One of the main issues surrounding California divorce cases is child support. While both parents should be responsible for taking care of the child, questions like “who should pay for a child’s health insurance” may arise. It can be challenging to understand who pays for what after a divorce.
Courts in California will not finalize a divorce until it is satisfied that the child’s best interests have been met. If the divorcing parents can’t agree on who should cover health insurance for the child, the court may order child support payments from either parent. Working with a fathers’ rights attorney in California goes a long way in protecting your rights as a father.
What Are the Health Insurance Requirements for Children in California?
California laws mandate that divorced parents provide financial support and healthcare coverage for their children. Family law courts will always order parents to cater to their child’s medical and dental expenses, according to California Family Code sections 3750-3753.
It’s also important to note that:
- Medical services should be accessible for the child, not more than 50 miles away from the child’s residence.
- Whether the court is making a child support order for the first time or a modification, you should have proof of the cost of medical insurance. That’s because you’re entitled to a deduction from your earnings before support is calculated. You must take this cost into account.
- The health insurance payments are in addition to the base child support amount.
Parents usually have healthcare coverage through their employer. Under California law, they can have their children on their employer-provided healthcare policy until they’re 25.
With this type of healthcare policy, the employer may subsidize the amount of a child’s healthcare expenses. So, a court could provide an order for healthcare coverage based on a mutual agreement between the two parents to meet these expenses.
What If the Parents Cannot Agree on Health Insurance Coverage?
If divorcing parents disagree on planning for their child’s health insurance, the court will review each party’s financial capability. In California, the most common family court orders on health insurance coverage include:
- Employed parents without custody rights will, in most cases, be ordered to maintain their children under the employer-provided health insurance policy.
- If both parents have employer-based health insurance policies, one will act as the primary healthcare insurance provider and the other secondary. The secondary healthcare policy caters to any outstanding balances.
- Children whose parents don’t have healthcare policies could be eligible for a Medicaid program to cover their healthcare costs.
What If a Parent Fails to Comply with a Court Order for Health Insurance Coverage?
If the court orders a parent to provide healthcare insurance coverage for their child but fails to do so, they’ll be held responsible for all expenses the policy would have covered. In addition to the health insurance premiums, the parent could also be responsible for paying deductibles, co-payments, and other expenses outside the policy.
It’s advisable to consult a child support lawyer for fathers in Riverside to review your financial capability. They will provide counsel on your legal options and how to defend yourself in court if you cannot meet your child’s healthcare expenses.
What Parent Pays for a Child’s Medical Bills After a Divorce?
Where medical bills are concerned, you and your child’s other parent can agree on how to deal with each expense. If both of you are amicable, you could agree to divide the medical expenses based on your income.
Moreover, if one parent is responsible for most of the child’s living expenses, you could agree that the other parent meets most of the child’s medical bills. Working out of court with the help of a Riverside child support lawyer for men works better for everyone. The attorney can act as your mediator, helping you realize the ultimate goal of ensuring your child’s needs are covered.
Does the Higher Earner Have to Pay for Insurance?
Each divorce and child support case in California is different, surrounded by unique facts and aspects that influence the outcome. Therefore, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. Courts in California don’t just make either parent pay for health insurance; they assess each parent’s financial responsibility and capability on a case-by-case basis.
In most cases, when a judge gives a child support order, they will include an amount to pay for the child’s health. Technically, that means that the higher-earning parent should provide health insurance coverage. In the real sense, the parent receiving child support is responsible for providing healthcare coverage using the amount they get from the other parent.
When Can a California Parent Drop a Child’s Health Coverage?
California child support laws allow a parent to drop a child’s healthcare coverage plan that becomes too costly and exceeds 5% of their total gross income. The law presumes child support amounts to be reasonable if the cost doesn’t exceed this threshold for the parent being asked to provide healthcare insurance coverage.
What If There is No Health Insurance?
Many families have no health insurance coverage, the reason being that some cannot afford it. When parents without health insurance coverage divorce, the court examines their finances to decide if they can afford to provide coverage for their child.
After the examination, courts may order the divorcing parents to acquire health insurance for the child. Sometimes, a court may help parents to find government-sponsored plans to help offset some of the costs. You can consult a fathers’ rights attorney in California for legal guidance if you’re not sure what to do.
Legal Professional Helping You Protect Your Child’s Wellbeing
Are you a father worried that you may not be able to cover your child’s healthcare costs or that the amount you pay for your child’s healthcare insurance coverage doesn’t go to its intended use? You can consult a Riverside child support attorney for men. We can review your case and guide you on ensuring your child’s healthcare costs are taken care of as they should.
We can also provide legal counsel on your options and how to proceed. Our firm’s compassionate fathers’ lawyers are willing to listen to your case and help you reach an agreement with your spouse about your child’s healthcare needs. Contact us for an initial consultation and get the support you need.