Adult relationships are complicated, but relationships can become even more complex when children are thrown into the mix. Children are expensive, so parents must somehow find a way share the expense. Money will need to be provided for things like health care. A family law attorney will have the best advice and information regarding this topic, but it is still important to understand how health insurance works in the realm of child support
Health insurance is a complex issue in child support. Typically, one parent pays support to the other, but medical expenses can be extremely unpredictable.
Most jurisdictions factor in a child’s health insurance premium into the child support payment. One way to determine the premium is to find out what the premium would be without children and then subtract that premium from the premium with children. Some courts may encourage dividing the current premium by the number of people it covers.
For future medical expenses than can be predicted, parents should create a plan to cover the cost. For example, the parents may decide to split the cost in half or into percentages based on income. For medical expenses that are not covered, like a co-pay, the parents should also include a plan in the settlement. The method for payment will likely be similar to the previously described method.
It is also a promising idea to set a time limit for the parents. Oftentimes, one parent will submit a copy of the medical bill to the other. The other parent should have a time limit to reimburse the first parent for the agreed upon amount. Likewise, the first parent should have a time limit to send the bill to the other parent.
There are some things that must be done regarding health insurance and support. Health insurance must be provided to the child somehow, whether it is from a parent’s employer, a private company, or some other source. Unless otherwise agreed upon, a judge is not allowed to order a parent who receives support to pay for health coverage.
The judge will have to decide if the health insurance presents an undue hardship. In the case that the judge decides there is an undue hardship, then there will not be an order that a parent provides health insurance. The judge may find an undue hardship if the cost of health insurance makes it impossible to pay support, the insurance will not cover all medical expenses, or if income is much less than federal poverty guidelines.
In some places, the parent who gets the support has to cover an initial amount of uninsured medical expenses. After that, the court may order the parent who provides support to pay. In cases of extraordinary expenses, the judge will decide how the cost should be divided on a case-by-case basis. In cases where parents have already reached an agreement, the judge will decide if the agreement is fair.
Navigating adult relationships is a tricky process. Children make this process a little more complex. A good strategy is to always make sure the family law attorney is aware of what sorts of medical conditions afflict a child. This information should also be transmitted to the judge to keep decisions just and fair. In the end, the child’s welfare should be the priority.
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