Armstrong Law, P.C.

Who pays for child's medical expenses after a divorce?

When going through a divorce in Massachusetts, there are a lot of things to consider and decide on. When children are involved, it gets even more complicated. An important consideration is which parent will be responsible for health insurance and medical costs. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, the courts will decide who is responsible as part of the child support order. Typically one parent will provide health insurance coverage, and other medical costs are divided among both parents.

According to WebMD, health insurance coverage can be included as a requirement in the divorce settlement for both the child and the ex-spouse. When offered through an employer this is usually much less expensive than buying insurance on one's own.

Once health insurance is figured out, there is the issue of other medical-related expenses that are not covered by insurance. FindLaw discusses that these expenses can include:

  • Insurance deductibles
  • Insurance co-pays
  • Vision exam, eyeglasses and/or contacts
  • Uninsured dental care
  • Prescription medication
  • Over-the-counter treatments
  • Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic 

Most states require both parents to contribute to payment of these uncovered expenses. Sometimes this is done based on income ratio, and other times it is based on a certain dollar amount based on the original support order. Some states only require both parents to pay for emergency and unpredictable medical expenses. In certain situations, a modification of the original child support order may be requested.

To make sure all bills are paid in full and by both parties, parents should be very organized when documenting medical bills. Copies of all bills and receipts should be made, and both parents should be aware of what treatments the child is getting. 

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