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Health insurance and how it relates to Child Support

by | Jan 14, 2017 | Child Support, Firm News, Health insurance

If you ever wonder how Health insurance is covered during a divorce, child custody battle or a Paternity Lawsuit, the answer is not as complicated as it might seem.  The Family Law court system along with the Department of Child Support Services has a lot of authority to order a party to pay for Health Insurance of a minor child. As in the Case of Divorce, the Judge can order a party who employed and Health insurance is available through their employer that they ensure their child. In addition, if they are financially able to pay Health insurance for the minor child the Court can order them to pay Health insurance or purchase a policy for children.

The most common and probably the most cost effective means to insure a minor child of a Paternity or a Divorce is through the employer.  Often employers will cover not only the party but minor children.  After in inquiry by the Court of the parties employment and or economic situation can easily determine that that either the Mother or Father is able to ensure the children

The law provides under Family law Code section 3751 that “in any case in which an amount is set for current support, the court shall require that health insurance coverage for a supported child shall be maintained by either or both parents if that insurance is available at no cost or at a reasonable cost to the parent.” It further goes on to talk about a rebuttable presumption about who shall pay for the health insurance of the minor children.  The main issue of Health insurance is that it be reasonable for the parties.  And reasonable to according to the Judicial system is not to exceed 5% of the gross income of the Mom or Dad.

Interestingly, the Court has discretion to order both parents to place the children on their own health insurance if it deems that is is necessary. The key word is reasonable and the Court can determine that if parents cannot afford to pay the health insurance for the child the Court can order that they have met the reasonableness test and not order the health insurance.

However, the law does have an out where the courts would feel that it would be “unjust and inappropriate” to not order a parent to pay for health insurance the Courts can then order the parent to pay health insurance.

Furthermore, if the Court cannot find it would be reasonable to have a parent pay health insurance and it cannot find it would be unjust and inappropriate not to order a parent to pay, the Court then can order a parent to provide health insurance when they can find cost effective and again that word “reasonable” coverage.

Often when the Department of Child Support Services becomes involved they are often faced with parents who cannot afford to pay for health insurance and the Department has to order that the parents seek out reasonable and cost effective insurance.  Now with the Affordable Care Act it is a lot easier for a parent to find insurance that is cost effective.

But as the new administration takes office Health insurance and the Affordable Care Act will be under scrutiny and parents will be back to searching for Health insurance that is reasonable under the Family Law Code.