What could be more important than putting your children first?
The process of divorce can take its toll on any family, and if children are involved, there are a myriad of things to consider. But most importantly, the best interest of your child should be your number one priority.
In the state of Texas, you child’s welfare as a result of divorce proceedings is highly important. Along with your child support order, the Texas Family Code stipulates that provisions for your child’s health care must be made.
In this blog, we will outline all you need to know about divorce and health insurance for your child(ren) in the state of Texas.
The Importance of Child Medical Insurance in Texas
A divorce agreement defines the responsibilities of co-parenting.
A divorce agreement will include the legal, financial and physical duties involved in who gains custody of a child and those of co-parenting.
As divorced co-parents, securing medical insurance for your child(ren) is not optional. Adequate medical for your child(ren) is required by federal and state laws, including the Texas Family Code and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Who Pays Child Support and Medical Insurance?
The topic of divorce and health insurance for your child(ren) will be thoroughly covered by the court once proceedings begin.
The parent who is granted physical custody of the child(ren) is, essentially, the parent who spends the most time with them. In this case, it is the non-custodial parent who will then pay child support.
Despite the custodial parent not having to pay child support, the court determines that they automatically pay child support through the daily costs of supporting their child(ren).
Non-custodial parents tend to include their child(ren) on their health insurance policies, whether they are purchased independently or covered by an employer.
Although, if both parents are covered by medical insurance by an employer, the child(ren) can be included in both sets of coverage.
Calculating Child Support and Medical Insurance
There may be an instance where the parent paying child support does not have access to a reasonable medical insurance plan.
If this is the case, the court will look at whether the custodial parent has access to a decent medical insurance plan. If the plan is reasonable, the court will order that the child(ren) be added to this plan.
The monthly expense will then be added to the total amount of child support paid by the non-custodial parent.
Divorce and health insurance matters can be a highly sensitive subject. However, the court and divorce lawyers will always strive to find the best possible solution.
Private Medical Insurance
Sometimes neither parent has access to decent employee medical insurance. If this is the case, the court may order the parents to purchase private medical insurance.
However, this will only be done if the cost is reasonable and either parent can afford this expense each month.
If neither parent can afford private medical insurance, a judge can also order a step-parent to take on this expense if either spouse has re-married after a divorce.
Government Sponsored Medical Insurance
If private healthcare is completely unattainable for either parent, there is always the option of government-sponsored health insurance for your child(ren).
Programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are available, but will only be granted if your income is low enough to qualify for either program.
Once signed up for either of these programs, the monthly costs will be considered in the overall child support payment.
The Medical Support Order
Cash medical expenses which go by unreimbursed are a reality with children, even if you have medical insurance.
However, when it comes to divorce and health insurance proceedings, courts in the state of Texas will include these medical costs in child support orders.
Each parent may be expected to share these expenses equally, depending on respective incomes. If one parent earns more than the other, they may be expected to front the majority of these payments.
During the discussion of your divorce and health insurance proceedings, a set figure will generally be established in your medical support order.
This amount must be paid in advance, so the funds are available if your child(ren) need them.
Essentially, the medical support order is akin to paying a second child support order.
Determining Child Support Costs
Child support costs paid by the non-custodial parent are based on a percentage of their net monthly income. These costs are calculated using the state’s child support guidelines, based on a simple fee schedule.
During divorce and health insurance proceedings, parents are free to agree to pay more than the required guideline amount. However, they cannot agree between themselves, outside of court, on an amount that is less than the court requires.
In certain scenarios, the guideline results of required child support may be deemed unfair to the parent or the child.
In this case, the court can review these results and decide to adjust monthly childcare support as they see fit.
Challenging a Child Support Order Amount
Once a guideline amount for child support is presented to the court, it can be challenged before the court issues the order.
If the guideline amount appears unfair e.g. too low or too high for the parent to pay, you can ask the court to review it.
The court will then take into the account the following factors when deciding whether to adjust a child support amount:
- The age of your child(ren)
- Your ability to support your child(ren)
- Your financial income and existing debt
- The custodial parent’s income and resources
- Childcare costs
- Additional employment benefits for both parents
- Other alimony payments
- Health insurance provisions for each child
- Educational expenses
- Cost of travel between parental visits
- Additional cash income
Settle Your Divorce and Health Insurance With Us
After a divorce, determining how to care and support your children is a primary issue faced by parents.
With over 20 years assisting families through the process of divorce, allow us to ensure your child has the best possible care following your settlement.
Most especially, medical care.