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Medical Expenses and Child Support

Medical Expenses and

Child Support

The NC Child Support Guidelines base support obligations on nationally generated data of average living expense for families. The Guidelines assume the custodial parent is paying all of the day-to-day expenses of shelter, groceries, clothes, and other necessities. The general rule is that the parent paying child support doesn’t have to pay amounts above that amount for support.

One exception to this rule, when the other parent must pay for other expenses in addition to child support, is the child’s medical expenses. The custodial parent is responsible for the first $250.00 of the child’s medical expenses per year. Beyond that amount, the judge will typically order the parents to share those expenses.

What Counts as a Medical Expense?

The 2015 Guidelines define medical expenses as “reasonable and necessary costs related to orthodontia, dental care, asthma treatments, physical therapy, treatment of chronic health problems, and counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders.” Only out-of-pocket medical expenses that are not paid by insurance are subject to be divided. Examples of expenses to be divided include co-pays for visits to the doctor or prescription medications.

What Do Judges Do?

As is the case in many family law matters, the judge has a great deal of discretion to order what he or she believes is fair. In my experience, most of the judges equally divide these expenses between the parents. When there is a big difference in incomes, the court is more likely to divide the expenses unequally. Occasionally, a judge will assign all of the medical expenses to one parent. Judges are not required to use any specific manner of payment, although they will commonly have a parent who pays an expense give the other parent a copy of the receipt. Within some reasonable time period, the other parent must reimburse the parent who paid the expense for his or her share of the cost.

Read More: Child support and health insurance.


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