Richard C. Bardi & Associates LLC

Extraordinary medical costs: A consideration for divorced parents

While many people think about the regularly recurring payments from one parent to the other when they think about child support, this isn't the only thing that these orders cover. The court will usually set the standard for which parent needs to include the child on their health insurance coverage. Another consideration is who will pay the extraordinary medical expenses for the child.

The out-of-pocket medical costs that you have to handle for the child depend largely on the type of insurance the child has. These include things like co-pays, deductibles and uninsured health expenses. There has to be a set standard for who will pay those.

In most cases, whichever parent has the child at the time will have to cover the upfront cost. The issue then becomes whether the other parent needs to reimburse them. There are a few ways that this might be determined.

One way is that each parent is responsible for a specific percentage of the out-of-pocket medical care costs. Another way is that one parent is responsible for a specific dollar amount each period, which can be a month, quarter or year. Once that parent pays that amount, the other parent is responsible for the rest.

The terms for reimbursement must be covered. This might be that everything is factored and settled right away when a payment is made. It might also be possible that the settling takes place once per month, quarter or year. Having this spelled out in the order takes away the need to guess what might happen.

It is important to note that these orders will only cover necessary expenses. Anything that is considered unreasonable, elective or unnecessary might not be covered.

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