During a divorce, parents are often concerned about their child’s mental and emotional well-being. Numerous studies have shown that divorce can have a serious effect on a child’s behavior and esteem. Unfortunately, many parents who are concerned about their child’s emotional health and behavior do not prepare for handling their child’s physical health in the future. The responsibility for maintaining medical coverage for a child is usually included in the child custody agreement and parents often share uninsured medical costs along with other out-of-pocket expenses. No matter how well a couple gets along during and after a divorce, it is normal for disagreements to occur over medical expenses. These tips for handling shared medical expenses disputes can make a tense conversation about finances easier to handle.
Provide Additional Documentation
It is possible that your dispute has occurred because the other parent does not remember the terms of the original agreement. This is normal if a child is usually healthy and receives nothing other than routine medical wellness checks. After a parent receives a large medical bill related to a visit to an emergency room or urgent care facility, the noncustodial parent may respond to a request for money with confused hostility. Instead of arguing with the other parent, simply send him or her a copy of the custody agreement with the information regarding sharing uninsured or miscellaneous medical expenses highlighted. Often doing this is enough to end the dispute, especially if the language makes it clear that these expenses are separate from existing child support obligations.
Encourage Communication Between the Co-Parent and Medical Professional
Even after acknowledging responsibility for half of the payment, the other parent may still hesitate to pay his or her share. In some cases, the parent may suspect that the payment request is some type of a trick or that the money being requested is going to be used for something other than medical treatment. Encouraging communication between the co-parent and medical professional is a good way to make the other parent comfortable with the situation. The office or hospital can verify that treatment occurred and the hospital can either verify that payment was made (showing your former partner that your request for reimbursement is valid) or allow the other parent to make payments directly so that the medical expense is paid in full with no other delays.
Explore Your Options
If you have verified that your former partner is responsible for paying part of your mutual child’s uninsured medical expenses and confirmed that the expense is real but your former partner is still refusing to pay, it is a good idea to review your options. Unpaid medical expenses can quickly become debts that are sold to aggressive debt collection agencies. Once these debts are reported to the credit bureaus, they can negatively affect your ability to obtain a mortgage, car loan, or other forms of low-interest credit. Talking to a child support attorney is often the first step in pursuing your former partner for payment.
The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to help you get your former partner to uphold their legal and financial responsibility. After reviewing your situation, we can help you reach out to your former partner’s attorney or the court. If necessary, we can file a Contempt Motion on your behalf showing that the parent is refusing to comply with the court order. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our four Atlanta metro area locations so that we can begin providing you with the legal representation you need.