Division of Children’s Medical, School and Extracurricular Expenses

When parents of minor children divorce, the final court orders not only address custody and parenting time with the minor children, but they also address which parent, if either parent, will pay child support. Over and above the payment of child support, court orders may also order parents to split certain expenses related to the minor children. Most often, these expenses include the payment of medical expenses not covered by insurance and extracurricular activity expenses.

While premium payments related to children covered by health insurance are incorporated into a parent’s child support obligation, uncovered expenses such as prescriptions, co-pays and other expenses not covered by insurance may be addressed separately from child support if such an order is included in the parents’ final paperwork. Medical expenses usually include dental, opthomological, orthodontia and psychological expenses not covered by insurance.

Extracurricular activity costs that parents generally divide typically are limited to organized activities only. For example, parents may divide the costs of any school-related or private sports activities. Unless parents agree otherwise, a court order normally will not extend to expenses such as clothes and entertainment.

Parents can agree on how they wish to divide these costs between them, or a court can order an equitable division of these costs. When parents cannot agree on a division of the costs, courts may allocate these expenses by ordering the parents to pay the uncovered costs based on the percentage of the parents’ combined income. For example, if the Father’s gross income is $40,000 and the Mother’s gross income in $60,000, the Father will pay 40% of the expenses and the Mother will pay 60% of the expenses.

Frequently, the parent receiving child support will be responsible for paying the children’s “ordinary uncovered medical expenses”, which is defined as the first $100 in out-of-pocket expenses per year per child. Once the medical expenses exceed $100, these expenses are typically paid by both parents according to their percentage of their combined gross income.