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Understanding medical child support

When parents choose to divorce, they must reach fair agreements about a number of issues surrounding raising their child. If divorcing parents do not reach reasonable agreements through working together, a court will step in and issue orders for the best interests of the child. Should you and your child's parent divorce, you want to prioritize your child's care and make sure that you address every pertinent issue.

One aspect of raising a child that parents may neglect to fully address is medical child support. Each parent bears some degree of responsibility for the medical care of the child and the associated costs. As you work through parenting agreements, custody agreements and child support terms, be sure to understand your obligations to them. You don't want the care of your child to suffer because of a misunderstanding in this area.

Making your way through these issues is rarely simple. Don't hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to help you understand your circumstances and protect your rights throughout the upbringing of your child.

What is medical child support?

Medical child support is not the same as general child support. If your child incurs medical expenses, you probably have some obligation to pay them. The terms of your child support agreements should stipulate exactly what you must cover and what power you have to approve or pay for non-essential medical expenses.

In general, these expenses include anything that is not covered by insurance. Depending on the nature of your agreement, you may bear responsibility for all of these expenses, or only a portion. It is important to understand your obligations so that you and your child's other parent do not face unnecessary conflict over which of you will cover them.

What about non-essential medical care?

Not all medical expenses occur because of necessity. If your child does not have straight teeth, you may want him or her to have braces. Similarly, your child may have a mild issue with vision that would benefit from glasses, but may not really need them.

These types of expenses may be more or less important to different families, and two parents may have strong disagreements about how necessary they are. If your child's other parent wants the child to have braces, but you do not think it is necessary, who has the final say?

It is important that you determine who has final authority for approving a child's medical care, especially if one or both of you have religious or personal views that may influence these decisions. Furthermore, be sure that the agreement outlines remedies if one parent chooses to get medical care for the child against the wishes of the other parent, especially as it pertains to which parent is financially responsible for the associated costs.

If you need help understanding these matters and defending your rights as a parent, you can reach out to an experienced attorney who will help you explore your options and protect your priorities.

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