Are Medical Expenses Covered by My Child Support Payments?
When determining your financial situation after a divorce, you take into account the alimony awards and child support award in the monthly budgets and expenses for you and your children. However, many parents neglect to consider the health insurance and out of pocket expenses that will accumulate at unexpected times. It is imperative that your child support order directly address the medical expenses that a health insurance plan does not cover. Discuss your financial responsibilities in regards to your child’s healthcare and medical expenses with your Orlando Divorce Attorney as you may be responsible for some or all of the medical bills accumulated by your shared minor child.
Florida statute has specific regulations for child support orders. Specifically, statute requires the court, in addition to every child support order, to note a provision covering health insurance for the minor child. 61.13(1)(b). This allows for each child to be covered in some form in regards to healthcare and will protect finances for the family as such enrollment payments are regulated and reoccurring. Along with the health coverage for the child, the court must also make a finding of the expenses not covered by the health plan. Such uncovered expenses will be distributed between the parties, pro rata, in the same manner as the overall child support order. 61.13(1)(b) Therefore, the court must assign a percentage of the medical expenses to each party. This percentage is determined by the child support guidelines provided in Florida statute and looks to the financial abilities of the parties. Ayra v. Ayra, 148 So. 3d 142 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014); Zinovoy v. Zinovoy, 50 So. 3d 763 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010). If the court fails to assign such expenses to be pro rata, the case could be overturned on appeal. Lockett v. Lockett, 235 So. 3d 1003 (Fla. DCA 2d 2017). When remanded, the trial court is required to distribute the expenses pro rata or make specific findings of fact as to why such expenses should not be distributed pro rata. Denis v. Denis, 252 So. 3d 365 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018). It is clear that Florida statute seeks to protect both parents in the distribution of medical expenses in an equitable, fair and uniform fashion. Ensure these regulations are adhered to in your child support order by employing a knowledgeable Orlando Child Support Attorney.
In addition to the pro rata distribution, it may be necessary to determine the means by which a party will need to be reimbursed. Assigning the timeline to provide a copy of the expenses as well as a timeline for the repayment of such expenses is critical. With an agreement particularly dissecting the proper documentation needed and the timeline for reimbursement, minimizes the uncertainty, and the contention that may result. When attempting to be reimbursed for the medical expenses it is imperative to keep accurate and full records of each expenditure. You must provide copies of these expenses to the other parent and allow them time to look into these expenses and discuss with the insurance company proper payment as well as reimbursement for you. However, if a parent fails to properly reimburse, legal actions may be taken. If you are having difficulty being reimbursed for expenses you have paid regarding your child’s healthcare, contact your Orlando Child Custody Attorney who will seek a resolution through the court.
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