As part of your child support arrangement, you and your ex spouse may have agreed or been ordered by the court to share certain expenses for your children.
These expenses usually include medical, dental, and vision costs not covered by insurance and other expenditures whose amounts cannot be predetermined.
Health insurance policies often do not fully cover prescription costs, chronic conditions, physical therapy, psychiatric therapy, or orthodontics.
Eye care insurance typically covers glasses or contact lenses in a year, but not both. When your children need this kind of care, the expenses can add up quickly and it’s only fair that each parent should pay his or her share.
If your ex- spouse is not reimbursing you for his or her portion of the expenses after you have spoken to them about the issue, you may request the court to order your ex to pay or hold him or her in contempt. This in itself could mean incurring additional expenses related to court appearances and attorney fees, which compounds the problem.
Process for Reimbursing for Out of Pocket Expenses in California
California child support laws Family Code Section 4063 mandates that the parent who is being reimbursed for expenses must give the other parent an a list of the out of pocket expenses that they have incurred within a reasonable time, but not more than 30 days after the expenses have been paid.
If the parent has already paid the entire out of pocket expense then they must give the other parent proof that they made the payment and ask that they pay their court ordered share.
If the parent has paid only his or her share of the costs, the parent must then:
- Give proof of payment to the other parent;
- Ask that the other parent pay their share directly to the doctor or health care provider; and
- Tell the other parent how they can make the payment to the doctor or health care provider.
The parent asked to make the payment should do so within the time specified by the court or within a reasonable period not the exceed 30 days from when they were told about the payment if the court has not specified.
If the parent asked to make the payment fails to pay the other parent and is unresponsive to the other parent’s communication regarding the issue, the other parent can ask the court to intervene and enforce the court child support order. If the parent asked to make payment does not agree, that parent should pay the requested amount and then ask the court for judicial relief later.
The court can award court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees if it finds that either party acted without reasonable cause regarding his or her obligations.
Record keeping is Vital
Each parent should keep records of expenses they and the other parent have paid including date, place incurred, and the amount.
Also, the parent who is due payment should keep records of their requests for payment and copies of all written correspondence.