If you are a parent going through a divorce, it can be very stressful to worry about how your divorce will impact your children. In the midst of negotiating child support and custody, you may be wondering who will be responsible for paying for your child’s health insurance and other medical expenses.
If your family has been relying on one spouse’s employer for health insurance coverage, it is important to remember that a divorce will mean the end of the ex-spouse’s reliance on that employer-sponsored plan. This need not be the case for your children, however. If your children are currently covered under you or your spouse’s employer-sponsored health coverage, they may continue to be covered by that plan after the divorce is finalized.
Negotiating Healthcare Costs Out of Court
However, you and your ex will have to determine how you will pay for any healthcare premiums as well as any other reimbursable medical costs. Ideally, the two of you will be able to amicably agree to an arrangement that feels fair and reasonable to you both either in informal negotiations or through formal mediation or arbitration. Having a reputable divorce attorney by your side can help you navigate these negotiations as peaceably and painlessly as possible.
When the NJ Court Can Intervene
However, if you are unable to come up with an agreement on how to cover these costs, the court can intervene to require each parent to pay for a portion of the child’s medical care. If, for instance, you or your spouse is required by the court to pay child support, that support may be considered sufficient coverage for all or part of your child’s medical expenses. Or, the court may determine that one or both of the parents need to contribute to their child’s healthcare costs in addition to or in spite of any child support payments.
It's important to note that the court’s ruling on payments for your child’s medical care may not be set in stone. As you, your former spouse, and your children’s circumstances change over time, you and your ex may need to return to court to request a modification.
These determinations can be exceptionally complex, and it is in you and your child’s best interests to consult an experienced divorce attorney to help advocate for you and your child in court. There are also cases in which a parent may refuse to pay for court-ordered medical costs, and you will be compelled to seek enforcement by the court. Whatever the case may be, if you are concerned about healthcare costs for your children as you go through a divorce, contact Lane & Lane, LLC online or call us at (908) 259-6673 to schedule a consultation.