How much of my child’s braces am I responsible for paying? My divorce decree says I am responsible for a specific amount of dental and medical, and I am unsure if orthodontics cover that spectrum.
I have not been retained as your attorney so I cannot give you legal advice. However, I can offer some general information that may help you.
As is the case with many family law issues, the answer to your question will be dependent upon the specific facts in your case. First, you will want to review your divorce decree/agreement to see what it says regarding dental expenses. Is dental expenses defined? Does it say anything about orthodontic expenses, or does it simply use the word “dental.”
If you do not pay 60% of the cost for braces or any other medical or dental cost, then—in the state where I practice which is Arkansas—your ex-spouse can start the contempt process against you. This means your ex-spouse will file a “Motion for Contempt” with the court which is a written request asking the court to find that you have violated the court’s previous order(s).
If Virginia is similar to Arkansas, the court will then issue a “show cause order” and a “show cause hearing” will be scheduled.
At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to tell the court your good reason for not following the court’s order. It will be up to the court as to whether or not to order any sanctions. It could be possible that the court will find that braces fall under the category of a dental expense.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.