Monday, August 28, 2006

Case Law Development: Child Support Obligation for Medical Expenses Includes Costs of Child's Therapist

The New Jersey Court of Appeals addressed the financial responsibility incurred by a couple's divorce settlement in which the father was to pay most of the children's uninsured medical expenses.  The child's therapist was a licensed, certified social worker.  Father argued that he should not have to pay for the therapist's services because she was not a psychologist or a physician and because the children had not been diagnosed with a mental illness.  The cour rejected this argument, reasoning that:

Viewing the protracted and acrimonious nature of the ongoing litigation between these parties, as focused on the children and their relationship with their parents, it would be myopic to conclude that these children have not been subjected to significant stress, trauma, and turmoil that warranted professional intervention. Moreover, paragraph 10 of the parties' property settlement agreement specifically provides that the terminology "uninsured medical expenses" is to be "interpreted broadly" to include not only psychological or psychiatric treatment, but "any other healthy related care." Certainly, the services of Ms. Roll, as found by the judge, fall within this broad definition of unreimbursed expenses of the children.

Tafaro v. Tafaro, New Jersey (August 25, 2006)
Opinion on the web  (last visited August 27, 2006 bgf)

Post amended August 31, 2006: Thanks to Pieter Droppert of the New Jersey Family Law Blog, for pointing out my confusion in a prior version of this post.   His point there -- that readers (and fellow bloggers) -- should never consider blog commentary on cases to be a substitute for reading the cases themselves is one with which I wholeheartedly agree!

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2006/08/case_law_develo_23.html

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