Health Care Expenses & Child Support in New Jersey
In New Jersey, child support includes a number of expenses. Among them is the first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses per child, per year. If the custodial parent incurs more than $250 of such expenses in a year, then the balance would be split by the parties pursuant to their incomes. This figure is easily determined by looking at the child support guidelines worksheet. What seems like a simple, straight forward process is often the source of much litigation in New Jersey which could have easily been avoided.
One way to avoid litigation is to account for recurring and predictable expenses in the child support guidelines. Of course, this is not possible for most children but when it is, it can be helpful to cut down on litigation. Thus, if a child has $1000 in unreimbursed medical expenses per year, the amount in excess of $250 (in this case $750) can be added to the guidelines to ensure that the payments are made in a timely fashion.
Child Support Lawyers Who Care
The other way to avoid litigation is to request reimbursement from the other parent in a timely manner. Our child support lawyers have seen many cases where the custodial parent will save up expenses and then file a motion for reimbursement, often as a cross motion. The theory appears to be that since the other parent is forcing them into court on one issue, they may as well try to get as much money back as possible. This is just bad all the way around. Its not fair to the other parent and you may not get a total reimbursement. While laches is not a good defense to child support issues, it has been successful in some case. Besides laches, the parent seeking reimbursement for old expenses may run into serious proof issues as records become hard to obtain.
The best option is to prove to the other parent that the $250 has been exceeded as soon as possible. Then, when a bill comes, pay it and submit it to the other side right away. If the parties cannot resolve this themselves, then the court should be asked for a specific schedule as to how the parent seeking the reimbursement needs to notify the other parent and when he/she has to make the reimbursement.
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