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How the family law system addresses medical expenses

Child support obligations are important and so is the obligation that parents have for the medical expenses related to the care of their children. Parents are responsible for the extraordinary medical costs of their children that are not covered by the parent's health insurance plan. These expenses can include out of pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays and prescriptions. They can include any medically necessary medical, dental and vision costs incurred for the child's health care.

The treatment of the child's health care costs and medical expenses may be addressed by the existing child support order between the parents but if it is not, the child support order may need to be modified to address responsibility for medical expenses for the child. States have different rules and methods for determining how medical expenses will be divided between the parents so parents should be familiar with those.

The payment of medical expenses is enforced in the same way that child support obligations are enforced. Parents can face significant potential penalties and consequences for a failure to pay both child support and a failure to pay medical expenses. Penalties parents may face can include wage garnishment, property liens, having their tax refunds intercepted, a denial of a passport, the revocation of a business or occupational license, contempt charges and potential jail time.

Child support obligations, including obligations for medical expenses, can be an important concern facing many parents and families. The family law process provides resources to help address all of those concerns which is why parents should be familiar with how the family law system treat topics such as child support, medical expenses, child support enforcement and child support modification.

Source:, "Uninsured Medical Expenses and Child Support," Accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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