When you are divorced, your ex-spouse is required to pay half of your child’s medical expenses. If he/she doesn’t pay his/her share, then you can enforce the terms of your divorce decree in the court. The court clearly agrees that the custodial parent should not solely be responsible for paying bills. In fact, the costs should be distributed between both the parents, as they are required by law to pay their child’s medical bills or insurance coverage during and after the divorce. However, child support is governed by the provincial law and non-custodial parents must contribute child support separately.
In case your ex denies to pay the child’s medical expenses, then the following tips should help you attempt to collect reimbursement from the non-custodial parent.
- Child Support Order: Generally, the order will address each spouse’s obligations for medical expenses. The parent is responsible to provide medical insurance for the child and how that insurance is paid. If certain medical expenses are not covered by insurance, then the court will often state that what percentage of medical bills each parent is responsible to pay.
- State Agencies: Every state/province has an agency to help parents in collecting child support, in Ontario this is the Family Responsibility Office. If your ex-spouse is currently paying his child support, then the agency cannot help you enforce the medical portion of your divorce decree. The agency is only able to send letters to your ex-spouse because their enforcement authority is limited.
- Court enforcement: You can also file a motion through the court system to recover the amount from your ex-spouse for medical care. Then, the court can hold your ex in contempt of court, which means he/she breaks the court’s order and they can be punished by jail and fines. After that you can file the motion that allows you to send a copy of the motion to your divorced spouse along with a summons. However, remember that your ex also has the right to respond back to the motion and whatever you claimed in it. The judge will see both parties copies of the medical bills or other proof of expenses and hold a hearing to receive evidence from both parties, before taking any decision.
- Small claims court: This is a quite simpler process than a normal court procedure. When you paid the medical bills and want to get reimbursed from your ex, you can file a case in small claims court. Small claims courts will give you forms to fill out on your own, which allow claimants to proceed without a lawyer.
Follow all these procedures to attempt to get reimbursement from your ex for your child’s medical expenses in the original child support agreement.
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