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Taking care of your children is an important task both parents should share. However, many times during and after divorce, parental responsibility becomes muddled by bickering and divisiveness. Just because you are divorcing doesn't give you a free pass to shirk parental responsibility. Make sure your children get attention they need, be it childcare, medical or dental expenses.
Child support disagreements and other painful disputes can cause parents to lose sight of what is really at stake when it comes to children. However, even in the most disagreeable divorce, the family courts will not allow the children to be neglected.
General Requirements for Providing Health Insurance for Children
If parents cannot agree to healthcare terms, a family law court official will help by taking lead and develop a plan by reviewing financial records that match each parents ability to pay based on what is in best interest of children.
Since both the State of North Carolina and the Federal Government both require health coverage on children, the parent claiming the child on their taxes will be required to show proof of the child's health coverage.
Who is Required to Pay Child Healthcare Costs?
Both parents have a duty to ensure their child is properly cared for, however, the non-custodial parent is typically required to pay the largest portion of post-divorce healthcare costs. This can create fluctuation of annual support payments due to the nature of illness. If your child is fairly healthy, then expenses may not be much more than the custodial arrangement. However, a child needing frequent trips to the doctor or dentist may cause the custodial arrangement to exceed previous months.
The rules for joint custody arrangements are different and could be based on the potential split of costs or on the basis of income prorate (how capable one parent is to pay).
Types of Court Ordered Child Healthcare Coverage Plans
The well being of children is considered a child welfare issue and is a non-negotiable part of the child support payment arrangement. Since your child's health insurance is a form of child support, you are required to maintain adequate coverage.
Here are some typical court-ordered child healthcare arrangements:
- Require the non-custodial parent to maintain child on employer-provided insurance plan
- If no employer-provided insurance coverage, parents must acquire an affordable private care plan
- If private insurance cannot be afforded by either parent, a state medicaid or another state assisted coverage
- One parent pays all
- Both individual parent plans provide coverage
- Split equally
- Split based by ratio - creates a percentage based plan
- 70% one parent, 30% other parent
Consider Some of the Common Child Health Care Decisions to Make
During the child custody discussions, there are hard decisions and compromises to be made. This is the best possible time to bring up difficult to discuss situations and general parental details that would need to be addressed by your attorney or the family law court.
Factors to consider:
- Who will provide the support and other out of pocket expenses and how those expenses should be covered?
- Healthcare expenses not covered by insurance
- If both parents have coverage, then the 2 plans can possibly both be used
- Primary insurance coverage
- Secondary - used if primary plan fails to cover all expenses
- Timeline for Reimbursement of Child care expenses
- Pay on date of expense or a few days later
- Set Basis
- First of month
Avoid Areas of Confusion with Your Former Spouse
It is important to co-manage as parents and know what is expected of each other. Joint decisions should stay that way. Don't make decisions unilaterally. Make accommodations for your former spouse with health insurer such as, contacting insurer to let know them know the other parent has consent to speak to them about the child. See here if you also have questions about removing spouse from health insurance before divorce.
Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney about Your Child's Health Coverage
At the Doyle Law Group, P.A., we understand that your children are the most important part of your life. Our goal is to help you through the difficult challenges that you can face during divorce, while helping you protect your children in the process. If you need support with your health care coverage during this time, our experienced legal team is ready to help.
Call our office at 919-301-8843 or by completing the online contact form below.