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How are uninsured medical expenses handled in child support?

It is important for people who pay child support, as well as the custodial parent collecting child support, to know and understand what responsibilities and obligations are associated with a child's costs and needs. These expenses extend beyond the basic necessities of a home, clothing, food and education. Although a child's health insurance will likely cover most of a child's medical expenses, there are "extraordinary expenses" that also need to be paid.

These extraordinary expenses may include but are not limited to: co-pays and deductibles for a doctor, specialist or hospital visits; prescriptions and over the counter medicinal costs; and dental and vision treatments that may not be covered under the child's insurance.

It is important to keep track of all such expenses, and to discuss the expenses with the other parent both before and after any visits or procedures take place. In addition, it is important to save all receipts and bills from these expenses and to follow the original child support order agreement to avoid complications or issues down the road.

These extraordinary expenses are often addressed in the child support order, but an adjustment or modification may need to be issued by the court if not. For the child support payer, failure to pay or reimburse a custodial parent for these expenses, much like other child support violations, will result in "arrearages," and may be met with contempt of court charges, wage garnishments, tax refund withholdings or a license revocation. Knowing your obligations and informing your ex-spouse of your child's medical expenses can only help prevent disagreements or problems down the road.

Source: findlaw.com, "Uninsured Medical Expenses and Child Support", Accessed June 23, 2015

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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