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Make sure your child support order addresses health insurance

If you are going through a divorce that involves the custody and/or support of children, there is one important issue that should be addressed in the support order. Which parent will be responsible for carrying the children on his or her health insurance policy.

As you are dividing up cars and property and settling custodial matters, this very important detail should not be overlooked. For one, health insurance coverage for all Americans is now available under the Affordable Care Act. Parents are responsible for making sure that their minor children have coverage.

Requiring one parent to cover the costs of insuring the kids can significantly boost the total amount of support that is being received. Alternatively, it can also offset the amount that the parent who is carrying the children on his or her policy must pay.

Legally, custodial parents don't have to go through their ex to learn about coverage options. They can speak directly to the insurer to submit claims and get reimbursed without involving the non-custodial parent or his or her employer. This can alleviate communication difficulties between exes after a contentious divorce.

If you are in the midst of a divorce involving minor children, make sure that the matter of health insurance coverage for the kids is addressed in the support order. Discussing the matter thoroughly with your family law attorney allows him or her to propose a solution that works best for you. It may be addressed in mediation sessions or can be taken up directly court if matters cannot be satisfactorily resolved between the parties.

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, "Handbook on Child Support Enforcement," accessed Feb. 25, 2016

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