Child support normally includes the medical expenses of the child. While there may be health insurance coverage available to the child provided by a parent’s employer, the non-custodial parent may have to cover the cost of the child’s healthcare that is not covered under an insurance policy. In this article, we discuss your options for the enforcement of a child’s medical expenses under a Texas court order.
Uninsured medical expenses can include any deductibles, prescriptions, co-pays, and any adaptive devices. Adaptive devices include wheelchairs or hearing aids required by the child. If there are dental expenses or even optician expenses that an employer does not provide coverage for, they can also be considered uninsured medical expenses. This is on the basis that these expenses are medically necessary.
Who Is Responsible For Uninsured Medical Expenses?
Parents can allocate responsibility for medical costs in their divorce agreement, including the monthly premiums required for health insurance coverage. The court will consider the agreement and approve it if it is in the best interests of the child.
However, there are circumstances where the court may order that a parent does not have to provide payment toward medical bills of a child. For example, it might place undue hardship on one parent. Health insurance might also not be available at a reasonable cost. The Texas state court defines a reasonable cost for insurance coverage as a percentage of gross annual income. The costs cannot exceed 9 percent for health insurance and 1.5 percent for dental coverage.
The parents may not always share the costs for a child’s medical bill equally. Sometimes the court may order that one parent with more financial resources cover a greater portion of the payments.
According to the Texas Family Code, non-custodial parents are required to make payment for medical bills on top of the basic child support obligations. The medical support obligation for the children must be clearly stated within the divorce agreement in order for you to enforce the agreement in court.
Enforcement Of Child’s Unpaid Uninsured Medical Expenses
Firstly, you need to demonstrate that you have reached out to the other parent to ask them to pay within a certain time period. Your court order may indicate a notice period within which your ex has to make payment. If you have already paid, keep copies of the receipts and bills so that you can ask for a reimbursement. It’s best to also keep any communication with health insurers. This will show that the insurer paid their share of the uninsured medical expenses.
The other parent might disagree with the medical expenses incurred. For example, they may disagree with your decision to take your child to the doctor for a mild cold. The court will consider if the medical expenses are justified before determining if the other parent should also be responsible for the expense.
Legal Action To Enforce Uninsured Medical Expenses
If your ex does not pay their portion of the uninsured medical expenses, you can seek legal action. Even if they didn’t want a child they are still responsible for support. Your attorney can ask the court to enforce the court order. The legal action undertaken by your attorney is very similar to that taken when enforcing child support payments.
The child support enforcement agency in the state of Texas can help to get the other parent to pay up if they are also missing child support payments. Even if Child Protective Services has removed a child from the physical custody of a parent they need to continue paying support. Otherwise, you can file a Motion to Enforce through your lawyer to ask the other parent to pay their share of the uninsured medical expenses. You must have evidence to prove your child’s medical expenses and your attempts to ask the other parent for payment. Include proof that you have made payment for the share of your costs that you are responsible for.
Under law, you have to provide your ex with notice so they have time to respond before the court hearing. The court can order your ex to pay if the court determines that your ex is liable for the costs.
In some cases, you may also have a case to go to the small claims court. This is possible if you have already paid for your child’s medical expenses and the other parent does not want to pay and reimburse you. Your lawyer may be able to advise you on your options.
Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review
If you need help seeking enforcement of a child’s medical expenses under a Texas court order, let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sabelhaus and Lynch help you prepare your legal case. We have years of experience in family law and can answer your questions.
Contact us today for a no-cost case review.