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Patrick L. Looper Patrick L. Looper
  • Serving All of Tennessee

When Your Ex-Spouse Refuses to Communicate About Your Child’s Special Medical Needs and Expenses


For many families, summer camp is a luxury.  You might expect that, if an appeals court needed to resolve a dispute between divorced parents over reconciling a child’s plans to attend a residential summer camp with parenting schedules and child support, it would be in a high net worth divorce where the court’s recitation of the facts of the case reads like a page from a tabloid newspaper.  Not all summer camps are about having character-building wilderness adventures while the children 99 percent watch YouTube all day until their parents come home from work, though.  For many children with special needs, summer camps are a lifeline for the children and their parents.  It spares them the disruption of being away from school for three months, and the supportive environment and the staff trained specially to meet the children’s needs help them thrive, where otherwise they might face isolation and social stigma.  Your child with special needs deserves not to have his or her well being thwarted by the whims of your ex-spouse.  If your ex is undermining your efforts to help a child with special needs be healthy and happy, a Tennessee child custody lawyer can help.

Jacob’s Story

Jacob’s parents lived in Alabama for the duration of their eight-year marriage.  They divorced in 2002, when Jacob was four years old.  Jacob was diagnosed at an early age with severe autism, and the divorce decree stipulated that the parents were to split the cost of his uninsured medical expenses evenly.  Jacob’s mother was the primary residential parent, and she was the one who took him to medical appointments, so the court ordered her to send copies of the medical bills to the father so that he could reimburse her for the uninsured portion.

By 2010, Jacob and his mother had moved to Alabama, and his father had moved to Oregon.  The mother requested an increase in child support payments, since, as Jacob had reached school age, his medical expenses had increased.  For example, the after-school program Jacob attended was not covered by health insurance.  The parties also agreed that the father would exercise his summer parenting time during parts of the summer when Jacob was not at a summer camp for children with autism.  The mother testified that the father rarely paid his share of the bills, and that it had gotten so difficult to contact him that she had all but given up on sending him the bills.  The father also did not exercise all his parenting time.  The court ruled to increase the father’s child support payments and to require him to pay his share of the medical bills for which he had not yet contributed, even the ones that were from several years previously.

Let an Attorney Help You Today

It is frustrating to have to chase your ex-spouse around to get them to help pay for your child’s necessary medical expenses, but a Knoxville child support lawyer can help.  Contact Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.


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