Parents in California who are no longer together must generally provide financially for their children. If a custodial parent incurs medical bills that are not covered or reimbursed, the noncustodial parent may have to cover a portion of those expenses. In some cases, this is true when the amount reaches a certain percentage of their original child support payment. Parents may also be ordered to cover these costs as a percentage of their monthly income.
How a child support order handles medical expenses may depend on what type of expense is being incurred. For instance, if the expense is non-recurring, the amount each parent must pay will be based on each person’s income. When an expense is incurred, custodial parents may need to request that the noncustodial parent then contributes his or her share of the cost. Payment may be made directly to the custodial parent or to the health care provider.
Custodial parents should keep records of all expenses incurred as well as all attempts to contact a noncustodial parent. If a noncustodial parent doesn’t pay as ordered in a child support agreement, he or she could be subject to the same penalties assessed for nonpayment of support. However, custodial parents should make sure that plenty of notice is given and that the expense is reasonable before demanding payment.
Paying child support is typically seen as a way of protecting the best interests of a child. Therefore, noncustodial parents are usually required to make such payments until a child reaches adulthood. Failing to make these payments could result in significant penalties. In some cases, support orders can be changed if circumstances warrant it. Support amounts may also be increased to ensure that the child is properly cared for.