Your judgment provides that you and your former spouse will each be responsible for one half of your children’s medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance.
The best a family law attorney can do is obtain a court order stating the other parent has to pay a designated share of these expenses. If the other parent doesn’t pay, you’ll have to prove the following:
1. The medical or dental services were provided to your child after the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage was entered and while your child was still eligible to receive child support
2. You paid the bill (as long as the bill was incurred before the child turned 18, you can get reimbursed for medical expenses paid)
3. You submitted the bill to all applicable insurance companies
4. The insurance company has paid any reimbursement that will be paid
5. You requested reimbursement from the other parent
6. The other parent has not paid you
Careful record keeping of when the expenses were incurred helps to make sure the other parent pays on time. If you must go to court, it is far easier to prepare for the hearing if all the paperwork is in order. Remember that if you can’t prove it, you lose it.
If necessary, additional records can be obtained from doctors, insurance companies, and banks, but it is much cheaper to save original invoices and paperwork. To prove the elements above, keep the following documents:
1. Original or duplicate statements for each medical, dental, or prescription expense for which you are seeking reimbursement
2. Copy of each insurance claim form
3. Original statements from the insurance company in connection with each claim, detailing the portion of each charge that will and will not be reimbursed and its payment amount
4. Your original canceled check, receipt for cash, or original credit card statement establishing the amount you paid to each doctor, dentist, pharmacist, therapist, and more
5. Copy of your letter to the other parent requesting reimbursement
There are a few additional factors to keep in mind:
Judges may be reluctant to require the other parent to share in the cost of chiropractors. Before running up a large chiropractor bill, get a written and signed agreement from the other parent noting that they’ll pay half, or be prepared to shoulder the payment responsibility yourself.
If the other parent has an “HMO” or pre-paid plan in which there are no unreimbursed expenses, or the insurance carrier pays a larger portion of the expense if the plan’s doctors or dentist are used, try going with that plan. If you do not have an adequate reason for rejecting the plan’s services, the court may deny reimbursement.
If at all possible, reach an agreement with the other parent regarding the payment for orthodontic, counseling, or other long term non-emergency services. This may already require prior consultation or an agreement, so review that possibility before beginning treatment.
Send the other parent bills regularly. Someone is more likely to pay when the amount is not overwhelming and a judge thinks it’s unfair to save up years of expenses to lay the large bills on the other parent all at once. This is true especially if the other parent had insurance coverage that is no longer applicable.