Orthodontic Work and Child Support


When you and your spouse are getting divorced, one of the last things you are probably thinking about is what kind of orthodontic work your child needs. Instead, you are likely figuring things out like custody, alimony, and timeline. However, your child’s orthodontic needs are incredibly important, and when it comes to different types of orthodontic work, you or your spouse may be facing thousands of dollars worth of treatment. So, how does this work when you are paying child support? Is one parent obligated to pay the full cost of orthodontic treatment or does the spouse paying child support contribute as well? 

A San Clemente, CA orthodontics office such as John Redmond Orthodontics want to make sure your child gets the care they need for their dental work, and are happy to speak with you and your ex-spouse to determine payments and discuss the types of treatments available. Please call our office to speak with one of our orthodontists now.

How does child support work with orthodontic treatments?

When it comes to a child’s health, the factors surrounding child support may change. For example, one of the biggest determining factors in child support for dental or medical procedures is going to be a necessity. Is the procedure that the child is going to get something the child truly needs or is it merely cosmetic? This will play a huge role in whether the parent paying child support should pay additional money for a procedure. In fact, although states have different statutes regarding what constitutes reasonable or necessary medical or dental expenses, many can typically think of it in terms of their income. If both parents have the same income, they may be able to expect to split the cost of necessary dental expenses straight down the middle. On the other hand, if one parent makes 60% of the combined income and the other makes 40%, it is likely the person who is making 60% can expect to pay 60% of the dental bill.

Where do braces fit in?

Braces are one of the dental expenses that can fall under cosmetic, necessary, or even both. The easiest way to determine whether the non-custodial parent would need to pay for part of the orthodontic expenses is whether the child is in any kind of pain because of their mouth. If that pain can be alleviated or cured through orthodontic treatment, then the parent who pays child support would likely also need to pay an additional amount toward that expense. On the other hand, if the child (or other parent) simply does not like the way the child’s teeth look because they are crooked, then an orthodontist would likely classify this as a cosmetic procedure and it is unlikely a judge would force the non-custodial parent to pay.

It is not always clear cut what kinds of things a non-custodial parent will need to pay for regarding their children, but the orthodontists at John Redmond Orthodontics can talk with you about whether the treatment in question is necessary or cosmetic. For more information, please contact our office now.