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How Are Health Insurance Costs Factored Into Child Support?

How Are Health Insurance Costs Factored Into Child Support?

Parents in New Jersey have an obligation to provide financial support for their children, regardless of their status. Therefore, whether you are married, divorced, separated, or never married, the law requires you to support your child. When parents are not together, support for the noncustodial parent is typically in the form of child support payments.

New Jersey has adopted standard child support guidelines the court uses to calculate a parent’s financial obligation for their child. The guidelines consider several factors when calculating child support payments. The primary factors are the incomes of both parents and the amount of time a child spends with each parent.

However, other factors can impact the amount of your child support obligation, including:

  • Healthcare costs for children
  • Work-related childcare costs
  • The health insurance premiums for children
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Support paid for children from another relationship
  • Alimony paid by a parent to the other parent
  • Mandatory retirement contributions

In some circumstances, the court may order child support payments that deviate from the child support guidelines. A common factor that impacts child support is the health insurance premiums for a child.

Determining Who Provides Health Insurance for the Children in a New Jersey Divorce

The cost of health insurance premiums is not included in the basic child support obligation. Instead, parents must decide who will cover the child under their health insurance plan in the child custody agreement. If the parents cannot decide, a judge can enter an order requiring a parent to cover their children under their health insurance policy.

Typically, parents negotiate who covers the children under health insurance based on costs and other factors. For example, a father might have family health insurance coverage through his job. Having health insurance for himself or the entire family costs the same.

However, the mother’s health insurance at work charges more to cover children. Therefore, the parents agree that the father will cover the children under his health insurance policy.

Another factor parents may consider is which insurance policy provides the best coverage. It might cost slightly more for the mother to add the children to her health insurance coverage, but it might also provide better benefits. Therefore, the parents might agree for the mother to add the children to her health insurance coverage and split the cost.

The court’s goal is to ensure that the child has health insurance coverage if available.

Will I Receive a Credit for Child Support if I Pay the Health Insurance Premiums for My Children?

If you are a noncustodial parent paying child support, you may receive a credit or reduction in your child support payments based on how much you pay for health insurance for your children. Likewise, if you are a custodial parent receiving child support and pay for health insurance coverage for your children, your child support payments may increase.

Theoretically, each parent should pay their portion of the health insurance premiums based on their relative incomes. However, other factors can adjust what a parent pays for their share of the health insurance for their children.

Who Pays for Medical Costs Not Covered by Health Insurance?

Child support should cover up to $250 in medical costs not covered by insurance per child each year. Unreimbursed medical costs above that amount can be split between the parents either through an agreement or by court order.

Modifications of Child Support for Medical Costs

It is reasonable to assume that a family’s medical costs may change over time. A child may develop special needs or a medical condition that results in additional medical costs. A parent may change jobs, which could impact health insurance coverage.

Child support obligations may be modified for a substantial change in circumstances. Therefore, if your health insurance changes or your child requires additional medical care, you may need to petition the court for a modification of child support payments.

With an attorney’s help, you may be able to negotiate an agreement with your child’s other parent. If not, your attorney will argue your case before the judge, and the court will decide how to modify the payments to reflect the changes in medical costs and/or health insurance premiums.If you have questions about health insurance and child support in New Jersey, you can schedule a free consultation with a Monmouth County child support lawyer.

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm in Red Bank. NJ at (732) 747-1882 or contact us online today.
You can also visit our law firm at 157 Broad St #111, Red Bank, NJ 07701.

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