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Medical coverage and child support

Massachusetts parents who have been ordered to make child support payments are usually expected to provide health care coverage for their children as well. A judge may order the paying parent to include the child on a group plan that is available through the parent's employer. If the parent can get health care coverage another way, a judge may order the parent to add thechild to that plan.

A judge can only order a parent to provide health care coverage for their child if the coverage is reasonably affordable for the parent. Health care coverage that is available through a parent's employer is always considered reasonably affordable in the eyes of the court. If paying for a child's health care coverage causes a parent to experience a serious financial hardship, a judge may rule that the expense is unreasonable.

It is important to note that the amount a parent pays for the child's health care coverage will be deducted from the parent's weekly income before child support calculations are made. The first $250 of a child's annual medical and dental expenses that are not covered by insurance are the obligation of the parent who has custody of the child.

An attorney may be able to represent a parent when an initial child support order is being worked out in family court. If the parent is being asked to pay child support, an attorney may help the parent to ensure that the judge understands what a reasonable child support order would be given the parent's income and expenses. When there is a change in either of the parents' incomes, an attorney may help the paying parent to petition for a modification of child support obligations.

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