I recently received a financial agreement from my ex-wife and my daughter’s dentist that says I have to pay half of the expense for our daughter to have braces. This is the first time I have heard of the braces and I don’t think they are necessary.
Can the dentist make me liable for payment and then collect if I don’t pay? And shouldn’t the dentist have to show me receipts of the payments made so I can see what my ex-wife’s insurance pays?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Virginia, when a parent is ordered to pay one half of all medical expenses the court looks at the reasonableness of the expense. To determine what is reasonable, the court will look at the normal cost for the procedure for the area that you live.
When it comes to a procedure like braces, the court generally will not look into whether or not the child actually needed braces because there is a presumption that the doctor would not have performed an unnecessary procedure.
If you do not pay, it is unlikely that the dentist will be able to sue you directly for the funds. But, the other parent could take you to court on contempt charges for not following the court’s order. As a result the court could order you to pay not only the dental expenses but also the opposition’s attorney’s fees as well.
Whether or not you have to pay when the doctor sends a bill or when the other parent presents you with a receipt will depend entirely on the language contained within the order.
Questions regarding shared medical expenses require a specialized knowledge of local law and a particular understanding of your decree. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on these matters, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of Indiana and how they impact your case.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss child custody rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Virginia divorce Lawyer Charles D. Hatley, contact Cordell & Cordell.