Who Pays for the Children’s Medical Expenses After a Divorce?

Filing for divorce and discussing child custody can be a time consuming, frustrating and emotionally taxing process. In the process of determining child custody and responsibilities of each parent, there are a myriad of financial situations to consider, such as paying for your child’s medical expenses.  Here, the divorce and child custody attorneys at Rodier Family Law explain who is responsible for a child’s medical bills after divorce, and the process of determining financial obligations between parents.

Determine Child Support and Responsibilities

When going through a divorce in which children are involved, it is important to discuss all aspects of child support during the settlement and custody process. In relation to medical expenses, one parent is able to place the children on their health insurance, which will take care of expenses covered in the plan. Additionally, co-parents may decide to have their children listed on both of their plans. Keep in mind that these choices can potentially affect child support coming from the other parent. If you choose to have your children on both plans, then one parent is generally considered to have Plan A, and the other plan B. If your child’s medical expenses are not fully covered by Plan A, then Plan B will kick in to cover the remainder of the medical costs. If these medical costs are not covered under insurance, then parents will have to pay out-of-pocket. 

Create a Plan for Future Medical Expenses

During the divorce and child custody process, one parent is generally responsible for paying child support to the primary parent, which covers expenses such as food, schooling and clothing. However, when child support is determined, medical expenses are not always discussed. While child support may cover expenses such as a yearly check-up for the child, unexpected medical expenses may lead to tension between parents if not discussed during the settlement period. Consider creating a financial plan during the divorce process designating financial responsibility for each parent. 

For example, if your child’s appendix bursts and they have to have emergency surgery, it is important to have a plan in place in order to avoid strife and financial hardship. In some cases, parents may decide to split payment evenly. Parents can also decide to have expenses split based on income. If one parent makes $200,000 a year, while the other makes $65,000, medical expenses may be paid primarily by the parent with the higher income. Creating plans for these events can bring comfort to both parents, and ultimately reduce the chance of conflict and potential litigation.

Take Action If Your Ex-spouse Is Not Paying Bills

If you are struggling to contact your ex-spouse about contributing to your child’s medical bills, or they are refusing to pay them, it is important that you understand your legal rights. When it comes to medical bills, payment is generally treated like child support, and if your ex-spouse fails to pay, there may be legal repercussions. If you are looking for professional help, be sure to document all instances of attempted contact with your ex-spouse, as well as paperwork filed when you divorced. From there, you are able to file an enforcement petition against your ex-spouse to retrieve the needed money. Providing proof of attempted contact and lack thereof on the part of your ex-spouse will make it easier for courts to establish a solid case for you to be adequately compensated.

Consult With Child Custody and Divorce Attorneys at Rodier Family Law

When going through a divorce or child custody agreement, creating a plan for future scenarios such as payment of medical bills can feel overwhelming. However, understanding the process of payment and legal rights if your ex-spouse does not abide by these terms is vital in avoiding conflict and a lengthy litigation process. To learn more about how the qualified attorneys at Rodier Family Law can help you,  contact our Bel Air office today