Every child gets hurt, and some children are more adventurous and more likely to get hurt than others. Your child might also get sick, or contract a medical condition. These issues will require costly medical care. Not all of these medical expenses will be covered by your insurance, and you might have trouble paying for them.
Fortunately, if the other parent of your child shares custody and pays child support, he or she may be legally responsible to help you pay for these medical expenses.
Collecting your child's medical expenses from an ex
Your child custody agreement should dictate the way you will split medical expenses for your child. It might be a 50-50 division, or it could be a different arrangement depending on the respective economic situations of you and your ex.
The process of getting payment from you spouse should be fairly straightforward. Save all of your receipts for any medical expenses. If the expense is out of the ordinary and not routine -- or if the expense will be particularly high -- notify your spouse and gain approval for the expense before incurring it. Then, save the receipts for the expense if you make the entire payment, or give your spouse directions on how to pay the doctor directly and provide him or her with receipts showing the exact amount owed.
The timing, notice and reasonableness of the medical expense
To ensure that you receive payment for the medical expense, be sure to keep in mind that courts will review any medical expense dispute in terms of timing, notice and reasonableness.
Timing and notice: You must reach out to the other parent and give him or her a sufficient amount of time to approve or disprove of a significant medical expense whenever possible. In emergency situations, this will not be possible, but in other circumstances, it will be possible to give a sufficient amount of time.
Reasonableness: If you haven't gained the other spouse's permission, you must ensure that the medical cost is reasonable. For example, a court might not view an expensive cosmetic procedure to be reasonable, as it may not be necessary for the health of the child. The other parent should have the ability to approve or disprove of any non-essential medical costs.
Every child's medical situation is different
If you're currently having a disagreement with your ex over a future or past medical expense, you may want to explore your legal rights. By determining how a court might decide a disagreement over this particular child medical expense, you can decide on whether or not to move forward with the procedure and/or the best method to ensure you receive the amount your ex is responsible to pay.