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Managing Your Child’s Medical Care after a Divorce

Young boy hugging his dad

During a divorce, you and your spouse will decide the subject of medical insurance for your child, either by choosing the parent whose employer-provided plan will cover the child, or if an employer plan isn’t available, deciding which parent will purchase a plan for the child. Resolving this issue is only one component of managing medical care for a child as a divorced parent, however. Read on to learn about other issues that may arise in regards to your child’s medical care after divorce, and contact a Hudson Valley family law attorney with additional questions.

Find a good solution for handling unreimbursed medical expenses

While the costs of health insurance are included in child support calculations, this covers only a portion of the costs related to medical care for your child. Unreimbursed medical expenses, including the cost of over-the-counter drugs, copays, or visits with a specialist, must be handled separately. New York family courts usually allocate these costs on a pro rata basis between the parents. If one parent handles the majority of these medical appointments, that parent should keep the other parent apprised of expenses on a regular basis, so that the non-custodial parent isn’t surprised by a large bill after costs have been allowed to mount up over time. If your child needs regular and costly care, you may want to exchange information on medical costs accrued each month. The parent handling these appointments should always save documentation that proves these costs. Choose a way to transfer funds going towards these bills that works for both parents, whether that’s by electronic transfer or by adding these costs into the monthly support payment.

Make important decisions together

Perhaps your child had already been diagnosed with a condition prior to the divorce for which you and your spouse had to make decisions on a regular basis, or perhaps the condition arose after your split. Managing a child’s health care can be challenging even when parents remain married, but this issue can become a major source of conflict after a divorce. Keep your child’s best interests front of mind. Try to remember that the other parent is likely as concerned as you are about your child’s health, and wants to have an equal voice in choices about their care. Find a way to discuss your child’s care that doesn’t escalate tensions, whether that’s over the phone or through email or text. If a decision regarding medical care involves a large cost, keep in mind that the court may not require the other parent to share that cost with you if you made the decision without the other parent’s input and the court found the expense unreasonable.

If you are in need of a compassionate and effective lawyer for a New York custody dispute or divorce, contact the Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation on your case, in Kingston at 845-331-4100, and in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.

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