Divorcing parents in Tennessee have a number of matters to consider when planning for a child support and custody agreement or seeking an order from the court. One matter that can quickly become costly is the uninsured medical expenses of a child. In most cases, these costs are considered in addition to regular child support obligations. They include medically necessary health care expenses that aren’t covered by a health insurance plan, including co-pays, deductibles, some dental and vision bills and prescription medication expenses.
These treatments must be medically necessary in order to be considered extraordinary medical expenses in a child support agreement or order. Most child support orders include provisions for a child’s health insurance coverage, but extra costs like deductibles and co-pays as well as uninsured expenses are common.
Some child support agreements or orders create clear provisions for how these expenses will be divided between the parents. If the subject was not addressed in the original court documents on child support, a modification can be sought to address this type of expense. Parents can reach an agreement about how to split these costs, or a judge will issue an order about how they should be divided based on the parents’ incomes and other factors.
In general, collecting payment for these types of expenses must be handled directly by the two parents; the one that receives the bill must forward it to the other parent for them to pay their percentage. If a particular type of uncovered health care is disputed between the parents, a family law judge can rule on the expense and its necessity.
A family law attorney can provide guidance to parents developing a child support agreement that includes explicit provisions for uninsured medical expenses. In addition, a lawyer can seek a child support modification or amendment that includes a distribution of extraordinary medical costs.