Paying Medical Expenses For Minor Children By Being Listed As A Guarantor

Pittsburgh divorce lawyer Anna CiardiQuestion:

Can my ex-wife list me as a “guarantor” for medical expenses for my minor children without notifying me?

I was just informed that I owe thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills that I never received notice of since it was my ex-wife taking our kids to the doctor and I’m the only parent listed in their files.

Now I am being sent to collections and would like to know what to do.


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Both parents are responsible for the medical bills of their minor children, so you are technically responsible whether your ex-wife lists you as a guarantor or not.

Your court order should state what percentage you are required to pay toward your child(ren)’s medical bills.  If your order does not specify this, you may want to consider modifying it to specify this percentage.

This is how medical expenses generally works under my state’s divorce laws: in every proceeding to establish or modify a child support order, the ability of each parent to provide health care coverage for their children must be determined.

Further, if health care coverage is available at a reasonable cost to a noncustodial parent on a group basis (such as through an employer), the noncustodial parent is required to provide health insurance coverage to the parties’ children.

My state’s statutes also establish that the unreimbursed medical expenses (such as insurance copays and deductibles) of the children must be allocated between the parties in proportion to their respective net incomes, and the payor’s share added to his/her basic support obligation.

This refers to annual unreimbursed medical expenses in excess of $250 per person that are recurring and can be reasonably predicted by the court at the time of the establishment or modification of the support order.

If there are annual medical expenses in excess of $250 per person that are unpredictable or nonrecurring, the court may order that such expenses, if incurred, be allocated in proportion to the parties’ net incomes.

You should first look to your divorce decree to see if it addresses unreimbursed medical expenses. The divorce laws of your state may also describe a particular way to deal with unreimbursed medical expenses.

It is not uncommon for the noncustodial parent to be required to pay a portion of these expenses, often the expenses will be shared in proportion to the parties’ relevant income.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer Anna M. Ciardi, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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