Rhode Island Divorce - Attorney Pearsall on Healthcare Coverage
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Healthcare is another aspect considered in a Rhode Island Divorce, particularly if there are minor children involved.
In a divorce involving minor children, Judge's typically want to hear whether there is health care coverage afforded to any minor children of the divorcing parties, who the primary insured on that insurance plan, who will continue to maintain the plan and how, and how the expenses of the minor children that are not covered by the existing health insurance will be paid for by the divorcing spouses.
On it's surface it can be as simple as this little fact pattern below:
John and Julie are getting divorced. John has family medical care through his employer at a moderate cost that is deducted from his check each week. John agrees to continue that coverage for the benefit of his child(ren) and his soon to be ex-spouse for as long as they are eligible. John and Julie will each pay 50% of all uninsured expenses for the children. These would include co-pays, prescriptions that aren't covered, etc. John and Julie shall each be responsible for their own out of pocket medical expense.
That instance isn't complicated and two reasonable people could come to that agreement without too much difficulty and not even realize that they have complied with the needs of the court and what the judge wants to know.
Unfortunately, divorces aren't always so amicable and agreements such as these can become complicated if the parties become difficult with each other when emotional tensions run high or if the parties simply become "penny pinchers" such that they want the same amount as their spouse right down to the last penny.
Let's add a little glitch to John and Julie's scenario. Rather than wanting to pay their child's uninsured and uncovered out of pocket medical expenses equally, Julie makes $10,000 less per year than John so she only thinks she should pay in proportion to her income which is 40% of their total income. Julie thinks John should pay 60% of each expense. Yet here's the problem.... what if either of their incomes fluctuate. How often will it be monitored? What documents will be required for disclosure? How can full compliance with disclosure be assured?
Though Julie is trying to get herself out of paying an extra 10% she is complicating the process immensely and possibly causing a situation that could cause her and John to expend much more in unnecessary legal fees than if she were simply to pay half of the uninsured medical expenses. Instead, such an endeavor could lead to a computational nightmare trying to keep up with who makes how much money and when and whether the percentage relates to the time the service is rendered, the time the bill is sent, or the time the bill is eventually paid.
If delays in the calculations or court proceedings then who may be responsible for the late charges, interest or costs of collection?
Do you recognize the other issues this scenario could raise?
All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall - "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™