How Do we Share Medical Costs for our Kids?
When you’re married, you share costs. It’s what you do. You need food; the money comes from both spouses. Your car breaks down; you both pay for it. Your kid gets sick; you both contribute money to pay for doctors and medicine.
And then you divorce, and everything changes.
Suddenly, no one wants to pay for anything. Child support is like pulling teeth. Alimony, well, no one wants to pay alimony.
But while no one wants to pay, kids still get sick and need medical care. So, how do divorced couples share medical costs for their kids?
Utah Law Regarding Sharing Medical Costs for Children
Let’s see what Utah law has to say. First, the law lays out a few things that have to go in divorce decrees and paternity orders:
The court shall include the following in its order:
|(1)||a provision assigning responsibility for the payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses for the dependent children;|
|(2)||a provision requiring the purchase and maintenance of appropriate insurance for the medical expenses of dependent children, if coverage is or becomes available at a reasonable cost; and|
|(3)||provisions for income withholding, in accordance with Title 62A, Chapter 11, Part 4, Income Withholding in IV-D Cases, and Part 5, Income Withholding in Non IV-D Cases.|
Utah Code, Section 78B-12-111.
So, you have to assign responsibility to pay for medical expenses, and you must purchase medical insurance for your kids (provided the cost isn’t prohibitively expensive).
Now that we understand what must be included in a divorce decree or paternity order, the law also tells us how medical costs should be shared:
|(3)||The order shall require each parent to share equally the out-of-pocket costs of the premium actually paid by a parent for the children’s portion of insurance unless the court finds good cause to order otherwise.
. . . .
|(6)||The order shall, in accordance with Subsection 30-3-5(1)(b), include a cash medical support provision that requires each parent to equally share all reasonable and necessary uninsured and unreimbursed medical and dental expenses incurred for the dependent children, including but not limited to deductibles and copayments unless the court finds good cause to order otherwise.|
Utah Code, Section 78B-12-212.
So, the law mandates parents will share equally medical costs for children.
You can always bargain around a 50/50 split, but if you go to trial, you can pretty much count on a judge ordering 50/50.
How Medical Costs Are Split in Real Life Utah Divorce and Child Custody Cases.
We talked about the law, but how does all this work out in most Utah divorce and paternity cases?
You end up sharing equally medical costs for your kids — almost always.
There are some select situations in which one person makes so much more than the other that one person pays 100%. This really only happens in negotiation though; I have never seen a judge order someone to pay 100% of medical costs on a permanent basis.
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