Child Support and "Medically Necessary" Orthodontics

Asked over 1 year ago - Great Neck, NY

Orthodontist said that if daughter did not get braces that she would be more susceptible to possible jaw problems in the future. Does this constitute as medically necessary? She didn't have any jaw/dental problems before my ex decided braces would "help her self esteem". It was even explained to me when i talked to dental assistant that she was part of group A because her teeth were not perfect so there was always room for improvement. Group B would be for people with very bad teeth. Now she wants me to pay her back half! Our child support order does state all of these decisions need to be made jointly and that I am responsible for x% of "Medically Necessary Orthodontia". How can I prove they weren't necessary?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jayson Lutzky


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If a professional states that it is necessary for braces, then in all likelihood the court will order that the braces are necessary.

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  2. Rory M. Alarcon

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you were part of a Family Court proceeding, you would essentially need to subpoena the dental records and possibly hire an expert witness to prove that they were not necessary. I am not sure where the Group A/B argument fits in.

    I believe that you may have more of an argument that your spouse did the procedure without your input, but this would largely depend upon the wording of your agreement.

    Rory Alarcon, Esq., is a New York attorney practicing the areas of Family Law, Matrimonial Law, Foreclosure... more
  3. Peter Christopher Lomtevas


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Let me see if I understand this fact pattern. You are a non-custodial parent with input authority. This means your custodial opponent has to seek your input and if she fails to do so, she is on the hook. Further, you are asking whether something other than basic healthcare/dental care imposes 50/50 liability. That's up to the court likely based upon testimony of an expert witness who can render an opinion as to whether a particular procedure was "necessary".

    I have been through many of these kinds of cases. I would recommend paying the bill. The natural outcome is that the child will demand other things and the opponent will no doubt talk down about you and your denial of payments for doctors' procedures. This will hurt your relationship with the child and cause future outbursts and unpleasant conversations.

    Good luck.

Related Topics

Child support

Child support is a payment made from one parent to another parent (usually from non-custodial to custodial), to help ensure the child's financial needs are met.

Child support and medical expenses

When courts calculate child support, the final amount often includes routine medical expenses -- but it will generally not cover the cost of extraordinary care.

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