Are transportation costs part of medical related expenses?

Attorney Brad CunninghamQuestion:

Is mileage and associated costs incurred for doctor and dentist appointments considered part of the medical related expenses?

Most of the providers are a good distance away from where I live and work so the costs are adding up. It is not addressed anywhere in the divorce decree.

Answer:

In Oklahoma the standard form language regarding physical and mental health expenses refers to expenses which are not covered by the health insurance. Generally, this means those out of pocket expenses you incur in relation to healthcare, for example co-pays, or those payments which are beyond what the insurance pays for a certain exam or procedure.

I do see where it could be interpreted to include any cost incurred related to providing health care for the children such as the mileage to take a child to a doctor or dentist. However, it has been my experience the provision is not meant to include those expenses. Because mileage was not specifically included in the definition, I believe the Court would not include those expenses as the provision is currently drafted.

One option would to be to modify the terms of the Decree and/or Custody Plan to include those ancillary expenses. This can be done by agreement or by filing a Motion to Modify with the Court.

You may have some success if the nearest health care providers are a great distance from you or the children. A judge may be inclined to include mileage as a reimbursable expense if you have limited to no close by alternatives. I am not familiar with any relevant case law on the subject, but it may be worth your time to meet with a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.

Cordell & Cordell practices in Oklahoma and we would be happy to speak with you.

 

Bradley K. Cunningham is a Senior Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma office of Cordell & Cordell where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Cunningham is licensed in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. 

After growing up in Tulsa, Mr. Cunningham moved to Arkansas where he received his undergraduate degree in Accounting from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He then returned to Oklahoma and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma.

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