My Ex Refuses to Help Pay for Our Child’s Braces!

My Ex Refuses to Help Pay for Our Child’s Braces!

I don’t know what it is about getting divorced or finding oneself in a co-parenting relationship that suddenly grants some people the right to practice orthodontia.  It seems as though they believe that the order for child support doubles as a medical degree of some sort.  You can replace the word “braces” in the title to this post with “surgery,” “glasses/contacts,” “counseling,” “medication,” “therapy,” or pretty much any other word that relates to some form of medical care/treatment provided by someone who by all rights can wear a long white lab coat.  Child support obligors often just do not want to pay their share of these expenses.

We previously discussed what to do if your ex refuses to pay child support and we also briefly touched on what child support would cover.  To expand on that a little, Kentucky Statute makes it clear that in addition to the regular child support, the person paying child support is also responsible for a proportionate share of “extraordinary medical expenses.”  Extraordinary medical expenses is defined as uninsured expenses in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) per child per calendar year.  Extraordinary medical expenses includes but is not limited to the costs that are reasonably necessary for the following services:

  • medical, 
  • surgical, 
  • dental, 
  • orthodontic, 
  • optometric, 
  • nursing, 
  • hospital services,
  • for professional counseling,
  • psychiatric therapy for diagnosed medical disorders, and 
  • drugs and medical supplies, appliances, laboratory, diagnostic, and therapeutic services

Child support obligors have used a number of excuses for refusing to pay these expenses such as claims that braces are cosmetic or that he does not really believe the child has a condition and demands a second opinion.  I cannot say that courts have universally rejected such arguments, but I can say that when there is a medical professional prescribing a certain treatment for a child, the courts I practice in front of come down on the side of following the doctor’s orders.  If, however, the child support obligor goes the extra step of securing a second opinion that contradicts the first medical provider, the court is left to decide based on the court’s determination of who is the more credible medical provider.

If your child is need of medical care, do not feel that you have to carry that entire burden yourself.  Stand up for your rights and those of your child and demand the other parent pays his/her share.  If you have more questions, please contact the Alford Law Office.
Photo courtesy of Monica Y. Garza

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