates his need every other week. He needs care from 2:55 PM until 5:45 PM (2 hours and 50 minutes) for Monday through Thursday and full-time care on Friday every other week. Based on this information, you would code his approval is for a full-time 2 and part-time 11, but you must consider school holidays. To allow for holidays, code a full-time 9 and part-time 4. Enter the full-time units as the primary unit type, and revaluate Isaac need when school lets out for summer.

Where can I find information concerning the PY and FIND transactions? For the PY transaction: From a blank IMS page, "Type PY;" Press <space bar>; Type the child's SSN; Press <Enter>. For the FIND transaction: From a blank IMS page, Type "FIND;" Press <Enter>; Type the child's first and last name and any other details you have; Press <Enter>.
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