Dividing Children’s Health Costs Not Covered by Insurance: A Neglected Child Support Component of California Divorce and Paternity Cases
In every order for child support the court includes orders addressing health costs for the parties’ children which are not covered by insurance. Many parents forget about this important issue. The default order* of the court is that each parent is responsible for one half of these costs. Examples are co-pays for healthcare visits, blood tests, and payments for specialized care for which insurance does not cover or covers only a portion, orthodontia, and dental care.
If one parent pays a healthcare cost, they can and should advise the other parent in writing (you can use text, email or apps like talking parents) of the bill amount, what medical services the bill was for, and request a contribution of one half of the expense to be paid within 30 days directly to the parent who paid the bill. The authority for this cost division is found in California Family Code Section 4063.
If the parent who receives the request for reimbursement takes issue with it, then that parent shall pay the requested amount and thereafter may seek judicial relief under Section 4063 and Section 290. If the reimbursing parent fails to pay the other parent as required by this subdivision, the other parent may seek judicial relief under this section and Section 290.
WHAT TO DO IF THERE IS A DISPUTE ABOUT A MEDICAL COST?
Either parent may file a noticed motion to enforce an order issued pursuant to this section. In addition to the court’s powers under Section 290, the court may award filing costs and reasonable attorney’s fees if it finds that either party acted without reasonable cause regarding the party’s obligations pursuant to this section. The steps to take to file a noticed motion are covered here. This link also addresses how to file a noticed motion for child support and how to file a motion to modify support.
* Every case is unique and in some cases the court may order one parent to cover all healthcare costs not covered by insurance.