Getting Court-Ordered Health Insurance from Child Support
Custodial parents usually want their child’s health expenses to be covered by support. Here’s how to get child support for health insurance in California.
To get child support for health insurance, you’ll want to prove that the person paying support (PPS) can reasonably provide healthcare coverage for your child. A judge may order a parent to pay their child’s health coverage if the child’s insurance costs 5% or less of their annual income.
Does child support include health insurance in California?
Health insurance for children is always included in child support orders. The ultimate goal of the support order is to protect the child’s “best interests”. Obviously, healthcare coverage is vital in ensuring a child is cared for. A court will assess the family’s financial and insurance situation during the support case, then order one parent to provide insurance for the child. The judge will assess which parent can reasonably afford to pay for the child’s health insurance.
One of our experienced child support attorneys can help you get your child’s health coverage under your child support order. Contact us today.
How Courts Determine Who Pays for the Child’s Health Insurance
The 5% Guideline
In California, courts use 5% as a standardized guideline to determine whether health insurance payments are reasonable. If the child’s insurance costs less than 5% of the PPS’s income, then the plan will likely be deemed reasonable by a judge. Health coverage for the child that costs over 5% of the PPS’s income is typically deemed unreasonable, and another method of payment for the child’s health coverage will be determined.
For example, let’s assume Bob earns $50,000 annually and has a daughter named Frankie. Bob does not have health insurance and would have to pay $2,500 a year for Frankie’s health coverage. Because the health costs are not more than 5% of Bob’s income, a judge will likely require him to pay for Frankie’s healthcare. If Frankie’s insurance were to cost over $2,500, the judge would probably not require Bob to pay for Frankie’s health coverage.
If a parent already has health insurance, the court will order that parent to support the child under that coverage at no cost or an additional fee. If the additional cost is 5% or less of the parent’s income, they’ll likely be ordered to pay for their child’s health coverage.
Some parents covered by their employer’s health insurance plan may be able to get health coverage for their child as well. If a judge assesses that a parent’s employee healthcare can be used to also cover their child, the judge will make that parent responsible for the child’s health insurance.
Health Insurance Coverage Assignment
In some situations, a judge may issue a “health insurance coverage assignment”, which requires one parent’s employer to provide health insurance coverage for their employee’s child. This can be done through an Application and Order for Health Insurance Coverage (Form FL-470).
Prove the PPS Can Afford It
If neither parent has health insurance, the court will order one parent to pay out-of-pocket for the child’s healthcare coverage. With that being said, you’ll ultimately want to prove that you cannot afford to pay for your child’s healthcare. In court, present health insurance bills and financial statements to prove that your child’s health would cost equal to or less than 5% of your spouse’s income. If a judge believes that the PPS can afford to pay for the child’s health coverage, they will likely be required to do so.
If a parent cancels their child’s health insurance coverage, they can be held in contempt of court and face civil or criminal penalties. Furthermore, a custodial parent may collect up to 50% of uninsured medical costs from the PPS.
FAQs About Child Support and Your Child’s Health Insurance
Is child support for health insurance tax-deductible in California?
Health insurance is usually an additional expense from child support, which means that is can be deducted from your taxable income.
Does health insurance lower child support?
A parent’s obligation to cover a child’s health insurance is usually separate from a child support order. Therefore, a parent may be able to deduct from their gross income when calculating child support, thus possibly lowering their child support obligation. Health insurance costs are used as a factor when determining child support and may reduce a parent’s overall child support payments.
When does medical insurance stop for child support?
A parent’s obligation to provide health or medical insurance for their child may end when:
- The cost of insurance exceeds 5% of the PPS’s income
- The child turns 18 years old
- When the adult child with special needs no longer requires health coverage
If you’re looking to get your child’s health insurance covered under a court order and need a lawyer, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified attorney for your unique case. Your first consultation is free. We’re here to help 24/7.