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Medical expenses and child support obligations

This blog recently discussed the serious consequences associated with failing to pay child support. In addition to the responsibility to pay child support, parents are also responsible for their children's medical expenses. The potential penalties for failure to pay medical expenses are the same as those for failure to pay child support and can include wage garnishment, tax intercepts, suspension of a business or occupational license, contempt of court or even possible time in jail.

Medical expenses that may not be covered by a parent's health insurance plan are referred to as extraordinary medical care costs because they are in excess of what is covered by a health insurance plan. Extraordinary costs can include deductibles, co-pays and prescription drug costs or other necessary medical, dental and vision care costs that are not covered by medical insurance.

A child support order can include the amount of uncovered medical expenses each parent is required to pay but if it does not, it may need to be modified to account for unpaid medical care costs. Each state has its own guidelines for how medical expenses should be divided between parents so it is helpful to be familiar with the rules in the state where the parents reside.

Child support can be challenging issue for parents and families and concerns related to medical care expenses may add to those challenges. As a result, it is helpful for parents to be familiar with how the family law court treats medical care costs and how it assigns responsibility for medical care expenses between parents.

Source:, "Uninsured Medical Expenses and Child Support," Accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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