The Nebraska Child Support Guidelines recognizes that both parents have an equal duty to provide financial support to their children in proportion to their respective net incomes. There are three main types of financial support for children that will be addressed in a divorce.
- Child support
- Childcare expenses, which are due to the employment of either parent, or to allow the parent to obtain training or education needed to obtain a job or enhance earning potential
- Reasonable and necessary uninsured medical expenses
Pursuant to the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines, payment for childcare expenses and uninsured medical expenses for children is considered independently of the child support obligation. That is, these expenses are divided between the parents regardless of which parent pays or receives child support.
Payment for these expenses is allocated between parents in proportion to the total income earned by both parents. For example, if the mother earns a net income of $5,000 per month and the father earns a net income of $2,500 per month, the total net income earned by the family is $7,500 per month. The mother’s contribution is 2/3 and the father’s contribution is 1/3 of their total net income.
In this scenario, the mother is responsible for 2/3 of all daycare and uninsured medical expenses and the father is responsible for 1/3 of all daycare and uninsured medical expenses for the child.
Unlike child support payments, payments for childcare and uninsured medical expenses are not paid through the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center or automatically withheld from the payor’s paycheck. Thus, payment for these expenses often requires parents to track payments and reimburse each other for his or her portion of the expenses. Failure to request reimbursement of these expenses in a timely manner may result in a parent being prohibited from collecting them in the future.
As such, reimbursement for childcare and uninsured medical expenses is an issue frequently disputed in modification and contempt of court matters. To make tracking these payments and reimbursements easier for both parents, consider the following tips:
- Keep copies of all billing statements from the healthcare service providers with your notations regarding payments made, including the date, amount, check number, etc.
- Keep copies of all insurance benefits statements
- Ask your pharmacy to give you a monthly or an annual printout of all the charges and payments for prescription drugs;
- Ask your childcare provider to give you a monthly or annual printout of all the charges and payments,
- Keep copies of any correspondence between you and the other parent regarding payment of these expenses, requests for reimbursement, etc.
- Keep a record of the sums paid by each parent, either directly to the childcare provider/health insurance expenses and the reimbursements that you’ve received.
- Keep these records organized by year and/or by child.
Be sure to follow the terms for payment and reimbursement set forth in your decree. If the other parent is failing to pay for or reimburse you for childcare or uninsured medical expenses as ordered, contact an experienced family law attorney regarding your rights and options.