The parties in a child support case should never underestimate the importance of considering health care costs when determining the amount of child support to be paid. A good family law attorney can help you draft an agreement that will protect you and your family, and ensure that your child’s healthcare costs are covered.
When a child has special needs or is disabled, the provisions in the divorce or paternity actions dealing with how health care costs are paid become particularly important.
Many companies now offer Health Savings Accounts (HSA), allowing an employee to contribute pre-tax funds up to the maximum governmental allowance, which changes annually. If you have such an account, you may want to include payments that will come out of this account as a credit in the support worksheets. When one or both parents have such an account, it can be difficult to determine reimbursment if one parent has paid more than their proportional share of an expense.
Attorney for Child Support for Health Care in Seattle, WA
If you are worried about how health care costs will be paid in a divorce or paternity action, then contact an experienced family law attorney at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Seattle and Kent in King County, WA. We also represent clients throughout the bordering counties of Snohomish County to the north and Pierce County to the south.
With offices in Seattle, WA, we can help you understand how child support might be determined in your case, how to enforce a child support provision, or when to seek an upward or downward modification of child support because of a change in circumstances.
Call (206) 712-2756 to discuss your case with an experienced Child Support Attorney in Seattle, WA.
Obligations to Pay for Health Care Costs
Monthly health care costs, including mental health treatment, are normally “shared by the parents in the same proportion as the basic child support obligation.” RCW 26.19.080(2). Under RCW 26.09.105(9), “[e]ach parent is responsible for his or her proportionate share of uninsured medical expenses for the child or children covered by the support order.”
The trial court “may exercise its discretion to determine the necessity for and the reasonableness of all amounts ordered in excess of the basic child support obligation.” RCW 26.19.080(4).
In general, if the applicable health care costs are reasonable and necessary, the trial court has no discretion but to order payment pursuant to the parents’ proportionate share. The exception to this rule is when modification of the order is appropriate because of a substantial change of circumstances.