As a father, you want to provide the best quality of life that you can for your child. However, unless you properly understand you obligations to medical child support, you may find yourself blindsided by medical expenses you do not realize you must cover.
Medical child support is not included in general child support, but is an additional obligation that ensures the child’s medical needs get met. In broad strokes, if your child incurs some medical expense that is not covered by an insurance policy, you may bear responsibility to pay for some or all of it.
However, like most aspects of the divorce or custody negotiation process, there is some flexibility for both parents to negotiate how medical costs are covered when they arise as a part of raising the child separately. Be sure to secure all the guidance you need to protect your rights as a parent and fully understand exactly how much of the medical child support burden you carry as a parent.
Medical authority and medical responsibility
Raising a child is always difficult, and can prove even more complicated if two parents don’t see eye to eye on specific issues surrounding the medical care of the child. Whereas one parent may bear all or most of the financial burden to pay for the child’s medical expenses not covered by insurance, the other parent may retain the right to final say over what medical procedures the child does or does not receive.
At the very least, you should understand your obligations and authority in this area. If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a certain issue, you may have to pay out of pocket, anyway. It is always best to negotiate favorable terms before any parenting or custody agreements finalize.
If you prioritize this issue, you may secure final say over the child’s medical care, which is especially useful if you must carry most of the financial responsibility in this area.
When parents disagree about medical care
Sometimes, two individuals feel passionately about opposing sides of an issue. This is common when it comes to the medical care of a child, especially if one or both parents hold strong religious or personal views about certain medical treatment.
For instance, you and your child’s mother may feel differently about certain types of medication, such as psychoactive drugs or blood transfusions. To some people of faith, these treatments pose ethical conflicts.
Similarly, not all medical procedures are of equal necessity. If your child breaks his or her arm, no loving parent would deny the child proper medical care to reset the area and prevent the child from possibly suffering a lifelong disability.
However, if your child’s mother wants to put braces on the child and you do not believe it is necessary, you may find yourself at an impasse, or may simply end up paying for a medical procedure that you oppose.
Be sure to seek out professional guidance to help you keep your priorities and rights secure as you raise the child you love.