The amount of child support ordered after a divorce is a frequent source of contention between former spouses. The parent receiving child support typically feels like the amount doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the cost the children incur, while the person paying support will often feel like it represents an unfair portion of their average wages.
The state of Texas does its best to be fair and reasonable in the amount of support it orders. Typically, the courts will look carefully at the family’s financial circumstances and any special needs before setting an amount.
Health costs are already part of child support
It is common for the courts to order the parent paying support to provide health insurance, an obligation which has expanded recently to also include dental insurance for the children. However, even with good dental insurance, some of the basic needs your children have likely won’t receive insurance coverage.
Braces, a common name for orthodontia intended to straighten a child’s teeth and promote the healthy growth of their jaw, may not have any coverage under a dental plan while simultaneously costing thousands of dollars. It is perfectly normal to wonder whether child support can help cover the costs associated with braces and similar orthodontic care.
Parents should typically share in uninsured medical costs
While quite a few people look at orthodontics such as braces, appliances and retainers as purely cosmetic, that is not an accurate perception of the service. For some children, spacing issues with their teeth could lead to more serious problems in the future, including an increased risk of migraines and other health issues.
Even if the risk isn’t medical in nature, there is little question that our society judges people harshly on the straightness and cleanliness of their teeth. Sending your children out into the world with crooked teeth may put them at a disadvantage for both professional advancement and eventual romantic partnerships.
Wanting the best for your children means planning for a positive and healthy future for them. In the event that your ex will not agree to help cover the costs of orthodontic care, you may be able to ask the courts to add such care to your child support order by requesting a modification and presenting evidence of the current and likely future expenses associated with straightening your child’s teeth.