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Child support and health care costs

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2023 | Child Support

While North Carolina parents might disagree about other parts of their divorce, like property division, spousal support, custody and parenting time, they usually agree about the need to provide for their children.

This includes giving the children a safe place to live, adequate clothing, proper schooling, nutrition and medical care. All these costs must be considered when determining child support.

Health care is specifically addressed when the amount of support is determined.

Parents should be aware of health care costs as part of the child support amount

Once a child support amount is determined, parents are expected to pay for health care costs on a prorated basis based on income. This will be added to the child support obligation. It will not include payments an employer might make for health insurance.

Under the basic child support guidelines, there will be $250 included to cover any uninsured care they receive. If, for example, they need braces for their teeth, it will likely go beyond the $250. This will need to be paid out of pocket by one or both parents. Other types of care are if they have chronic health issues, need physical therapy, have asthma, need psychiatric care and much more.

A key consideration for health insurance is “reasonable cost.” This is defined as costing no more than 5% of their parent’s gross income. When parents can get health insurance coverage for the child and it is of reasonable cost, the court will order either parent to purchase it. There are other options – public and private – that can be used to ensure the child receives the care they need. It is also possible that the court will order the parents to purchase dental and vision insurance.

The child’s needs are paramount in any family law case and few things are of higher importance than health care coverage. However, this is not as simple as it sounds. People have different jobs, different health insurance options and may be limited in what they can afford for excess costs.