The trial court correctly included a nanny’s full salary as a child-care cost when calculating child support guidelines. The Wife’s requested child-care costs were employment-related and reasonable.
The parties married in 2000 and separated in 2018. They have three minor children. The parties share legal custody, with the wife having primary physical custody. She and the children live in the former marital home while the husband lives in the parties’ other home.
The wife spent her entire career at HITT contracting. Meanwhile, the husband also worked there but left for several years in order to work at a competing firm. The husband returned to HITT in 2016 as a vice president of HITT’s business unit while the wife worked in a different department.
Following a trial on equitable distribution, child support and spousal support, the husband has appealed several of the trail court’s rulings.
The husband argued that the court abused its discretion by including the nanny’s full salary as a work-related child-care cost in its calculation of the child support guidelines. He asserted that the wife failed to prove both that the nanny’s weekly salary was ‘reasonable’ and that the nanny was engaged in work-related child care as stipulated by Code § 20-108.2(F) that states the Guideline for determination of child support.
The husband argued that the wife had failed to prove the nanny’s salary was reasonable because the wife provided no evidence that she considered other options or that the decision to have the nanny provide child care was in the child’s best interests.
Yet, the wife did end up testifying about the infeasibility of other child-care arrangements explaining that SACC (a county child-care program) was not an option because she understood that it had a long waitlist and was not available for their middle-school student.
Further, evidence showed that the couple had employed a nanny for eleven years, since their oldest child was two, and that this particular nanny had been working for the family for seven years. Based on these facts, the court concluded that the parties’ child-care needs were best served by continuing to employ the nanny.
But Does a 13 year old Need a Nanny?
In most religions, turning 13 means you become a man. Yet, not according to millennials today and the world we currently live in. A perfect example of this would be Corrinne Olympios of “The Bachelor,” who famously required a nanny in her mid-twenties…
The husband asserted that because the children are in school for more than half of the nanny’s workday, the court abused its discretion in determining that the nanny’s full salary was for child care. Despite this, the court found that the nanny’s role was to care for the children so that the wife could maintain employment with HITT. The record supports this finding as the wife leaves shortly after the nanny arrives in the morning and does not return until late afternoon.
Maybe the Wife Needs a Nanny for Herself?
Like Corrinne Olympios, who argued that her nanny was more like her “personal assistant” now that she was in her mid-twenties – maybe that’s how the wife has felt as well, considering she’s had one for over 11 years assisting her with tasks around the house. Having children under the age of 18 may have had the court sway in her opinion.
“The nanny supervises the children for two hours before getting them on the school bus in the morning and for three hours after school. Nothing in Code § 20-108.2(F) specifically limits child-care costs to those incurred only when the provider is in direct contact with children.”
The wife had not only testified about the nanny’s child-care responsibilities and compensation but also produced corroborating bank statements. The wife also explained that she provided the nanny with additional compensation, which she did not include in her proffered child-care expenses, to perform errands and chores separate from her child-care duties.
“Given these circumstances, and the parties’ historical practice of employing a nanny for their children, the court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that the wife's requested child-care costs were reasonable and employment related.”
Roy v. Roy, Record No. 0070-20-4, Oct. 27, 2020. CAV (O’Brien) from Fairfax County Cir. Ct. (Bellows) Mark Arick Roy, pro se, for appellant, Kristen L. Kugel for appellee. VLW 020-7-193, 15 pp. Unpublished.
Special Thanks to Law Clerk William Taylor Gleason for his assistance with this article.