All children get sick or injured from time to time, and resulting medical costs can pile up very quickly. For this reason, health insurance coverage is essential to controlling the costs associated with illness or injury, although premiums for health insurance are rarely cheap. When parents divorce, the medical expenses for their children do not simply stop. Rather, the parents must have an agreement or court order that determines how these costs are allocate between them. This medical support order will last as long as a child support order remains in effect.

Medical support for children in a divorce case involves both the payment of health care premiums and cash medical payments that go toward out-of-pocket medical expenses. These expenses are those that health insurance does not cover, such as co-payments for medication and doctor visits, as well as deductibles that must be paid before health insurance coverage is available. In many cases, the parent who has access to the best health insurance through his or her employment is the parent who will maintain the health coverage for the child. The other parent, in turn, will have to reimburse the parent with the health insurance for a portion of the premiums paid. As a general rule, up to 25% of a parent’s child support obligation can be used toward insurance premiums for the child.

As part of the medical support order, the court also will order the parents to share in the out-of-pocket medical expenses that insurance does not cover. Washington law does not require these expenses to be split equally between the parties. Rather, the expenses are allocated between the parties in accordance with their proportionate incomes.

The Walla Walla divorce attorneys at Pacific Northwest Family Law know how to handle all aspects of Washington divorce and family law cases. Whether we able to resolve your case through alternative dispute resolution or must proceed to trial, we are here to help and give you the advice that you need. Contact our office by e-mailing us at [email protected] or call us at 1-360-926-9112 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced divorce lawyers today.