In many of the divorce cases that we handle,  the parties don’t have access to health care for the child or can not afford to purchase health insurance for the child.   Is health insurance required in a case involving a child or in a divorce case involving a child?   Yes, Courts will require that one or the other party secure health insurance including dental care insurance for the child.   In some cases, one of the parties may qualify for Medicaid insurance coverage for the child.   The one factor that is for certain in cases involving children is that one of the parties will have to pay for the coverage even if Medicaid is involved.

In a divorce case, the court shall render an order for the medical support of the child as provided by the Texas Family Code in (1) a proceeding in which periodic payments of child support are ordered; (2) any other suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which the court determines that medical support of the child must be established, modified, or clarified.

Before a hearing on temporary orders or a final order, if no hearing on temporary orders is held, the court shall require the parties to the proceedings to disclose in a pleading or other statement if private health insurance is in effect for the child, the identity of the insurance company providing the coverage, the policy number, which parent is responsible for payment of any insurance premium for the coverage, whether the coverage is provided through a parent’s employment, and the cost of the premium.  If private health insurance is not in effect for the child, whether, the Court will require a statement that the child is receiving medical assistance under Medicaid;  the child is receiving health benefits coverage under the state child health plan under Medicaid, and the cost of any premium; and whether either parent has access to private health insurance at reasonable cost to the obligor.

In rendering temporary orders, the court shall, except for good cause shown, order that any health insurance coverage in effect for the child continue in effect pending the rendition of a final order, except that the court may not require the continuation of any health insurance that is not available to the parent at reasonable cost to the obligor. If there is no health insurance coverage in effect for the child or if the insurance in effect is not available at a reasonable cost to the obligor, the court shall, except for good cause shown, order health care coverage for the child as provided under a state program.

On rendering a final order the court shall make specific findings with respect to the manner in which health care coverage is to be provided for the child, in accordance with the priorities identified under the Texas Family Code; and  except for good cause shown or on agreement of the parties, require the parent ordered to provide health care coverage for the child as provided under a state program to produce evidence to the court’s satisfaction that the parent has applied for or secured health insurance or has otherwise taken necessary action to provide for health care coverage for the child, as ordered by the court.

In divorce cases with a child, “reasonable cost” means the cost of health insurance coverage for a child that does not exceed nine percent of the obligor’s annual resources, if the obligor is responsible under a medical support order for the cost of health insurance coverage for only one child. If the obligor is responsible under a medical support order for the cost of health insurance coverage for more than one child, “reasonable cost” means the total cost of health insurance coverage for all children for which the obligor is responsible under a medical support order that does not exceed nine percent of the obligor’s annual resources.

Is dental insurance also required by the Court?

Before a hearing on temporary orders, or a final order if no hearing on temporary orders is held, the court shall require the parties to the proceedings to disclose in a pleading or other document whether the child is covered by dental insurance and, if the child is covered, the identity of the insurer providing the coverage, the policy number, which parent is responsible for payment of any insurance premium for the coverage, whether the coverage is provided through a parent’s employment, and the cost of the premium. If dental insurance is not in effect for the child, the parties must disclose to the court whether either parent has access to dental insurance at a reasonable cost to the obligor.

In rendering temporary orders, the court shall, except for good cause shown, order that any dental insurance coverage in effect for the child continue in effect pending the rendition of a final order, except that the court may not require the continuation of any dental insurance that is not available to the parent at a reasonable cost to the obligor. If dental insurance coverage is not in effect for the child or if the insurance in effect is not available at a reasonable cost to the obligor, the court shall, except for good cause shown, order dental insurance coverage for the child under Medicaid or other state program.

The factor that parents have to understand is that the Court will order medical support including dental support for a child the subject of the suit.  Whether it is ordered to be furnished thru a private insurance company, thru a person’s employment, or thru Medicaid,  the child will have to be covered by some health insurance plan.   These costs for health and dental insurance are in addition to the child support that is part of the divorce case.