In some cases, either parties will agree or a court will Order the payment for a nanny. In fact, this is typically in the nature of work related child care which is something that parents are typically required to share the costs of in accordance to their incomes under the Child Support Guidelines.
A question that is more interesting is for how long must we pay for a nanny. In hign income cases, perhaps this is less of an issue because it becomes more of a lifestyle issue than work related child care. In fact, in many cases like that, there is a nanny or nannies even when one parent does not work outside of the home. That is why I say it is more of a lifestyle issue.
What happens when there is a nanny in a garden variety case where the resources are more limited? In an unreported Appellate Division case released on November 7, 2008 entitled Herega v. Figueroa that issue was addressed to a certain extent. To see the full text of the case, click here.
In this case, it appears as though the father had custody of the children. At time of the divorce, both children were not in school full time. As such, recgonizing a need for assistance, the wife agreed to pay for half of the nanny.
However, the current litigation stems from her motion to cease contributing to the nanny among other things. There were two major rationales given. First, she alleged that the father and the nanny were now a romantic couple – indeed sharing the same bedroom. Second, since the kids were now 6 and 9 and in school full time, she asserted that there was no need for a full time nanny. In fact, their school offered low cost before and after care. The husband denied that there was a relationship and otherwise opposed the motion. The trial court denied the motion.
The Appellate Division reversed and remanded the matter for a plenary hearing (trial) on the issue of whether there was a relationship between the nanny and the husband. Further, the hearing was to address whether the nanny was still needed given the maturation of the children and the availablity of after care at school.
While not reported, this case remains interesting for the above reasons. In addition, it is another example of the Appellate Division reminding trial judges that plenary hearings are required when there are important factual issues in dispute.