Many clients ask whether a parent is required to pay another parent for unreimbursed medical care costs. In this blog, I examine the code sections that apply to such determinations, and examples of when such payments may not be required.
Virginia Code 20-108.1, grants courts the authority to order cash medical support for dependent children, if reasonable. Cash medical support is defined under Virginia Code 63.2-1900 as the proportional amount the court shall order both parents to pay toward reasonable and necessary unreimbursed medical or dental expenses pursuant to subsection D of § 20-108.2.
Two aspects are important here, the first that the obligation is proportional, and second that they must be reasonable and necessary. Regarding proportionality, this is based upon the respective income of the parties. Courts will therefore order one parent to reimburse the other on a pro rata basis for unreimbursed medical care.
The second aspect here is often the more litigated issue, whether the care was reasonable and necessary. Examples of reasonable and necessary include, but are not limited to, routine medical check ups, prescriptions ordered by primary care doctors, and emergency medical care. They can also include payments for orthodontia care, psychological treatment or even psychiatric care. Examples of medical care that is not considered reasonable and necessary are those that are cosmetic in nature, are additive or duplicative care, and treatments not prescribed by a medical professional.
Issues involving reimbursement for child medical care does not have to be a difficult or challenging experience. An experienced attorney can guide a client through the process of filing for reimbursement through the courts, or if not previously ordered, having the court order the same of a party. In some cases, this may require filing a show cause against the non-paying party. In those cases, a client should be sure to provide the non-paying party with documentation of the cost and payment. Importantly, a court can not order a party to reimburse for medical care that is owed but not yet paid for. For that reason, any party demanding reimbursement should be sure to maintain documentation of payment in addition to invoices or other documents relating to costs.
If you are in need of an attorney to handle the reimbursement of medical care payments, or wish to ensure payments were reasonable and necessary, consider contacting one of the attorneys at Waltrip & Campbell, PC. They are experienced in handling issues related to support and family law matter.
This Blog was written by Brandon C. Waltrip, Esq., a partner and founding member of Waltrip & Campbell, PC.