My husband and his ex wife agreed upon $75.00 a week child support based upon the child support calculator. This order has been in effect for about 8 years and nothing has really changed financially except that she has decided to only work part time (besides the jobs she does under the table). There was no agreement as far as health care or anything like that. She remarried right away and the child has always been on her stepfather’s health insurance. We did cover her on dental insurance for a while and helped pay for her braces when we were asked to do so and we have also helped with other outside activities (prom dresses, school clothes, etc) when asked. They don’t communicate with us much or include us in almost anything, his daughter ignores our calls and texts and she never spends the night anymore and hasn’t for the last two years. She is 17 now and will be 18 in a few months. We were just informed after she was taken to the hospital for an illness that she has no health care coverage and hasn’t for a few months ago. When they lost their coverage the mother did not notify us but claims she did and has not made any attempt to obtain any other insurance for the child. During her recent illness her mother has texted my husband and demanded he help paying for the medical bill and now possibly a surgeon. She has sent nasty text messages demanding more money and an agreement to pay for half of everything. During her money rants she goes on and on about how he has done nothing and how does he think his $75.00 a week is supposed to pay for everything. Anyway my question is this: What are we obligated to do ? Can she take him to court looking to raise the amount of money she gets or to get health insurance for the next few months until the child turns 18 ? Will the courts take things like the what they own or the fact that she only works part time when considering the amount of child support ?
*** Not a lawyer ***
Was the child support an actual court order or a part of a signed and notarized separation agreement, or was it just a verbal agreement? If the former, did the order/agreement address who is supposed to carry health insurance on the child? I suspect the answers to these questions will affect the answers to yours.
As far as I know, extraordinary medical expenses aren’t normally included in the normal child support and should be divided appropriately. But if the ex-wife was supposed to be carrying the insurance under a court order or properly executed separation agreement, then from NC GS § 50-13.11(e) it sounds like the ex-wife is supposed to be responsible for all of the expenses that would have been covered by insurance.
As for child support if it goes to court, if there was a previous order or properly executed separation agreement then I believe the mother would have to show a material change of circumstances affecting the child in order for the $75 to be changed or for a change in who was ordered to carry insurance. The daughter never spending the night anymore might count, I don’t know. If the $75 was never “official”, then I have no idea. In either case, if it is determined to be changable then they’ll redo the child support worksheet to determine the new amount. If the $75 was “official”, the requirement to pay the new amount could be back-dated to the date when the case was filed but not earlier; if it wasn’t official, I don’t know if they could back-date it further or not.
Also, BTW, note that child support doesn’t always end when the child turns 18. If the child is still in high school and turns 18 before graduating, the child support continues until graduation, drop-out, “fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation”, or age 20, unless the court orders an earlier termination of support.
If the child support order has been in effect for 8 years, it would seem that she may have a right to file a motion to modify child support. I would need to review the order in terms of health insurance and payment of medical expenses in order to answer the remaining questions contained in your post. If she returns to court for a motion to modify child support, the court may impute income to her since she has voluntarily decreased the amount that she works.