Child Support and Health Insurance: Who is Responsible for Providing Insurance and Covering Medical Expenses?

Once a couple has a child together, both are legally responsible for providing financial support until the child becomes an adult. Generally, basic child support is designed to supplement the income of the custodial parent to cover the necessary expenses of raising a child once a couple is no longer together or married. It is intended to cover things like food, housing, entertainment, basic school supplies and clothing. A recent article in The Gainesville Sun highlights the complicated process of determining how much child support the non-custodial parent should pay through a presentation given by an attorney to the general public on issues of child support, child support modification and paternity. In particular, the speaker noted the effect of time-sharing on the amount of child support each parent is required to pay and explained a recent change to the law that permits a reduction in child support based the time split between the parents. There are, however, two other types of expenses that are factored into the child support calculation – health insurance and child care. This discussion will focus on health insurance since there are a number of factors that when and how a parent must provide for his/her child.

Is The Non-custodial Parent Responsible for Health Insurance?

The non-custodial parent will be required to provide health insurance for all his/her minor children if two criteria are met – the cost of insurance is reasonable and facilities that accept the health insurance are accessible to the child. First, there is a presumption the cost is reasonable if the cost of adding insurance to the child support payment does not exceed five percent of the parent’s gross income. Second, the child is considered to have accessibility to the health insurance if providers are located in the child’s home county or the parent with primary custody agrees to take the child to another county. If the time-sharing between the parents is equal, the insurance is viewed as accessible if it is available in either county where the child lives or in another county if both parents agree. Additionally, the non-custodial parent may be responsible for reimbursing the custodial parent for the child’s health insurance if the custodial parent provides the coverage.

What Non-covered Medical Expenses is the Non-custodial Parent Responsible for? 

Florida law provides that the cost of non-covered medical expenses, prescriptions and dental expenses will be apportioned between the parents in accordance with how much each is required to financially support the child. Further, the non-custodial parent may be required to pay the custodial parent for non-covered medical expenses, dental expense and prescriptions on a percentage basis. For example, the non-custodial parent would pay, in addition to basic child support, 40 percent of the monthly costs for non-covered medical expenses. Also, in proceedings related to medical expenses only, each parent must pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance in relation to their percentage of the parents’ combined net income, which is calculated by dividing each parent’s individual monthly net income by the total net income of both parents.

When to Speak to a Child Support Lawyer

Determining how much child support is owed is based on complex formula that has many factors potentially affecting the outcome. These factors do not even take into consideration the fact the court can deviate from the guidelines depending on the facts of a particular case. These considerations highly encourage consulting with a lawyer on child support issues, whether at the initial determination or for later requests for modifications. Stok Kon + Braverman, serving clients in Fort Lauderdale and Boynton Beach, has the necessary experience to effectively represent you in family law matters and is available to assist you now. Contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.