Ask a Divorce Lawyer: What medical costs are covered by child support?

Question: I was ordered in my divorce to pay 50% of all “ordinary, reasonable and necessary” costs related to “medical, dental, health and psychological care” for my son. 

I have been paying these for about 3 years, but now I am refusing to pay for all over-the-counter meds and dental supplies such as rinses and floss, Tylenol, vitamins, etc., because I assume that these are daily needs and thus covered by child support. 

If my ex goes back to the court, will I win my case and be allowed not to have to pay for these? Should Tylenol and the like be covered by child support?


Answer: My first question is, are these items only used by your son or are they also being used by your ex-wife?  Second, did a doctor put your son on a vitamin or Tylenol regimen or does he have a condition which requires him to take vitamins and Tylenol on a frequent basis?  If these are all daily needs, do you purchase these items for your home?  If so, your purchases may balance out her purchases and neither of you would owe the other anything since you would each be paying the other half of what the other purchased.

What child support is supposed to cover is not explicitly defined in the statutes. The language that you are referring to is standard language for splitting medical and prescription bills and deductibles.  Your ex-wife is obviously taking it to an extreme.  However, that doesn’t mean that her requests are outside of the definition of reasonable and necessary costs.  

If you two cannot come to an agreement and she files a motion for contempt, I cannot tell you how the Judge will rule.  You both have an argument to support your respective positions.  You should contact an attorney in your county to find out how Judges have ruled on this issue.  I do not practice in your jurisdiction; however, Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located in Florida who would be happy to discuss your case with you.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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