How does child support address extraordinary medical expenses?

In Colorado family law, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” The law tries to account for every possibility and make its determinations based on what is necessary, but there are unavoidable complexities. This is especially true with child support. The state uses child support guidelines based on income and expenses to calculate how much will be paid. However, in many cases, there are deviations that need to be factored in. One is if there are extraordinary medical expenses. For parents who are confronted by a divorce or are already divorced and are facing this difficult challenge, it is imperative to understand what the law says about this issue.

A child’s medical needs must be covered

When there is a child support order, the medical coverage is part of it. One or both parents will be required to provide this medical and dental insurance whether that is through work, through purchasing a policy or via other means. Insurance premiums will be in the basic child support order. The parents may share this cost based on their income. A problem that can arise with medical and dental coverage is if the child has an extraordinary medical need that goes beyond the insurance coverage. It is important that the parties are aware of how this is handled.

Extraordinary medical expenses will be added to the child support obligation and shared between the parents just as a conventional type of coverage. This too is based on their adjusted gross incomes and is split proportionally. When considering an extraordinary expense, it could be something as common as orthodontics or it could be based on more serious issues like asthma, a chronic health condition, the need for physical therapy and vision. This could be exorbitantly costly if it is an illness or condition that requires extensive treatment, surgery and rehabilitation. If the child is found to have behavioral or mental health problems, that too could be categorized as an extraordinary medical expense when paying for psychiatric therapy or counseling.

Dealing with extraordinary medical costs under child support

In any family law case, parents in general will want the best for their child. Still, large out of pocket costs can be a source for acrimony as to its necessity. Some parents might balk at the extra expense or there could be rampant dispute as to how those costs are shared between them. When the child support amount is set or there are concerns as to the possibility of extraordinary medical expenses, it is important to understand the law. Having experienced guidance to handle the situation may be crucial.

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