If you are the parent who usually takes your child to the doctor, you are probably the one who most often pays the co-pays and deductibles.
Even if your divorce or paternity decree states that you are entitled to reimbursement from the other parent, you may find it difficult to actually get that reimbursement.
Here are the most important things to remember to help you recover the money that you are entitled to have.
- Keep your receipts- This may sound simple, but it isn't always easy to do when you are surrounded with a lot of activity and have a lot to keep track of. Here is a shortcut: take a picture of the receipt with your phone, then keep the original hard copy receipt in a file.
- Keep track of the total medical amount and the total reimbursement due- You can use a financial app, a spreadsheet or a good old-fashioned spiral notebook.
- Email or text to communicate with your ex in order to have evidence of your attempts to collect reimbursement for the medicals. So, if your ex completely ignores the attempts, you will have a record of what you sent in case you need to involve an attorney. Or you can send a gentle reminder to your ex, letting him/her know the date that you first sent your request and showing exactly how long you have been waiting for payment.
- The most common complaint heard from a non-paying parent, "S/he didn't tell me about any medical expenses and then I suddenly got a long list of expenses due and s/he wanted them paid immediately! It was a lot of money." Submitting the expenses regularly makes it easier on everyone and allows you to ask for smaller amounts, which your ex may have a easier time paying to you.
- If all else fails, consult a family law attorney: If you are unable to collect medical support that is due, you may have to take legal steps to do so.
- Both parents should be involved in the child's life: Knowing when the child is going to the doctor, getting braces, receiving counseling or other health care prevents the surprise of a large medical bill.
- By Paralegal Myrna Ramirez and Attorney Laura Kalish.
Family Law, Business Law, Real Estate Law, Probate