Lawyers Helping Families Sort Out Legal Matters

Important medical care considerations in child custody

While you might focus on the parenting time schedule when you divorce your child's other parent, there is another consideration for you to think about - the child's medical care. All children will need at least preventative care during their lifetime.

For some parents, such as those who have medically fragile children or children with medically complex problems, the need to plan for such matters increases sharply. It is imperative that parents work together to come up with a plan for how the child will receive the necessary care.

Child's health insurance

When parents are responsible for having their child covered under health insurance, both adults must have the information necessary for the child to see a doctor, go to the emergency room or seek care at an urgent care facility.

Parents might have coverage on the children. One plan would be considered the primary plan, meaning it pays first. The other plan would be a secondary plan, which would pay what's left after the first plan pays.

Medical decisions

There has to be a plan in place for making medical decisions. One parent may make all decisions or perhaps both make them together. Even if you have this in place, there must be a contingency plan for what happens if there is a medical emergency. Is the parent who is there with the child able to make decisions alone if the situation is a life-threatening emergency? How will the other parent be notified and when must the notification occur?

Extraordinary medical expenses

Some medical expenses aren't covered by insurance. These include over-the-counter medications, co-payments and the deductibles. You must determine how these will be paid and how to divide expenses. Each parent might be responsible for the costs at their own home. Another option is that all expenses will be added together and each parent will pay a specific percentage. Finally, one parent might have to pay a specific amount per month or year and then everything else is the responsibility of the other parent.

Be sure to think about how these costs will be paid. Most medical care requires payment up front, so one parent might have to pay right then. Will the other person pay back their share immediately or will these be handled on a regular schedule, such as monthly or quarterly?

The more detail you have about your child's medical care plan, the easier it will be to handle these matters when they come up. This is especially important if you have a child who has special medical needs.

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