Divorced Spouse Not Paying Child's Medical Bills

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

Divorced Spouse Not Paying Child's Medical Bills

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

When your divorce was finalized, the court should have ordered both you and your former spouse to pay an equal share of your child's medical bills. Because this is a legal order, if your former spouse isn't providing their share, you can ask the court to make them pay.

Little girl sitting on her mother's lap reading a book with a nurse

This is called an enforcement action. It is important to make sure you have your paperwork in order before you start this legal process.

Paperwork

First, you need to make sure there is an active, enforceable court order. Immediately following your divorce, you should have received a copy of the divorce decree. This document shows that you and your spouse are no longer married.

You'll also need to locate your child support order. The court provides this along with your divorce decree. A child support order determines which parent is the custodial parent and how much the non-custodial parent needs to pay in child support each month. The order will also dictate how medical costs for your child should be split between parents.

Enforcement

Now that you've gathered your necessary paperwork, you can start the process of getting your ex-spouse to pay their share of your child's medical bills. You have three options for enforcement.

1. Contact your state's agency that monitors and collects child support payments. Each state has an agency that is tasked with collecting child support payments. The rules for enforcement can vary from state to state. The agency in your state may only be able to help you if your former spouse is not paying child support. If your former spouse is current on their payments, despite not paying their share of your child's medical costs, try the next option.

2. You can file a motion to enforce the child support order. This motion asks the court to require your former spouse to pay their share. You need to file this motion with the same court where you received the original child support order. When you file, you must provide evidence. This could include a copy of your child's medical bills and any past due notices. You want to include evidence of your payment to show you've paid your portion of the costs.

You must provide a copy of the motion to your former spouse to give them the opportunity to respond. The court then holds a hearing to allow both you and your former spouse the opportunity to speak and present evidence. If the court decides your former spouse owes the money, it orders them to pay.

3. If you have paid the full amount yourself, you could take your former spouse to small claims court. This option allows you the chance to make your spouse pay you back for their share of the bills. Each state has different requirements for small claims court. Your claim needs to be under a certain dollar amount. But this process is faster than seeking a motion for enforcement.

It doesn't matter why your former spouse hasn't paid their share of your child's medical costs, you have options to make them pay. Whichever path you choose, make sure you have your paperwork in order and evidence to present to the court.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.