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Your child’s health insurance and your child support order

Issues involving the calculation of child support can become hotly contested when parents decide to divorce. This is especially true in matters of health insurance coverage for children of the divorce. But which parent should pay for that insurance?

The short answer is that it depends on the child support order. In Florida, the living arrangement between divorced parents and their children is known as "time-sharing". As a general rule, there are two types of time-sharing. Parents can share custody of their children equally or the child can reside with one parent for a majority of the time. Typically, Florida courts will require child support payments from a parent who does not provide the primary residence for the children.

Florida courts use a mathematical formula to figure out how much child support one parent should pay to the other using Florida's child support guidelines. Without getting too complicated, the court will calculate the cost of health care insurance for the children as well as a parent's income to arrive at a reasonable amount of child support. The court considers a reasonable amount of health insurance as a plan that does not exceed more than 5 percent of the child support paying parent's gross income.

Another factor the court will use to consider the reasonableness of health insurance for a minor child is accessibility. Put simply, the court wants to ensure that any provided health care coverage is accessible to the child within the same county as his or her primary residence. If both parents share equal time with the child, then health care coverage is considered reasonable if the child can access it from the home counties of either parent.

The assistance of a family law attorney with experience in health care insurance issues can be extremely useful when controversies erupt over modifying child support orders. This is true regardless of whether you believe that a health care plan for your child is unreasonably expensive or if you simply want to ensure that your child has access to appropriate care.

Source: The Florida Legislature, "Support of children; parenting and time-sharing; powers of court" accessed Mar. 17, 2015

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