No parent should get stuck paying 100% of their kids' expenses alone if the other parent is obligated to help. If your ex is refusing to pay their fair share, it's time to take action. Otherwise, you may end up drowning in medical debt for bills that you shouldn't even have to pay. Many family law attorneys deal with this issue regularly and can help you find a solution. Here are four possible solutions a team of family lawyers may recommend.
1) Request mediation
Judges often like to see that parents are trying to come to an agreement out of court before seeking a judicial remedy. A family lawyer or mediator can help both sides come to a reasonable compromise that satisfies everyone involved. During mediation, each party will have an opportunity to share their points of view and brainstorm solutions.
2) File for a modification of the existing child custody decree
Take a look at your current child support order. Does it clearly specify that your ex must help contribute to medical bills? If so, is the language vague, such as "parents agree to help each other pay for medical costs," or does it provide more detailed instructions? In cases where the language is unclear, you may need to file a motion to modify the existing order and make it more specific. That way, it's easier to enforce when problems arise.
3) File a contempt of court motion
Your child support order may already spell out clear guidelines for sharing medical costs for the children. If your ex is clearly in violation of the existing child custody order, you may need to file a contempt of court motion. This is essentially a legal action that allows the court to enforce its orders by punishing your ex for failing to comply.
4) Seek reimbursement from your ex
If you've already paid the medical bills, and your ex is refusing to pay their share, you may be able to seek reimbursement. This is where a family lawyer can help you draft a legal claim and file it in court. Be sure to keep detailed records of all the expenses you've paid for and what amount is owed by your ex. With enough evidence, you may be able to get your ex to pay what they owe.
No parent should have to shoulder the burden of medical bills for their kids alone. Contact a family law attorney for more information.