Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

What is the impact of medical expenses on child support?

Parents are responsible for child support expenses but are also obligated to pay for the uninsured or unreimbursed medical expenses of their children for the medical care they receive. Uninsured medical expenses include medical expenses that are not covered by insurance and can include deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions and other uncovered costs. Medical expenses parents are responsible for can include medical, dental or vision costs that are incurred as a result of medically necessary treatments or procedures.

Unpaid medical expenses are referred to as extraordinary medical expenses that exceed health care costs that is covered under the health insurance plan of the parent. Child support orders may state how uninsured and unreimbursed out-of-pocket medical expenses will be paid for and what party is responsible for the medical expenses. In the absence of a provision addressing extraordinary medical expenses, the child support order may need to be modified to address them.

Parents may face challenges seeking to collect unpaid medical expenses and the family law court can help in those instances. It is important for parents to understand that child support enforcement measures can apply to failure to pay medical expenses the parent is required to pay. Child support enforcement measures can include wage garnishment, the interception of tax refunds, suspension of driver's or occupational licenses and other consequences so it is essential not to ignore child support obligations.

Child support can be a stressful concern for many parents and families and concerns related to payment of medical expenses may add to these feelings. The family law process is available to help guide parents through the child support process and to help them address their concerns in a productive manner that is helpful for all the parties.

Source:, "Uninsured Medical Expenses and Child Support," Accessed Oct. 2, 2017

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