Utah law allows a Court to issues orders regarding the payment of medical expenses. These expenses must be reasonable and necessary ( and they include dental) for the dependent children. The order for the payment of medical expenses is in addition to the standard monthly child support. Depending on the child and situation, reasonable and necessary medical expenses can become expensive for any parent to afford alone. It is critical that every divorced parent follow the Court’s orders regarding medical expenses. The reason for this is that no party becomes solely responsible for those costs.
The Court will determine how to allocate the additional medical expenses between the parties. The Court will typically order the parties to share those expenses equally. However, a Court may order the costs to split pro-rata according to the parties’ income if a substantial difference exists between their earning capabilities. The Court will also designate the party who shall initially pay the bill. The other parent will then need to reimburse the paying parent for his or her share of the medical bill.
Typically, the party who took the child to the doctor is the party who initially pays the bill. However, the Court’s order will ultimately dictate who is responsible for the initial amount. It is the paying parent’s responsibility to make sure he or she gives a copy of the bill to the other parent and request reimbursement for his or her share.
3 important tips to follow when dealing with medical expenses in a post-divorce context:
- Seek medical attention immediately if it is an emergency. If it is not an emergency, consult with the other parent regarding the treatment, the cost, payment options, and any reasonable alternatives. A parent who unreasonably incurs expenses without consulting the other parent may find themselves solely responsible for the expense.
- When you receive the bill for the medical expense, immediately send a copy of the bill to the other parent. Do not allow them to accumulate. The Court will generally state that requests for reimbursements must happen within a certain amount of time. A parent who fails to request reimbursement in time may find out that they unfortunately waived the right to receive reimbursement by failing to notify the other parent of the expense.
- Send the request for reimbursement with a copy of the bill or invoice to the other parent via e-mail that way you have a copy of what was sent and when it was sent. You will have proof that you made the request if there is ever a dispute about whether or not you ever requested to be reimbursed.