Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.

How to address health care in your parenting provisions

Health care is expensive, but necessary. For that reason, aside from putting food on the table and a roof over one's head, health care can become one of the most primary concerns of any Maryland parent.

Do your children have sufficient health care coverage? Are you paying for that coverage by yourself, or is your ex helping to cover all, or part, of these costs? Let's take a closer look at health care coverage and how parents can address it in their child custody agreements to ensure both parents are shouldering their fair share of this burden.

How to phrase parenting provisions relating to health care coverage

Generally speaking, Maryland family law courts will agree that both parents should share the burden of health coverage proportionately to their incomes and financial situations.

Imagine, for example, that you have full primary physical custody of your kids and your ex — the non-custodial parent — has visitation rights. Your spouse will likely be paying you child support. Your child custody orders or divorce judgment will dictate exactly how much he or she will pay in this regard. Outside of this, your spouse may need to pay a portion or all of your children's health insurance costs as well as certain portion of extra, non-covered health costs.

To ensure that you have clarity with regard to each parent's financial responsibilities, you might want to include the following language in your child custody agreement:

  • Identify the parent who will provide health insurance coverage if such coverage comes through his or her employment.
  • If no insurance coverage is available, identify who will obtain private insurance and how these costs will be split on a percentage basis.
  • Identify the percentage paid by both parents relating to non-covered health insurance expenses.
  • Set parameters of how soon the other parent will pay his or her share of emergency medical expenses after receiving notice of the bill.
  • State that for non-essential and essential health treatments that exceed $100, both parents must receive specified advance notice in which to approve this treatment before it commences.

Learn more about parenting provisions

Child custody and parenting plan provisions are an essential part of every custody agreement. As a soon-to-be single parent, the clearer you are in mapping out, wording and understanding the legal ramifications of these provisions, the better.

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